Fire brings the end of an Age

THE 13-year-old Iron Age Farm project at Hinchingbrooke Country Park has come to an end after the round house was destroyed by fire. The round house was burnt down earlier this month and The Samhain Tales event, held on Saturday, October 28, was the las

THE 13-year-old Iron Age Farm project at Hinchingbrooke Country Park has come to an end after the round house was destroyed by fire.

The round house was burnt down earlier this month and The Samhain Tales event, held on Saturday, October 28, was the last to be staged at the farm.

Judith Arnold, senior ranger at Hinchingrooke Country Park, said: "Hundreds of school pupils have benefited from the Iron Age Farm project and it was a real public asset. It almost brought history to life and gave children something practical to do when learning about history. It is ever so sad and disappointing that the project has come to an end."

The Iron Age Farm project began in 1994 as a partnership between Cambridgeshire County Council archaeology section and the Hinchingbrooke Country Park rangers, a section of Huntingdonshire District Council countryside services team.

Its aim was to show what life was like at the time of the Roman invasion 2,000 years ago, and also to give children the opportunity for hands-on experience of the past.

The site started with the construction of a single Iron Age roundhouse and this developed into an Iron Age and Romano-British farmstead, including several roundhouses, grain stores, animal pens, herb garden, cooking hearth and pottery kilns.

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Since 1996 regular public open days and school activity weeks have been held, attracting large numbers of visitors.

Funded by a Heritage Lottery grant, it has staged Roman and Celtic re-enactment events, the largest in 2004 with more than 2,000 visitors. Since 1996 the project has held 19 public open days, attracting more than 13,000 people.

David Crawford-White, Cambridgeshire County Council community outreach learning officer, said: "The project was ended due to the fire and funding.

"But we are already working on a new long-term project to be launched for schools in 2007 looking at changes in farming over the years. It would be based at Hinchingbrooke Country Park and open some time in June."

An 'Ancient Technology' centre is also being considered for the Huntingdon area from 2008 to 2009 but at a different location.

At the moment it is unknown what will happen to the Iron Age Farm site or how the fire, on November 3, started.

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