By Rob Nichols
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Explore one of Middlesbrough’s most popular open spaces on guided tours tomorrow morning at Fairy Dell. The beautiful wooded valley that lies between Marton and Coulby Newham has won important Lottery funding to help develop an exciting footpath initiative and archaeological dig. You can get a guided tour of the history and nature at 11am tomorrow as part of Discover Middlesbrough.
Tomorrow morning from 11am guided walks will lead from Fairy Dell Park entrance on Gunnergate Lane down into the beautiful wooded valley with its lakes, sculptures and wonderful flora and fauna. All right on our doorstep on the southern edge of Middlesbrough.
The Friends of Fairy Dell have been awarded £38,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the ‘Pathways to the Past’ project, with a further donation of £500 from the Jack Brunton Charitable Trust. Match funding in the form of equipment was added from Middlesbrough Council through the Chief Executive.
Led by the Friends of Fairy Dell and including volunteers from the local community, the project will investigate and celebrate the medieval and Victorian heritage of Fairy Dell which lies between Marton and Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough.
The project came about following the discovery of a ‘sunken footpath’ which runs between Fairy Dell Park and the Dell.
A seven-day archaeological dig of the sunken path led by Tees Archaeology will take place from May 12 next year, and will be open to all, including local schools and colleges.
The project will also feature the start of restoration work to the Victorian rockery from the old Gunnergate Hall, built in the 1850s. Horticulture students from Askham Bryan College will be involved in this.
A series of 20 free workshops will be held on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the autumn and spring, with skilled local historical crafts people teaching medieval crafts and skills to people from the local community, including blacksmithing, wood turning, jewellery, glass work, spinning and weaving.
A free one-day Medieval Festival and family fun day on Sunday, July 20 next year will celebrate the heritage of Fairy Dell and display the results of the dig, research and workshops.
The festival will include an enactment of medieval village life by Rosa Mundi with living history demonstrations and displays from medieval times including a chance to participate in archery and all the other workshop crafts, as well as enjoying a hog roast.
The project will provide many opportunities for local people to be involved, learn new skills and help to uncover the past of this much loved open space.
Councillor Nicky Walker, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “We are thrilled that the Friends of Fairy Dell have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“This is a very active and hard working group and this grant confirms their dedication to this park.
“We are all excited about the discovery of the heritage features in this part of Middlesbrough, about which so little is known and everyone is looking forward to the activities and improvements thanks to this funding.”
Full details of all events will be included in a brochure due to be published shortly.
See you at Fairy Dell park gates tomorrow at 11am.
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