There were some interesting discoveries made at the Clark Spring Woods archaeological dig at the weekend and a request is now being made for information from local people.
The Churwell Environmental Volunteers (CEV) has been active for eight years in Daffil Woods and Clark Spring Woods improving the amenity of the area for local people and wildlife. They have been involved in litter picking, weeding and the removal of invasive plants, creating new and maintain existing paths, planting trees, hedges and a garden, constructing dry stone walls and excavating a dipping pond for local children.
It was during such work that two stone troughs where springs emerge in to the open that were not recorded on historical maps, were encountered in the upper reaches of Clark Spring Woods. It was decided to enrol the help of local archaeologist David Wheldrake and volunteers to excavate and record the features in more detail in order to find out more about them and develop them as features of interest to the local people.
Over the weekend Mr Wheldrake, together with Steve Hunter from the Churwell volunteers and around 15 others, removed vegetation and soil at two locations about 50 metres apart in the upper woods next to a recently constructed footpath that links up to Rooms Lane.
Despite muddy conditions on Saturday, Mr Wheldrake said: “We have managed to reveal what remains of the structure of the two well heads. One is fairly well preserved as a stone lined recess with a stone threshold which holds back the water to form a trough and the other though is larger and less well preserved.
“There is currently no trace of any superstructure only an array of three stone slabs which would have dammed the flow of the water.”
Local geologist Neal Gunn, a volunteer with Churwell Environmental Volunteers, has been studying the geology and coal mining history of Churwell in advance of instituting an educational trail, which was part of the dig.
He said: “Springs are often found at the contact between permeable and impermeable rocks. At this location you can see the springs issuing at the contact between the Thornhill Rock Sandstone on which Morley has developed and of which the town hall is constructed and the underlying shale and mudstone.
“Close to the springs there is also evidence of historic coal mining through the presence of ocherous/orange water indicating the legacy of man’s interaction with the woodland.”
As part of the ongoing work of CEV to engage the local people in the history of the area we request that anyone with information on these features or the mining history of the area please get in contact you share your knowledge with the wider community.”
CEG meets every Thursday at 10am-noon at the Field Centre on the corner of Westwood Side and Ibetson Oval. New volunteers are always welcome and work can be found for a range of abilities.
More information can be found on Dave Wheldrake’s blog www.daveweldrake.wordpress.com and on CEG Facebook page www.facebook.com/CAGEVolunteers.