On the evening of 20 March around 50 people gathered in Tarporley Community Centre for an update on the Ridge: Rocks and Springs project by Sandstone Ridge Trust Trustee Peter Winn.
For the last 3 years this Heritage Lottery funded initiative has been exploring with local volunteers and communities how the sandstone and water supplies beneath the rolling hills and escarpments of the Ridge have shaped the cultural heritage of the area. Under the knowledgeable and enthusiastic supervision of Project Co-ordinator Gary Ball, the team of volunteers has recorded over 700 separate sites of wells, springs, quarries, carved rock art and graffiti across 48 parishes — a major achievement! Three of these sites were chosen for detailed archaeological investigation: Urchin's Kitchen in Delamere Forest, Simmond's Hill Quarry in Manley and Bloody Bones Cave beneath towering Raw Head. Finds included medieval pottery and clay pipes, a suspected 'Celtic head' carving and various graffiti, and an unknown well.
The project is now drawing to a close. A book describing the project and its findings "The Ridge: Rocks and Springs — a Sandstone Legacy" is due to be launched on May 21st at the Sandstone Ridge Festival. It includes a series of nine short country walks visiting some of the sites mentioned in the publication. Peter concluded his presentation by outlining some opportunities for spin-off and new heritage projects.