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07 September, 2019


Kilnsey Trout Farm Anniversary Weekend

The owner of the Kilnsey Trout Farm, Jamie Roberts, asked Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group to join in with the 30th anniversary celebration weekend held at the farm on 10th and 11th August 2013.

Our brief was two-fold. First, we were to run a sand-pit for young children to get a little taster of archaeology, and secondly, we conducted a guided historical tour of the village of Kilnsey.

The sand-pit was seeded with various items from our Handling Collection, which consists of a variety of little bits and pieces we have been accumulating – surface finds without any viable archaeological provenance, such as fragments of ceramics, clay pipes, and metal. We pinned up some images of relevant items – willow pattern plate, clay pipe, a Victorian tea pot, old fashioned nails, etc, - and when each child dug up a fragment from the sand, asked them to match the “artefact” they’d found against the relevant image. They then had to place their find in a finds bag. It all went very well – the children seemed to really enjoy themselves, and so did the parents who were watching with some amusement.

          Ruth in charge

Inevitably we lost quite a few pieces from the collection over the course of the two days, but our new handling collection has already proved its worth on its first outing.


   Sue and Jennifer supervising the sand-pit © Photo by Ruth Spencer

Thanks to everyone who helped with the sand-pit – Jane Lunnon, Helen McKinlay, Toby Roberts, Ruth Spencer, Jennifer and Sue Stearn, Sonia and Tim Wilkinson.

On Saturday 10th August UWHG members also led a guided history tour of the village as part of the Trout Farm’s Family Activities weekend.

We were able to include a visit to the Town Piece where a few years ago (2007 and 2008) we surveyed the earthworks for Roger Martlew, and excavated the lime kiln and corn-drying kin under the directorship of David Johnson. Our research for the guided walk has further increased our fascination with this small village, which has a surprisingly rich history. Our visitors appeared to enjoy the tour even though it was rather longer than we had planned at a 2 hour stretch! But there was so much to include and we had already cut out so much from our script in order to keep it down to a reasonable length, we felt we had to keep as much as we could in the tour.


             Lynne going on about the Romans again! © photo by Ruth Spencer

Our tour started by the side of the Trout Farm’s fishing pond – we then took our group up the road to the start of the quarry road (now misleadingly called Mastiles Lane). From there we gradually worked our way down the road through the village, around to the side of the Tennants Arms pub and back up past the old smithy, stopping at various points of interest until we returned to the Trout Farm. Between the four of us we expounded on a wide range of topics – Roman roads, monastic granges, roundheads and cavaliers of the civil wars, the Kilnsey witch, vernacular architecture, industrial archaeology, Victorian tourism, and anecdotal stories about local characters.

Thanks for leading the guided tour go to – Vera Brearey, Jane Lunnon, Lynne Primmer, Ruth Spencer. Our thanks also go to Sonia Wilkinson for giving us access to her research into the history of the village. 

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