Celebrating the 2015 Woodland Heritage Festival

Recently Sheffield Archaeology PhD student Courtenay Crichton​ led the organisation of the 2015 Woodland Heritage Festival.

The festival was held at the Ecclesall Woodland Discovery centre in the south-west of Sheffield, and was set-up as part of the department's student-run outreach programme Archaeology in the City.

Here you can read about her experience of running this fantastic event that attracted 1200 visitors over its two days in May.

"After many months of planning and organisation (and much hair pulling out) the Woodland Heritage Festival which took place on the 25th and the 26th of May went off without a hitch and the turnout was incredible.

Over the two days around 1200 visitors came to the festival, this was estimated via head counts taken at different intervals in the day and correlating this with the onsite café’s estimates of persons.

Questionnaires were also taken around during the day to gain feedback from the public about what they thought about the event and again this feedback was incredibly encouraging with a unanimous ‘Yes’ for providing this festival again next year, which was fantastic to hear.

Smelting at Woodland Festival

A demostration of smelting at the 2015 Woodland Festival, Sheffield

Talk at Woodland Festival

Open air talk at the 2015 Woodland Festival, Sheffield

"The volunteers themselves seemed happy with the structure and site of the festival with each activity having plenty of space to run their events (activities included an osteology area, Zooarchaeology area, pottery making, iron and copper smelting, q-pit experimentation, children’s sand pit excavation, charcoal making, wood turning and a range of talks which took place at different times throughout the day).

"The volunteers were also provided with food, refreshments and transport to ensure that there were no extra costs for the volunteers and all their hard work was received gratefully and the festival couldn’t have gone so well without them.

"It was also lovely to work with the music department and virtual heritage for this event. The musicians provided some lovely post medieval melodies, very fitting for the event and great accompanying talks for the public about the instruments and music they performed.  This was warmly welcomed as music is something that is often difficult to present to the public through archaeological materials.

"The presence of virtual heritage at the festival also offered the public a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes with virtual heritage management and also how they could get involved and be a part of virtual heritage recording.

"The discovery centre itself was wonderful for the event the size made for perfect circulation for the public with plenty of indoor and outdoor space, and the onsite café was also wonderful and coped with the high numbers of public who came to this event."

Congratulations from all at the department to Courtenay and her team. Photos from the day can be found on the Archaeology in the City website, and you can also follow the wide variety of other events the group run on the Archaeology in the City Facebook page.

The Woodland Festival team

The Woodland Festival team - thank you for making this such a wonderful event