Half term mud stomp at Heeley City Farm

Visitors to Heeley City Farm on Saturday will be able to don their wellington boots and get stuck-in to finish the walls of an Iron Age Roundhouse, thanks to an ongoing partnership with the University of Sheffield.

The Mud Stomp event at Heeley City Farm will be held on Saturday 24 October 2009 from 11am to 4pm and will encourage people to put their best feet forward and stomp in a heap of mud to help mix clay, sand and straw to form daub for the walls of the farm's constructed Iron Age roundhouse - a very early form of housing in Britain.

Once the walls and roof are finished, the building will be thatched using local reeds and will be used as a classroom for the farm and as a venue for workshops and events.

The roundhouse is a long-running project which is being run in partnership with the University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology, whose academics and students have offered advice throughout and conducted workshops at the farm.

Building work to construct the roundhouse began last October as part of a Heritage Lottery funded project, "Digging Our Roots", which is designed to encourage young people at Heeley City Farm to explore farming heritage from the past to present day.

As well as doing their bit to finish the walls, which were started in March at an event to raise money for Comic Relief, visitors to the farm will be able to pick-up tips from Dr Roger Doonan from the University's Department of Archaeology, who will be on hand to give building advice.

Sally Rodgers, a graduate of the University of Sheffield who is the "Digging Our Roots" Project Officer at Heeley City Farm, said: "Being inside an Iron Age roundhouse really brings the past to life so it is a fantastic addition to the farm.

"The roundhouse is six meters wide, so we need over three tonnes of daub to get the walls to 40cm thick all over. It is looking fantastic already and it will be brilliant to get people to come along and experience Iron Age building techniques first hand."

Dr Roger Doonan, a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield, said: "It might sound a little macabre, but the great thing about experimental archaeology is that it lets you stand in the shoes of people long dead.

"Acting as our shared ancestors once did, lets us begin to really experience aspects of their world. I suppose then that getting involved is a bit like time travel and a holiday rolled into one, I hope lots of people decide to join us!"

The event is free of charge and there is no need to book, although it will inevitably be muddy so visitors should wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Notes for Editors: Heeley City Farm is a community charity based on a working farm and visitor centre one mile from Sheffield City Centre. Staff and volunteers from Heeley City Farm work with local communities around Sheffield to promote sustainability, regeneration, environmental education and health and well being. Horticulture trainees, staff and volunteers also manage organic vegetable gardens at Meersbrook Park, Wortley Walled Gardens and Firth Park allotments. The farm was founded by local people in 1981 and has been growing organically ever since.
For further information about the project, contact Sally Rodgers, Digging Our Roots Project Officer, Heeley City Farm, Richards Road, Sheffield, S2 3DT. Tel:0114 303 9981 ext 4. Mobile: 07932867750 (24 hours)or visit the link below.

The Mud Stomp is part of the National Family Learning Festival annual awareness campaign aimed at getting families together in a fun, informal learning.

For further information please contact: Shemina Davis, Media Relations Officer, on 0114 2225339 or email shemina.davis@sheffield.ac.uk