Recording history to preserve the past

Victorian gravedigger charlie warwick digging at emery down church with moses blake the parish sexton and clerk standing by the grave

Published Tuesday 9 August 2016

Local communities and volunteers are invited to take part in a weekend of archaeological activities in the New Forest to help record and preserve its heritage.

Participants will discover the fascinating work undertaken across the Forest and have the chance to get involved in archaeological surveys.

The free weekend of activity will be held on Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 August, from 10am until 4 pm at Emery Down Church, led by the New Forest National Park Authority’s Community Archaeologist James Brown.

The event is part of a Heritage Lottery funded Landscape Partnership Scheme, called Our Past, Our Future, led by the New Forest National Park Authority with 10 key partners.

Each day will include family fun activities, including a ‘Quiz Trail’, a creative art activity and the chance to try brass rubbing. There will also be a presentation of specialist recording tools, a local history exhibition and a survey of flowers and grasses on both days.

Emery Down Church graveyard is one of nine religious sites being surveyed as part of the Lottery Funded project. Volunteers are being asked to create a condition survey of the monuments on the site, to help define a management plan for the graveyard into the future.

Dr James Bruce, Vicar of Christ Church, Emery Down said: ‘Our churchyards are amazing time capsules that record social, individual and family history in a unique way that spans centuries.

‘We are delighted to welcome Community Archaeologist James Brown, who will explain and demonstrate the fascinating work that the National Park Authority team undertakes across the Forest. This will now include a proper survey of this special churchyard - and that's where we need your help, so do please come and join us.’

The data collected will better connect the community to its previous generations and will be publicly available for residents or visitors to trace family members and their resting places, and local history groups to discover more about the area’s past.

No experience is necessary to help collect data for the surveys; all participants need is the map, the forms and a camera. Tea, coffee and sandwiches will be provided to those helping record monuments.

For more information about the surveys or to volunteer, please contact To find out more about the Heritage Lottery Fund project, visit


Notes to photo editor:

Victorian gravedigger Charlie Warwick digging at Emery Down Church, with Moses Blake, the Parish Sexton and Clerk, standing by the grave.

Notes to Editor:

Our Past, Our Future

Our Past, Our Future is a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the New Forest which, supported by Heritage Lottery Funding, will undertake a range of projects to restore lost habitats, develop Forest skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest. The partnership focuses on the enclosed lands which surround the Open Forest.

The five year scheme is being led by the New Forest National Park Authority working alongside several delivery and funding partners, including the New Forest Land Advice Service.

For more information on Our Past, Our Future visit

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @HLFSouthEast

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more

Media Contact:

Beki Mole, Communications Assistant, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639


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