Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme aims to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales, enabling more people to connect with, enjoy and benefit from this inspirational landscape. Thanks to National Lottery players it has been supported by a grant from the Heritage Fund

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Community archaeological excavations at Little Asby Common. 

Project lead: Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Delivery Team

The upland areas of the Westmorland Dales, much of which is open access and common land, are rich in archaeology.  The fertile lands of the Lune and Eden valleys proved an attractive location for settlement since at least the Neolithic, and served as important navigation and communication routes through the surrounding uplands. 

The extension of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in August 2016 enlarged its area by 25% but increased the known number of sites on the Historic Environment Record by significantly more. Detailed surveys on Little Asby Common in 2004 and 2009 revealed that much of the area’s heritage had been overlooked and unrecorded compared with the rest of the National Park.

This project aims to take these surveys on Little Asby a stage further. The drone and geophysical surveys undertaken during the development phase have identified further sites that are worthy of excavation during the delivery phase.  

Project Details 

This will be split into two seasons: 

  • Season 1 will see volunteers engaged in a number of keyhole excavations, supervised by professional consultants, which will provide useful information in their own right and identify a set-piece site for excavation in Season 2. 
  • Season 2 will see excavation of this set-piece site, which will be able to accommodate more volunteers, the involvement of local schools and an open day for the public. 

Both seasons will be preceded by a skills workshop and end with a presentation summarising the findings.  A final report will be produced and entries added to YDNPA’s HER. The intention is to complement these excavations at Little Asby Common with a number of key-hole excavations in neighbouring villages.