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NEWS RELEASE No: 1380619 JULY 2010

Volunteers are to dig deep into the past at Cheshire's Delamere Forest

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Old Pale view of Eddisbury

Budding archaeologists are being offered the chance to take part in an exciting archaeological dig at Eddisbury Iron Age Hillfort in Delamere Forest in Cheshire.

Volunteers are to help re-excavate trenches that have lain untouched on the Forestry Commission site for more than 70 years. 

Starting on July 19th, the four-week dig will help local historians identify how the hillfort was made and when it was built. The information gathered will be used to create new information panels for visitors.

The Forestry Commission’s Vernon Stockton says:

“Local helping hands are to get to the bottom of this fascinating site. We know very little about the history of Eddisbury because archive footage was lost during the last war.

“Modern technology has moved on hugely since the last time the site was excavated in the 1930s so this dig will help to give us a much deeper understanding of the history of the hillfort.”

The dig is one of a series of excavations being carried out as part of the three-year Habitats and Hillforts project, a Landscape Partnership Scheme focusing on the chain of historically important hilltop Iron Age forts that line Cheshire's Sandstone Ridge.

Habitats and Hillforts Archaeological Project Officer Dan Garner says:

“We’re hoping to find out when the fort was built, what it was used for and how long it was used for. These forts have a long and eventful history to them and were possibly re-used in the Roman and Dark Age periods.

“Volunteers will be excavating the site under the supervision of professional archaeologists and will learn basic recording skills used in archaeological excavations. We’re hoping to recover some artefacts such as pottery and stone objects so it promises to be a very rewarding experience for everyone concerned.”

Liverpool University students will also be digging at the site during the middle two weeks of the project, exposing an area of the fort known as Merricks Hill which has the remains of a Royal Hunting Lodge on it.

Eddisbury Hillfort is one of the largest and most complex of the seven hillforts located in Cheshire. It was probably constructed about 500 BC and expanded in the later Iron Age.

In the late 1st Century AD the hillfort appears to have been partly dismantled by the Romans.

The site was last excavated between 1935 and 1938 by William Varley but his archive findings were lost during the Second World War.

If you would like to visit the site during the dig, professional archaeologists will be available to talk about what is being found. If you are a local Cheshire resident, and would be interested in taking partvisit the Habitats and Hillforts website at or contact Dan Garner at

Eddisbury Hillfort is a scheduled monument and is therefore legally protected by the Ancient Monuments and Areas Act. It is an offence for anyone to undertake excavations at the site or remove artefacts unless they have permission from the Secretary of State. 

For more information about Delamere Forest log on to

For more information about the Habitats and Hillforts project go to

1.  Images attached 

2.  The Habitats and Hillforts of Cheshire’s Sandstone Ridge Landscape Partnership Scheme has brought together a wide range of public, private and voluntary interests to better conserve and interpret the chain of nationally important hillforts and their surrounding habitats. A partnership has been put together between key parties to deliver the overall Scheme.  The partners are Cheshire West and Cheshire Council, Cheshire Community Action, English Heritage, Forestry Commission, The National Trust, The Woodland Trust. The Scheme is generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Additional funding partners include: Mersey Forest.

3. The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in Britain with responsibility for over one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of forest, woodlands and open countryside. The North West England Forest District covers the Lake District in Cumbria, the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire. The forests today are managed for conservation, wildlife, landscape and recreation as well as providing a valuable source of timber.

For more information please contact Vernon Stockton at the Forestry Commission on 01606 882167.