What Can I find Out at?

Below are three sites. An abbey, a castle and a woodland. At our celebration event we asked everyone what they wanted to find out, how they could find out and what activities could they do. We were so impressed at the valuable resource this activity produced the results of the activity are below.

A woodland:

A Woodland

A Woodland

What do you want to know?

Where is it?

Where does the path go? Where does it go now? Where did it go?

Where did it lead to? What did you pass on the way? Was it to commercial, industrial or domestic buildings?

Is it a public footpath?

What transport used it?

What type of trees? How old are they?

How have people used the woodland?

Is there any early settlement nearby?

What other kinds of plants are there? Are any endangered?

What animals are there in the woodland?

How could you find out?

In the library : – look at old maps ( what transport links, paths, when was wood planted) , old books about history/geography of area, books on plants, documents about woodland use (e.g. hunting rights, wood sold)

In the museum:- are there any finds from the area

Ask people: Friends, relatives, rangers, local people

Pollen records

LIDAR to see what is under the trees

Old photos

The internet

Stories and Legends

WEA or other course

What activities could you do?

Survival skills – build a shelter

Woodland crafts




Plant identification ( which are edible)

Map regression and mapping

Measurements/Survey – where things are

Plant survey

Identification of animals ( perhaps from bones)

Dendrochronology – count tree rings

Walk and Talk

Excavation of features ( with supervision from archaeologists)

Imagine/Visualise ( creative writing) What is is like at different times of year?

An Abbey:





An Abbey


What do you want to find out?

How old is it?

Who built it? Why was it built?

What materials have been used?

How many people lived there? How many windows and doors?

Did they have bedrooms?

Where were the toilets, cellar, kitchens and laundry?

What activities took place here?

Did they farm? Did they have garden? What did they eat?

How did monks live?

Why did they stop using it?

Why is it in ruins?

Is it accessible to the public?

How could you find out?

Historical documents – e.g. Doomsday Book, ,maps, archives

Books in your local library

Tourist Information centre


Archaeological evidence ( are there landscape features e.g. fish ponds?)

Ask people e.g. staff, archaeologists, local history group

Look around and see if you can work it out yourself

What activities could you do?

Eye Spy

Work out which parts of the building were built when ( make a timeline/coloured plan)


Survey – make a measured drawing

Grave recording

Look at construction and masonry ( perhaps try and find masonry marks)

Archaeological excavation with local archaeologists

Take an historic document about the abbey and try and find the places it mentions or imagine what it was like to live there.


A Castle:

A castle

A castle

What do you want to know?

Where is it?

How old is it?

Why was it built? Why was it built where it was?

How much has it been damaged?

Will it fall down? Why is it a ruin?

Who lived there?

What was its function?

Which way does it face ( NE?)

Where is it in relationship to other buildings? Places?

Where are the steps?

Where is the door?

Which bits are missing and why?

What furniture would there have been? What did people eat?

How big is it?

What is its history?

Is it typical of castle construction of this date?

What went on at the castle?

How could you find out?

Local Library – books – e.g. History of British Castles, local history books, guide books


Information boards


Ask local people / ask on Facebook

Local Museum

Old Photos

Ask an expert

Ask a Digability Student!

Visit the site

Have a go at a reconstruction or look at one in a museum or visitors centre

Do a WEA or similar course.

What activities could you do?


Look for evidence in changes in the building

Find out info from visiting e.g. boards, staff, visitors centre

Walk and Talk

Eye Spy

Laminated pictures – find out where they are in castle or reconstruction pictures to show life in castle- identify remains and what they tell us

Off set survey

Scale drawing

Make a plan of buildings


Dig – under supervision from archaeologists – Look through mole hills

Make a timeline of activity in castle



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