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Fort Walney Uncovered

Date uploaded: March 31, 2014

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded Art Gene £97,400 to produce an art and archaeology project that will uncover and interpret a hidden piece of First World War history. Art Gene will lead the project that will involve members of the local community, students, digital artists, archaeologists, ecologists and naturalists.

Research activity will centre on the rare remains of a practice trench, used to train British Army soldiers before they went to France to fight, and a firing range, set among the dunes of North Walney Island in one of the country's finest coastal National Nature Reserves.

Art Gene will produce artwork to be installed on site that interprets these features and tells the history of Fort Walney. Their work will include a digital map and smart phone app to guide visitors to the site.

Art Gene is inviting local people to get involved, to share memories, and to work alongside artists, architects, and Natural England staff to learn about the rich natural and military history of North Walney. Click here to email Nick Owen if you would like to learn more.

MP John Woodcock, said: “This is an exciting project which promises to pull into sharper focus a little-known part of Barrow’s contribution to the First World War as the commemorations of that conflict begin to gather pace. It also holds the potential to create a thought-provoking historical feature in an area of natural beauty that will be of interest to locals and visitors alike.”

Sara Hilton, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “It’s incredible to know that hidden within this area of historic natural beauty are the remnants of a training camp in use 100 years ago and the unexplored stories of the hundreds of soldiers who were trained here. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested £46m into projects – large and small - that are marking the global First World War Centenary enabling even more communities, like those involved with Art Gene, to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict."

The project is also funded by Cumbria County Council, the Hadfield Trust and the Skinners’ Company Lady Neville Charity.

For details of this and other Art Gene projects click here.

The gun range, hidden among the dunes, is being lost to erosion and metal theft

The gun range, hidden among the dunes, is being lost to erosion and metal theft