A family event held in Chopwell Wood at the weekend, to celebrate the unique heritage of the Land of Oak & Iron was a resounding success.  Over 1,500 people went along to enjoy a day out, packed full of free activities in a beautiful woodland setting.

People of all ages had a fantastic time trying out new ‘old’ skills, such as spinning wool, weaving willow, turning a clay pot and traditional wood working.  In the bush craft dell children of all ages enjoyed toasting marshmallows, building dens and discovering a whole host of other natural activities.  Travelling back in time was offered by Time Bandits, with a taste of years gone by, authentic costumes and stories of how life was for ordinary people in an industrial era.

Entertainment was provided in the woodland glade by Whittonstall Community Band, who played throughout the afternoon, surrounded by families eating picnics or enjoying the range of food on sale. High Spen Pink Diamonds Rapper Dance Team performed several times and offered people a chance to have a go at this traditional mining dance.

The craft tent had locally produced goods for sale, information about honey and bees, a chance to get involved in local projects and research and of course the ever popular face painting.

Karen Daglish Land of Oak & Iron Partnership Manager said “From the start of the event, people flowed in and there was a real buzz with experts sharing their skills and knowledge, raising interest in the heritage of our beautiful Derwent Valley and surrounding area.  Many people walked or cycled into the Wood, the bike racks which were provided for the event were in use all day.

We would like to express our thanks to all the volunteers who gave up many hours of time, both on the day and in the run up to it, without whom it wouldn’t have been possible.”

The event was run in partnership with Friends of Chopwell Wood, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and was supported by the Forestry Commission, who own the Wood and Woodfuel Barn who provided their field for car parking.

The Land of Oak & Iron is an area which has a fascinating industrial past of iron and steel making, an abundance of natural woodland, intriguing stories of people who helped shape history and is the home to rapper dancing.  The Land of Oak & Iron Landscape Partnership is a four year programme of events and activities, supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and hosted by environmental regeneration charity Groundwork NE & Cumbria.

For further information please contact Kath Marshall-Ivens at Land of Oak & Iron on 01207 524883 or by email kath.marshall-ivens@groundwork.org.uk or visit the website www.landofoakandiron.org.uk/whats-on.

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