Local Stories

In summer 2013 The Carousel Project ran a heritage project aimed at families with young children in rural villages in, or near the Blackdown Hills AONB. Through fun learning activities, the families explored heritage unique to their own village and the Blackdown Hills AONB as a whole.

Working with local heritage educators, artists and musicians, we provided weekly sessions for three communities in East Devon (Stockland, Dunkeswell & Kilmington) as well as running a trip to Dumpdon Hillfort and a celebration event at Otter Valley Golf.

Using the big, dusty book of Local Stories, we went on a time travelling adventure to experience local heritage old and new:

Introducing heritage themes with the Local Stories book

Families explored the iron age:

Roundhouse with ‘Roof’

Exploring Celtic design to decorate the round house

…and the rich iron working heritage of the Blackdown Hills:

Using bellows on the ‘furnace’

Blowing on the ‘furnace’

We created an animation with families from all three villages based on a story about Augustus the Roman soldier who got lost in the Blackdown Hills and broke his shield. Find out more about (and watch) the iron working animation here

We also explored heritage themes unique to each village:

Making a Fred Pigeon fiddle orchestra at Stockland

Exploring C18th coaching at Kilmington through horse play!

Camouflaging, and playing in, our WWII Nissan Hut at Dunkeswell

We took families on a trip to explore ancient Dumpdon Hillfort where they enjoyed Celtic cake, miniature hillfort making and Iron Age games and songs:

Beating the bounds to frighten away Roman invaders!

Miniature Hillfort making

and families from all three villages were invited to a celebration event at the beautifully located Otter Valley Golf where Roman soldiers were running activities alongside our heritage educators!

Making shields with the Romans at our celebration event

Dunkeswell Abbey stained glass window crafts at our celebration event

Monks loved fish! Making fish and going fishing at our celebration event

Here’s some feedback about the project:

“Thanks for organising such a fab summer holiday activity. We all had a great time.” Nicola (Blackdown Hills parent mum of kids aged 1 & 4)

“Excellent session, really engaging for the kids. Excellent activities and staff very friendly.” Heather (Blackdown Hills parent of child aged 4)

“The whole thing has given us something fun & educational to do together during summer holidays. The children have shared what they have learned with other family members and friends.” Emily (Blackdown Hills parent of children aged 5 & 2)

“I really liked making things out of clay and the gargoyles” Tia aged 4

“I learnt that heritage comes hand in hand with the arts, more than I had realised before. It was also apparent that the local community are extremely important in keeping our heritage “living” as it were.” Jenna (archaeology student volunteer).

“I really liked making the roundhouse activity as it encouraged the children to work as a group and was accessible to every age group in the way that it encouraged imaginative play and appealed to the children’s desire to create a personal space.” Children’s Centre worker (Honiton & Axe Valley Children’s Centre)

The Local Stories project was kindly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Sustainable Development Fund and was a partnership between the Blackdown Hills AONB, The Carousel Project and the Axe Valley & Honiton Children’s Centre. Following the sessions we developed two heritage themed play packs to engage early years children with their local heritage.