Queens Award for Voluntary Service

Green Path Project

The Fairfield Association have always been committed to pooling and sharing our knowledge and perceptions of the area and its rich past. In 2016 we secured Heritage Lottery Funding to explore the heritage and natural history of the ancient green path that runs through Fairfield Nature Reserve. This footpath has been used by Lancastrians and visitors to the city for hundreds of years.

The Green Path Through Flora project sought to capture and map the footpath’s history and the stories and memories local people had of it and the surrounding area.

Green Path leaflet

One output of the project was the design of a leaflet incorporating an annotated map of the reserve highlighting the Green Path for visitors to download. A paper version of this leaflet was distributed to 2000 local houses (and was available in the Visitors Information Centre and many other places around the city centre). The leaflet can be viewed or downloaded as a large, hi-resolution PDF, 9MB, Fairfield Association Leaflet.

Large-scale maps

Another output of the project was the production of two beautifully-illustrated large-scale maps of the reserve, which detail the names of the various areas alongside other points of interest.

Fairfield Reserve Detailed Map Aldcliffe Entrance
Fairfield Nature Reserve – Aldcliffe Road Entrance

Fairfield Reserve Detailed Map Sunnyside Entrance
Fairfield Reserve Map Sunnyside Entrance

Recollections of the Green Path area

We also transcribed and summarised recordings of people who recounted their memories of the Green Path and land adjacent to it. The remit was widened to include all the land now managed by the Fairfield Association.

Many thanks to all those who have took the time to share their stories.

Other activities

As part of celebrating the reserve and disseminating its heritage, we:

Sharing Heritage exhibition, July 2016

At a community celebration to mark 20 years of the Fairfield Association, we asked people to bring along photographs and personal recollections. Around 400 people attended and we attached photographs and memories on post-its to our display boards. If you have memories or photographs dating from the early days of the Fairfield Association, please get in touch via the website.

Town Centre exhibition 2017

This exhibition ran for longer and attracted a wider audience. We made contact with many new people, some of whom had grown up in the area and have since contributed stories to our archive of green-path-memories. Approximately 300 people came to view our photos, video footage, map and accompanying stories. Our map and leaflet were particularly useful in orienting people who had never visited the area and the video footage provided by the drone was also very popular.

Story-writing with schools

Two Lancaster schools, the Ridge and the Ryelands Community Primary schools, took part in four story workshops in the summer term as part of our Heritage project. Two classes from each of the schools joined Storyteller Tony Finn for a morning of stories and activities, to stimulate and fire their imagination for their own story-writing and telling and to be inspired by our wildlife, its folklore and the ancient trackway through the reserve that has been travelled by medieval monks and the people of Lancaster over the centuries.

Wicker net hanging from tree

The children listened to stories of birds and beasts, goblins, hidden treasure and magic apples! After a few warm up word-play and tongue-twisting exercises, the children worked in small groups with one of the accompanying adults who had come with the class; exploring the orchard, its sights, scents and sounds and searching for their own ‘secret place’.

The children then shared their experiences and were encouraged to use new words and include actions in their descriptions.

With amazing imagination the groups began to put together the ‘bones’ of a story, fact or fiction, to take back to school where the stories would be completed. Tony and his assistant Trisha visited the year 6 class of the Ridge school a couple of weeks later and were entertained by some extremely imaginative stories so obviously inspired by their visit to the Fairfield Orchard and the green path!

This project has been supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund focusing on ‘Sharing Our Heritage’. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to organise exhibitions, take aerial photos, develop an app and publicise the fascinating history of our local area on our website.