Digging for Erlestoke

FiveRivers recently worked with Wessex Archaeology as part of a heritage inclusion project at Erlestoke, a category C prison in Wiltshire.  

Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the ‘Digging for Erlestoke’ project has been designed to give the men taking part, and wider prison community, access to archaeology. Independent evaluators will assess the potential impact of archaeology and heritage on the wellbeing of the men.   

In July last year, our Founder and CEO, Jason Lovering, attended the prison to deliver a bird and bat box building workshop, where the men had the opportunity to learn about the ideal habitat for birds and bats, as well as a hands-on workshop to build boxes.   

We also worked closely with Dipper Ecology to deliver a bird survey, focusing on the local population, as well as the opportunity to learn about local flora and fauna.  

Our work formed part of a wider heritage inclusion project led by Wessex Archaeology, ‘Digging for Erlestoke’ which was recently featured in The Times. Following a small-scale archaeological excavation in 1963, now 60-years later men from the prison took part in the archaeology programme over the last year including a community dig.  

Speaking to Jason Lovering about the project, he said ‘We say that no day is the same and having the opportunity to support this project is a true example of that. Delivering a workshop in a prison was certainly a first for me however it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. All the participants who took part in our workshops were engaged, enthusiastic and eager to learn. I was told that many of the men requested to return the next day to finish off their bird/bat boxes.’



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