History of Eycott Hill Project

Aiket overview

As part of my placement with Cumbria Wildlife Trust I’ve been working on a project looking into the history of Eycott Hill Nature Reserve.

For this project I have been talking over local knowledge with Andrew Humphries, former director of Newton Rigg College Hill Farm. Andrew has acquired a wealth of information about the history of the area which he has been kind enough to share with Cumbria Wildlife Trust. As well as my meetings with Andrew I am incorporating information from an archaeological survey carried out at Eycott Hill by the Lake District National Park Archaeology Volunteers. I also visited Cumbria Archives Centre and the Carlisle library to do some research into Eycott Hill.

My research has revealed a lot more information than I expected to find about this upland Nature Reserve. From the Lord of the Manor using the enclosure act to shape the land, to how farmers agreed to allow neighbours to move stock across their land in return for the same favour or use of other resources and the dealings of the manorial court system.

The archives were very interesting and reading through documents relating to the area gave me a new insight, the human traces that were still there after all this time were quite touching. One example was a map doodled on the back of some documents relating to peat cutting rights. Another was a letter to the current Lord of the Manor asking his approval for his intended marriage.

Eycott Hill was even mentioned in Bill Birkett’s ‘Complete Lakeland Fells’. In talking about Eycott Hill Birkett mentions a ‘tiny ruined building’ under Little Eycott made from the Eycott volcanic rock. He stated that the lintel of this building makes a ‘musical chime’ when hit gently with a rock which is the basis for a poem about the ‘Singing stones of Eycott Hill’ by Geraldine Green.

I’m a bit sad that this project will be coming to a close but I’m glad that the material will be of use with a guided walk about the history and archaeology of Eycott Hill planned for February 23rd (10.30 – 12.30) and an article on Cumbria Wildlife Trust website.

Louise, volunteer student placement

Read the history article

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Work at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is possible thanks to National Lottery Players, and support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.