The quiet before…

January and February are often quieter months when I can plan for the coming year – contracting out maintenance measures such as fence repairs, tree work and hedge cutting, and issuing grazing licences for the coming season. This year has been no different, but we have also been preparing for three projects funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund which are about to take off in earnest.

The first is the Imagined Land project in Burnham Norton where local meetings and collaboration with NAHRG over the winter are about to come to fruition with a series of workshops to help support people in documentary research focused on the friary, followed by a programme of test pits in May.

At Burgh Castle Fort we have formally appointed The Restoration Trust to manage the Almanac Project, part of the Broads Authorty’s Water Mills and Marshes Landscape Partnership; and we have recruited a support worker for the project participants, as well as an intriguing array of creative facilitators who will deliver some of the Almanac activities designed to record the site over a year.

And this month we have been advertising, receiving and assessing applications for the new roles being created by the Onwards & Upwards project – volunteer co-ordinator, rural sites manager and consultants in Heritage, Tourism and Planning. If all goes to plan, we should be appointing in April and May.

In the context of this substantial support for our work from the Heritage Lottery Fund it felt important to attend one of their recent sessions organised in Ely. This event was designed to consult the heritage sector in the eastern region on how the HLF should use ‘National Lottery Good Causes’ income for the period from 2019 to 2024, their next Strategic Funding Framework period. This comes a couple of months after publication of the ‘tailored review’ commissioned by the Dept of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, which examined and reviewed the HLF’s current effectiveness, and produced a series of recommendations (1).

The session provided some interesting insights into the challenges facing the sector, as well as the direction in which the HLF is going. One of the significant themes was enterprise, and the possibility of the HLF exploring alternative options to pure grant giving to support the sustainability of the sector. The tailored review states that ‘this approach may also present a significant opportunity for HLF to help applicants develop new revenue streams, diversify income, and use funds more efficiently by recycling capital, as well as to reduce the sector’s reliance on grants in a funding environment where grants may not be as reliable as they once were.’

With this ringing in my ears, it feels like our Onwards & Upwards project could not be better timed.

(1) The DCMS tailored review can be downloaded at

New in brief

Imagined Land at Burnham Norton workshops

NB: Workshop cancelled at Burnham Norton Please note the workshop planned for Saturday 3rd of March- INTRODUCTION TO HISTORICAL RESEARCH - has been postponed due to the snow. This course will now run on Saturday March 17th. The workshop, RESEARCHING AND WRITING LOCAL HISTORY: METHODS AND SOURCES which was planned for March 17th will be re-scheduled. Please check the project website for updates.

  • Saturday 17 March 11 to 4 pm INTRODUCTION TO HISTORICAL RESEARCH Aimed at helping people to begin their own local historical research. 

This workshop is free, but booking is essential – for further info please go to the project website

THE FRIARY, THE FRIARS AND THE HISTORIC LANDSCAPE [to include site visits] led by Dr. Brendan Chester-Kadwell, Landscape Historian:

  • Saturday 14th April, 10.30 am - 3.30 pm Landscape and Settlement with Jonathan Hooton, historic Geographer and expert on North Norfolk; and Dr. Sally Francis, local historian.
  • Saturday 28th April 10.30 am - 3.30 pm Interpreting the Friary Site with Giles Emery, archaeologist; and Dr. Helen Clarke, medieval archaeologist.

Please contact for more info and to book the above workshops

  • Saturday 24 March 'Portable Antiquities in the Land of Boudica:Using Metal-Detector Finds for Research’ Natasha Harlow (Postgraduate Researcher, University of Nottingham) NAHRG meetings take place at the UEA (Thomas Paine Lecture Theatre) at 2.30 pm (except in December, when they hold a joint lecture with the NNAS in Norwich Castle). Non-members are welcome to try a couple of meetings before joining (no charge)