Having recently retired, I was looking for a volunteer role, which let me ‘work my brain’ whilst helping others, when up popped A Forgotten Landscape! They were asking for volunteers in many different roles, but the one that appealed to me most was the historical research.
I have lived in the Lower Severn Vale Levels for almost 40 years, in the hamlet of Redwick, now part of the village of Pilning. Busy with work and raising a family, I realised that I know little about the area in which I live. I chose it as my topic and with the guidance of historian Virginia Bainbridge, I have been delving into its past.
A Forgotten Landscape has given me the opportunity to visit both Bristol Records Office and Gloucester Archives as part of the Tales of the Vale project. There, I have studied documents, registers, books, photographs and maps to research the history of Redwick. Amazingly, I have been able to handle documents such as deeds and manorial rolls, some over 700 years old. It was so exciting until I realised I could not read them; they were written in Latin! However, Virginia ably came to my rescue as she could translate Latin.
I have found many interesting facts and stories about Redwick and the surrounding area, stretching back to the Iron Age. It’s similar to sorting through the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and now begins the task of putting it together to understand how they all link to tell the story.
Through my volunteering I am acquiring new skills, using some I had forgotten, meeting new friends and visiting lots of new places in my local area.
A Forgotten Landscape has far more to offer! I have attended some of the fascinating Tuesday Talks and joined some of the activities of the Roving Art Group. The latter gave me the opportunity to make a willow bird for the garden and use different art mediums in making pictures. Thank you Artist in Residence, Deborah.
Meeting some of the volunteers on the other projects has been fascinating and I am sorry I did not find A Forgotten Landscape sooner. I have joined my local history group so that when A Forgotten Landscape finishes I can hopefully continue with this hobby.