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20th Anniversary Celebration

GrahamAs well as 2015 being the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Trust, it is also the 20th year that the Director has been in post. Earlier this summer, the Trustees took the opportunity to present Graham Bell with a commemorative bowl, created by local glass artist Jane Charles. The Trustees and staff look forward to working with Graham for many more years to come.

Camp Farm and the Alauna Roman Fort

The future of the Alauna Roman fort and a model farm at Maryport has been safeguarded by a transfer between two charities. In a deal that has taken eight months to put together, North of England Civic Trust (NECT) has acquired the site from the Hadrian’s Wall Trust (HWT) which ceased trading in July 2014 and now will be wound up.

Camp Farm at Maryport is at the western point of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site – one of the largest in the world. It stretches for over 3,000 miles from Maryport across Europe to the Middle East, through Syria, and along the north coast of Africa. Under the turf of the farm is the Roman fort of Alauna and its civilian settlement or ‘vicus’. Over the years surveys and excavations have established the extent and international significance of the archaeology but so far this has not been fully presented to the public. HWT was the agency that promoted Hadrian’s Wall around the world and had acquired the site and drawn up plans to use the model farm buildings as an international visitor attraction and interpretation centre, but the demise of the regional development agencies and funding cutbacks meant this could not be realised. The winding up of HWT put the whole future of the site in jeopardy until negotiations with NECT offered a lifeline.

2015 is NECT’s 50th anniversary so acquisition of Camp Farm presents the Trust with a timely and appropriate celebration to do what it does best: take on challenging and often derelict historic buildings and bring them back from the brink. The Trust has properties around the north of England that it has rescued, including a stately home in Northumberland, a former town hall and coaching inn in Sunderland, and a watermill near Hawes in North Yorkshire that won through to a final of BBC Restoration. So what of Camp Farm?

Roman fortGraham Bell, Director of NECT, is excited, not daunted: “I probably spend more time treading carefully through derelict buildings than finished ones, so what I see here is not abandoned buildings and buried stones but something that if handled carefully can be brought back to life. Everyone has heard of Hadrian’s Wall but Alauna is still largely Maryport’s secret.

Our first question is how to share that secret so everyone gains, especially the residents and schoolchildren on its doorstep, and West Cumbria, and the wider world. Our first step will be to listen to people to build a picture of what will work best. We’ve begun with our neighbours, the Senhouse Museum, and think we can do great things together.”

This is a strategically important site, not just for its history but its role in the economy and environment of West Cumbria. Allerdale Borough Council, Cumbria County Council and Energy Coast West Cumbria are all key players whose support has been critical.

First Roman Games at Ewanrigg a resounding success

The first Roman Games festival at Ewanrigg was held over the weekend of 8th - 10th April 2015 and was deemed a resounding success by all who took part. The weekend of activities was enjoyed by many residents and the chariot race on Sunday had over 40 participants and featured some very creative chariots and costumes. Everyone is now looking forward to next year's event.
Visit the Ewanrigg website and watch their film on youtube.