The history of Cobham will be unearthed and brought back to life with a three-year archaeology project.
Kent County Council has secured a grant of £96,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project, Cobham Landscape Detectives.
It will be led by a community archaeologist in partnership with local volunteers.
Activities will include:
• exploring the wooded landscape to identify ancient trees and hidden earthworks
• fieldwalking to look for archaeological finds that give a clue to past land use
• geophysical surveys to discover buried remains
• small-scale excavations to test detective work
The information gathered will help tell the story of the changing landscape from prehistory to the present day.
People of all ages and abilities are invited to get involved and become Cobham Landscape Detectives.
The project will work with community, groups, local schools and the Kent branches of the Young Archaeologists Club.
Results will be presented to the public through a series of walks, talks, open days, on the web and through social media. A richly-illustrated final report will detail the findings.
Kent County Council is well-known for running successful and engaging community archaeological projects.
Previous projects, including Shorne Woods Heritage Project and the Shorne HubCAP project, have worked with a wide range of volunteers, offering unique opportunities to explore the archaeology of a range of sites across west Kent.
KCC Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport Matthew Balfour said: “This will be a great learning experience for the residents of Cobham as well as those taking part”.
“In the past, people taking part have not only learnt important archaeological skills, but been able to talk about their new-found knowledge to the community at a wide range of events, involving thousands of people”.
“The landscape around Cobham is a treasure trove of archaeological sites of all periods, from still standing prehistoric earthworks to buried Roman villas and from lost medieval manors to world war two camps”.
The Cobham Landscape Detectives project which is working in partnership with major land managers in the area such as the National Trust, Forestry Commission, Plantlife International and the Woodland Trust, will provide opportunities to explore these sites further and present the results to the public.
Stuart McLeod, head of HLF South East, said: “From listed buildings and ancient monuments to 17th century woodland and literary connections, Cobham and the surrounding area has a rich and diverse heritage.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, this project provides a wonderful opportunity for people to delve into their local heritage and we’re delighted to award this grant so that the volunteers can begin their journey of discovery.”