Building a Bronze Age Board walk…

Wednesday the 15th of May saw the first Hands on Heritage Volunteer day at Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve. With our brand new set of tools in hand, we set about having a bash at constructing a stretch of the Meare Heath Bronze Age track way.

This later Bronze Age timber walkway traversed an area of wetland between Meare Island and the Polden Hills, around 2km in length. It consisted of split oak planks laid in pairs between other perpendicular timber sleepers. These were then pegged into the peat to secure the structure in place.

With this in mind and the sun making a welcome appearance, we headed out amongst the trees to start our structure.  A full day of careful axe-work and chiselling with our team of trainee craftspeople ensued, cleaning up the planks, producing all the peg-holes and sharpening the roundwood stakes. The resounding, rhythmic sound of steel on wood echoed through the forest, with flakes of oak covering the floor.

As the clouds began to creep across the skies, we assembled our reconstruction out in the wet woodland alongside a range of previous examples, the final piece to a pathway through prehistory.

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