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Wartime finds on moors inspire history project

Posted 23 November 2012
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Wartime finds on moors inspire history project
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Those who like to go walking on the Peak District's moors will encounter lots of interesting and beautiful things, such as great views, fresh air, interesting wildlife and remarkable scenery.

However, it is not all about nature, with man made objects sometimes cropping up surprisingly, not least reminders of war. The presence of plane wrecks across the moors is well documented, but Woodhead Mountain Rescue (WMRT) has had a number of call-outs in recent months after discoveries of unexploded ordnance around the Langsett and Midhope areas.

With the passing of the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) act 2000, many have taken the chance to wander off-path into areas whose previous exclusion has meant many items have lain undiscovered for decades.

There may be no need to panic - after all, nobody has been blown up in any of these instances - but the finds have prompted WMRT to seek a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to explore the history behind these discarded shells.

It has been successful in this endeavour, which means historians will be investigating the wartime history of Langsett and Midhope. Already it is known that thousands of soldiers were stationed in the area, firing shells in testing, while a recent open day at Langsett Barn attracted 300 visitors, with many people able to pass on knowledge of those years.

Commenting on the Midhope at War project, WMRT chairman Barry Gregory said: "It's great that we have been awarded this grant and we can't wait to get started.

"The moors have become so much more accessible since the CRoW Act we believe it is our duty to record the stories and evidence of those who used them during the wartime years and to provide a legacy for others to enjoy safely."

July saw the most recent instance of an unexploded shell being discovered in the area, with a member of the public finding it near the cut gate path above Langsett.

Military experts arrived and carried out a controlled explosion, after the individual took the wise course of contacting the police and not trying to move or touch the device.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801493727-ADNFCR