New exhibition charts the story of discovering the past in a Peak District valley


A fascinating new exhibition called ‘Finding Whitle’ opens today in Leek.


It tells the story of local community archaeology projects that have taken place over recent years at Sheen, near Longnor.


The exhibition by the Tudor Farming Group explains how they set about finding out what life was like in the past in this part of the Upper Dove Valley.


Catherine Parker-Heath, community and conservation archaeologist for the Peak District National Park, said: “The story of ‘Finding Whitle’ tells how local residents wanted to discover how people lived and worked in the past in their area.


“Did you know? The place-name Whitle may be a derivation of White Hill from the Old English ‘hwit’ or it may refer to pasture land that is rich and able to produce white foods such as butter and milk.


“Over the years, members of the Tudor Farming Interpretation Group have carried out excavations on sites, surveyed a local graveyard and studied historic documents to find out a great deal of information. The more they have found, the more interesting the story becomes and so their research work continues.”


Moving forward, the Tudor Farming Interpretation Group are keen to find out what pollen analysis can reveal about plants that were growing in the area in the past. With support from Defra’s Farming in Protected Landscape scheme, administered by the Peak District National Park Authority, the group aims to gain insight into the former vegetation present in the landscape and past climate conditions to reconstruct how people used the land.


The exhibition at the Nicholson Museum and Art Gallery, in Leek, starts today, Thursday 28th September and runs to Saturday 28th October. It is open from 10am to 4pm daily (except Sundays).


Tudor Farming Group projects have been supported by the Peak District National Park, National Lottery Heritage Fund, English Heritage and Council for British Archaeology.