Volunteer With The Chase Through Time Project to Uncover Forgotten First World War History on Cannock Chase

4 November 2016 | Hannah Clark

New archaeological discoveries have been made on Cannock Chase as part of the Chase Through Time project, including First World War practice trenches, hut platforms and a POW camp.

Recent LIDAR data shows the layout of one of the training camps on the Chase

Recent LIDAR data shows the layout of one of the training camps on the Chase

The project, run by Staffordshire County Council in partnership with Historic England and supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, has used LIDAR (light imaging detection and ranging) technology attached to an aircraft to survey the landscape of Cannock Chase from thousands of feet in the air – the first time the whole of the Chase has been recorded to this level of detail.

The images, following analysis by specialists, show new features on the landscape that will be investigated in the coming months through targeted field work. This work, carried out by trained volunteers, will explore and confirm newly identified locations to understand the archaeology of the sites and to ensure the accuracy of the LIDAR findings.

The project will culminate in a touring exhibition, mobile app and other interpretive material. A commemorative event to mark the centenary of the Battle of Messines in 2017 is also planned, a battle to which Cannock Chase is closely linked by the Messines Ridge topographical training model, which, previously excavated and surveyed, remains on the Chase and is one of the few surviving training models in Europe.

The Chase Through Time is looking for volunteers to carry out the next stage of ground verification work. Training will be provided by investigators from Historic England. For more information visit the project website or contact the project coordinator, Gary Ball, at gary.ball@staffordshire.gov.uk.