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History Group Report July 2009


Barbara Yorke 19 August 2009


Since the end of our ‘Winter Season’ of formal meetings we have been enjoying some outdoor events. These began with an evening ‘Asparagus Walk’ led by Reg on Wednesday 17th June, (just a few days before the end of the ‘Asparagus Season’). This was a lovely summer’s evening and the stroll started with a perambulation round the former fields of Jimmy Lowe’s Pine Tree Farm, first inspecting the old seed-beds and some fields tucked away behind the conifers, where the traditional narrow ridge and furrow of horse-drawn implements can still be seen beneath today’s covering of Dewberry, etc. We then inspected a newly planted field on Sandfield Farm and finished by watching the late evening harvesting on the main field of Larkhill Farm, where we received a cheery wave from one of the busy part-time seasonal asparagus cutters, a ladies hair-dresser during the day!


Another interesting walk on Sunday morning 19th July, in rather wet weather, was the Society’s contribution to the Festival of British Archaeology. A score of walkers explored the landscape of Formby-by-the-Sea, Ravenmeols, just about the quietest (and one of the most interesting) areas of the Sefton Coast. After meeting at the gate of Firwood, we walked through the earliest dune woodland on the coast, and then by courtesy of the owners looked at Formby’s only ‘listed’ modern residence. We then looked at the remains of once vitally important Royal Observer Corps observation posts and explored the remains of some of the intended resort of 'Formby-by-the Sea', where part of an ambitious promenade may still be discovered under the dunes. We talked about how the various properties which once stood here had been used in former times, in peace and war. We were accompanied by the Dr Phil Smith who described the unexpected recent finding of the now nationally rare native Black Poplar, some planted as an 'amenity' tree along the disappeared roads of this formerly intended seaside resort.


Our next outing is a day-trip by coach to Sizergh Castle, Cumbria on Thursday August 13th. This fine old building in beautiful gardens is still home to the Strickland family by whom it was built in the Middle Ages. There are still a few places available on this trip. We will enjoy a Guided Tour and then walk round the garden. Lunch and afternoon tea available.


We are considering membership of the British Association of Local History Societies which will improve communications with other active Local History Societies and as long term projects:-assisting with the mapping out of a series of Heritage Walks in Ravenmeols and planning how best to celebrate the centenary of the first successful flights on this coast in May of next year.