Hidden Peak District castle revealed on-line

This is an archived press release

Monday 23 January 2006

23 January 2006

Hidden Peak District castle revealed on-line

The remains of an intriguing Norman castle, visible in the Peak District landscape, can be explored through time on a new interactive website.

Overlooking the River Dove near Hartington, the 11th-century Pilsbury Castle was one of the best examples of a Norman motte-and-bailey construction in the area, which now shows up on the landscape as a series of banks, dips and ancient trackways,

The new educational website,, brings its history to life with a timeline, reminiscences, archaeological reports, a 360-degree panorama and a video.

The website is the result of a far-reaching community research project, organised by the Peak District National Park Authority, which owns the site.

National Park ranger Lynn Burrows, who co-ordinated the project said: “Some of the most revealing aspects of Pilsbury’s history came when we talked to older members of the local farming community about it, not so much about the castle itself, but its position on the ancient routeways used for trade.

“Some fascinating local facts and anecdotes came to light, such as the first written record of Derbyshire Oatcakes coming from Pilsbury.

“We also worked with about 100 schoolchildren to investigate the castle and its place in the landscape. Finally we’ve put everything together on the website, which not only provides information for anyone interested in local history, but an educational resource for teachers and pupils, and an historical and archaeological archive.”

The project also involved local history groups, amateur and professional archaeologists from Sheffield University, local people, the Rural Education and Arts programme and even theatre groups and military re-enactment societies.

Pictures of a midsummer pageant, with mummers, mock-battles in Norman and Anglo-Saxon dress and the arrival of a packhorse train, enliven the website.

An archaeological survey report will also be published in the Derbyshire Archaeological Journal.

For those who would like to see Pilsbury Castle in reality, two new self-guided walks are available either on-line or in leaflets at local shops and tourist information centres. The walks start at Hartington or Longnor, looking at the ancient settlements and trackways, including a centuries-old packhorse route.

The project was funded by the Local Heritage Initiative, Nationwide Building Society and the Peak District Sustainable Development Fund. 

This is an archived press release

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