I had quite a merry morning yesterday - a site visit to Washingwell Woods and Fugar Bar, most of which is in my ward. I have been wanting to get off the ground a history project about the area for some years. My first plan was to restore the ancient orchard that was once part of the medieval Fugar House (which was demolished in the early 1950s. The old orchard has clung to life, overgrown and largely neglected. The project however has grown into one that draws out the history of the area, starting with the Roman fort at Washingwell, through the medieval Fugar period, the Tudor culvert and wooden waggonways and the Tanfield Railway, the world's longest running steam rail system.
Sunniside History Society has agreed to be the body that leads on the project. The site visit yesterday was accompanied by council officers who are considering a funding bid of £1000 to the Local Community Fund. If this goes ahead, it will open the doors to a Heritage Lottery Fund bid of £29,000 that will allow us to draw out the history of the area.
The site visit went well. The sunny weather helped. Trudging about in the rain would not have been good!