Crowborough’s primary schools to explore “Lost World”

A project that celebrates Crowborough’s environment and notable former residents has secured £9,800 Heritage Lottery Fund support.

An artist’s impression of the Weald during the Cretaceous period (Copyright High Weald AONB Partnership)

The money will enable earth science workshops in our primary schools giving pupils the opportunity to handle geological materials including fossils and use a locally abundant material, clay, in art workshops.  Classes will also go on a Lost World ‘Quest’, walking to nearby green spaces to discover more about the area’s rocks, fossils, dinosaurs and modern-day reptiles and their habitats.

Kate Ticehurst who is a teacher at St Mary’s, as well as Outdoor Learning Co-ordinator at the School, said:

This school values the part that it plays in the community and to be offered a chance to learn more about the local history whilst taking part in a community project such as the ‘Lost World’ is brilliant.  The artwork and outdoor learning opportunities that the High Weald AONB provide are of great value to our school.

A Lost World Fun Day will launch Crowborough’s first ‘On Top of the Weald’ Community Festival and will enable the wider community to participate in the project.  Street theatre, the ‘Iguanodon Restaurant’; workshops by Dinosaur Roar’s author Paul Stickland,  dinosaur-themed videos and a school art exhibition and competition will be just some of the day’s attractions.

The project is inspired by the ‘Lost World’, a book written by former resident Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but it will also raise awareness of the works of lesser-known resident Charles Leeson, a Victorian meteorologist whose promotion of the area’s climate and topography influenced the town’s development as a Victorian health resort; Gideon Mantell, a local dinosaur hunter; and Richard Jeffries, a nature writer who visited the area to benefit his failing health.

The project brings together the newly-formed Crowborough Festival Association, the High Weald AONB Partnership, heritage experts, education providers, performance artists and six primary schools.

Denis Hart, Festival Chairman is enthusiastic about the value of the project:

The Lost World Quest will be lots of fun with children taking on the roles of characters in the Lost World book – zoologists, botanists, reporters, scientists and adventurers to explore our local countryside. Carrying out the Quest will develop skills in role-playing, map-reading and heritage recording.

The High Weald AONB Partnership has helped develop the project.

It is fantastic that Crowborough is celebrating its location on the highest ridge of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The project is a great opportunity for the community to find out more about what lies beneath the town’s rolling hills and how that geology has created the area’s internationally valuable habitats of heath, sandrock and wooded gills.

The Heritage Lottery grant is in addition to the £10,000 awarded to the Festival by the Big Lottery.

You can find-out more about the wide range of events through in May on their website and order tickets online via Ticket Source: crowboroughcommunityfestival.org.

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