Nell Bank 14/03/13 – Knapping in God’s Own Country

Gorgeous facilities at Nell Bank!

Gorgeous facilities at Nell Bank!

Being a Yorkshire lad by birth, I always relish the chance to work up north and get back to my roots, so this week has been a great run of bookings for me. First up, Nell Bank – an outdoor education centre set in stunning surrounds on the edge of Ilkley Moor. I haven’t been to Nell Bank before, but I certainly hope to be back, as the facilities are among the best I’ve ever worked in. Nell Bank is a partnership between a charitable trust and Bradford Council, and specialises in day and residential outdoor experiences for children and young adults, with an emphasis on inclusion for varying ability levels. This booking involved demonstrating handaxe and arrowhead manufacture to approximately 120 children, split into four groups.

Making a handaxe during a demo at Nell Bank.

Making a handaxe during a demo at Nell Bank.

As well as my knapping demonstrations, the children had a go at building dens, running an assault course, team building and problem solving, and digging up artefacts with Pippa Rochford from Kidz Archaeology. The weather was absolutely glorious in the morning; while it was cold first thing, the blazing sunshine across the moor soon warmed the decking area up – perfect weather to knap in!

I’m a firm believer in the important of getting children out into the fresh air to learn about the natural world and stretch themselves both mentally and physically. Being able to demonstrate the technology and tools of our ancestors in an outdoor setting adds so much to the day, and while I’ve done demonstrations in classrooms, halls and glorified sheds, these open air bookings are far and away my favourite to work on.

As part of my new Facebook and Twitter launches, I’ve been gifting handaxes to my ‘milestone’ followers – at 100, 200 and 300 followers (so far!). Birmingham Museums joined me at 100, and the 1st Hasland Scout Group were number 200. One of the handaxes I made this week at Nell Bank (see right) was earmarked for Sue @NorfolkHeritage who was my 300th follower on Twitter. Why not join me on Twitter @PrimitiveTechUK – 400 is still up for grabs!

Some more pics from the event.

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