The First World War archaeology of Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty



Our HLF funded WW1 project is currently gearing up for the University of York’s fourth season of archaeological research excavation at Breary Banks, Colsterdale. To date the University have been exploring the early twentieth century camp established for navvy workers and taken over for the War effort as Colsterdale Camp – training camp for volunteer recruits, including the ‘Leeds Pals’. Later in the War the camp served as a prison for German POWs.
Yesterday the project hosted a fascinating talk in Ilkley that focused on the impact of the War on the town through accounts in the Ilkley Gazette, and the potential for First World War archaeology in Wharfedale, to the south of our area, including at Farnley Hall, army training camp perhaps best known for hosting the Northern Command Gas, Grenade and Signal School.
On Sunday we are holding a First World War-themed event aimed at families to mark the Festival of Archaeology and reference the return of the archaeologists to Breary Banks, in the historic nearby town of Masham. The event will be held in Masham Town Hall, Little Market Place, and we hope to welcome everyone with a passing interest in history, archaeology or their local heritage. For more information about this event see