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Delving into the history of Hardwick Green

Posted: Wednesday 16th January 2019 by HardwickGreenMeadows

Hardwick Green Meadows (c) Paul LaneHardwick Green Meadows (c) Paul Lane

Join one of our historical research volunteers, Thomas, as he delves in Hardwick Green Meadows' past...


Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has recently acquired Hardwick Green Meadows, which accounts for around 1.5% of floodplain meadows left in the UK. The importance for this to be conserved is high as during the last 70 years, since World War Two, around 97% of all wildflower meadows in England have been destroyed.


We are trying to reach into the past and collect stories of the history of the area and how the landscape has been used. We know that this goes back to the pre-Roman era with coins and other unusual artefacts being discovered here.

The Hardwick Green project


My name is Thomas Holland and I am a 15-year-old student at the King's School Worcester in year 11.  As part of my Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award, I am volunteering to help with the Trust's research into stories about the people who owned land in the Hardwick Green area, as well as the farmers who took care of it and the people who spent their childhood growing up exploring this charming corner of Worcestershire.


The project team, mainly consisting of volunteers, has been meeting every month and so far my colleagues have recorded more than a dozen interviews with people who have memories of their time with the meadows. Many of these are of farmers who talked about their techniques and methods of how the land was managed and what it was used for.


My role is summarising all these interviews, highlighting specific topics of interest and looking at connections between them. This will be used to support researchers in a number of restoration and conservation efforts as well as ongoing community projects.


I am really enjoying developing the indexes and database and it is fun reading the discussions because the content is both fascinating and relevant for the future management of this rare meadowland.

Spotlight on an interview


Every month I will bring you a taste of one of the interviews that are forming the base of our research.


In May 2018 Julia Letts interviewed John Humphreys, who was born on Grafton Farm in 1952 and has worked on farms in the Hardwick Green area all his life. John was able to tell us a lot about the buildings and field usage from his early years up to the present day. Also, he had many stories that he could pass on from his father and grandfather, which told us about many farms and buildings have since disappeared. He gave us comparisons in the way farmers could work in the '50s and '60s compared to controls introduced by governments in the '70s onwards.


He told us about all the evidence from Roman times through to the medieval ages that was continuously thrown up during ploughing and other farm activities. He described the disruption and change brought to the community when the motorway was built.


John's favourite place is an orchard with a few old trees on a south-facing bank, overlooking the marshland. There he can peruse the world, looking out over Cinders Fields towards Rye Coppice and he can watch, at a distance, what’s going on at Marsh Court Farm where he spent so much time growing up.



Thomas Holland is a 15-year-old student at the King's School Worcester. As part of his Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award, he is volunteering to help with the Trust's research into stories about the people who owned land in the Hardwick Green area, the farmers who took care of it and the people who spent their childhood growing up exploring this charming corner of Worcestershire.


Limited clips from our oral history recordings are available on our Memories of Hardwick Green blog post. More will be available later in 2019.


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