We worked with the local community to record and better interpret Dunkeswell Abbey within its surroundings and to celebrate the rich historic and cultural interest of Dunkeswell Abbey.

Start Date: 2019-01-31 End Date: 2020-03-31

Dunkeswell Abbey, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, is on Historic England’s Heritage ‘At Risk’ Register and is an important part of the Blackdown Hills historic landscape. However, few people are aware of the significance of this substantial monastic complex, since there is currently no signage or interpretation information at the site and only fragments of the 13th century Cistercian abbey survives above ground. There are also many questions left unanswered about the extent and significance of Dunkeswell Abbey, which the community archaeology programme will help to solve.

Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership teamed up with Heritage, Arts and People to help bring Dunkeswell Abbey, Blackdown Hills’ hidden gem to life. The aim is to increase understanding and awareness of this nationally-significant abbey complex.

The project was awarded £9,700 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.

The Discovering Dunkeswell Abbey project was coordinated by Heritage, Arts and People, an Exeter-based Community Interest Company which focuses on enabling people of all ages to explore and enjoy their local heritage, bringing new, fulfilling and enriching experiences to participants and volunteers. Catherine Farnell of Heritage, Arts and People will be

We worked with the local community to record and better interpret Dunkeswell Abbey within its surroundings and to celebrate the rich historic and cultural interest of Dunkeswell Abbey.

The project provided opportunities for volunteers to get involved in surveying the remains of the abbey, walking the river to look for pottery and learning about the fascinating heritage of the site. The results were shared via ‘Dunkeswell Abbey on Tour’, a series of interactive workshops and events taking the project into schools and the community. A newly-commissioned interpretation drawing of the abbey will be installed at the site, alongside information informed by the community archaeology programme.

Devon County Council and Historic England assisted with the project with expertise and specialist support. Other work to repair and consolidate the site is also underway funded by Historic England grants.

Dunkeswell Abbey ruins

Dunkeswell Abbey. Photo: Heritage Arts People

 

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