Iron-Age roundhouses in education plan for former Shropshire quarry site

Subjects including archaeology, biology and geography could be taught to students ranging from primary to postgraduate age on a former Shropshire quarry site, if plans are approved.

Proposed education facilities at Maddocks Hill Quarry, Little Wenlock, near Wellington. Picture: Base Architecture and Design Ltd / Tree-Ring Services Ltd
Proposed education facilities at Maddocks Hill Quarry, Little Wenlock, near Wellington. Picture: Base Architecture and Design Ltd / Tree-Ring Services Ltd

Maddock Hill Quarry provided rock to build roads including the nearby M54 during its 45-year working life.

Tree-Ring Services Ltd has applied to change the 23-acre site into an education facility and build three Iron-Age roundhouses, six camping pods, an activity building and a warden’s residence.

Little Wenlock Parish Council will be consulted, and Telford & Wrekin Council’s planning department will make its decision at a later date.

Blueprints submitted by the Gloucestershire-based company show the buildings and eight-space car park would be arranged at the west end of the site, about a mile south of Wellington and accessed via Ercall Lane.

Proposed education facilities at Maddocks Hill Quarry, Little Wenlock, near Wellington. Picture: Base Architecture and Design Ltd / Tree-Ring Services Ltd

A design statement, submitted on behalf of Tree-Ring director Andy Moir by planning agent Yasmin Lokat, says: “The proposed scheme will look to work with the existing features of the site and use these to provide educational opportunities for students from primary school to postgraduate university level to learn and feed back into the site’s natural and geological history.

“The site is made up of a former disused quarry and the surrounding wooded embankments

“A review of the site’s history reveals that the area has been occupied since the Stone Age with a number of archaeological sites located within the immediate area.

“The site in particular was opened as a mine in 1936 for the purpose of providing igneous rock for hardcore and roadstone.

“The quarry provided a large quantity of material for the construction of the nearby M54 in the 1970s, closing in 1981.

“The site has been left dormant since this time with the site being re-vegetated.”

Proposed education facilities at Maddocks Hill Quarry, Little Wenlock, near Wellington. Picture: Base Architecture and Design Ltd / Tree-Ring Services Ltd

Ms Lokat, of Base Architecture and Design Ltd, adds that the outdoor fieldwork centre would be aimed at university students, with courses lasting a week and with a maximum of 36 people on site at a time, but it would “also act as an educational community facility”.

She adds: “The applicant, Dr Moir, has an existing business which deals with dendrochronology and the science of dating trees, hedges, archaeological timbers and period buildings.

“The company also undertakes research projects all over the country.

“The applicant would like to provide a fieldwork centre at the site which would allow students and adults to learn about a range of subjects on site including forestry, archaeology, biology, geography and geology. These would each have specific educational activities associated with them such as woodland management, archaeology, coppicing, charcoal making, traditional woodland crafts, timber frame construction techniques, bushcraft, roleplay and archery.”

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