Roots in Time

Hidden history on your doorstep

Roots in Time is a National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council project to explore and share the archaeology of a new woodland at Norton, near Evesham. During summer 2022, a community excavation investigated millennia of stories buried within this landscape. Geophysical survey of the site had revealed an Iron Age/ Romano-British settlement, trackways and possibly earlier prehistoric activity too. Thanks to the excavation, we now have a window into what really went on, who lived there and when.

The woodland, wildflower meadows and wetland have been designed around the archaeology and will become a new public green space – New Farm Nature Reserve – owned by Worcestershire County Council and accessed from The Valley.


We are delighted that the project was recognised at the Archaeological Achievement Awards 2023, run by the Council for British Archaeology, by winning two categories – Archaeology & Sustainability and Outstanding Achievement. Thank you to all involved!

The excavation report is coming soon! In the meantime, please see our newsletters or talk for updates. You can also still find the dig diary updates that were posted on social media during the excavation by searching for #RootsInTime. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Christmas 2022 newsletter – insights from finds processing

March 2023 newsletter – initial finds analysis

June 2023 newsletter – excavation summary

On site, you will find a series of 6 illustrated information panels about the archaeology uncovered. An audio trail of creative writing is linked to these boards. It will be available in the New Year – apologies for the delay!

Ourside Youth Centre and Spare Room Arts created the beautiful panels, which really bring the site to life. The audio trail was edited by Jean Atkin and is a combination of poems, short stories and riddles written by Ourside Youth Centre and local residents that imagine some of the human stories connected to the site’s heritage. Immerse yourself in the hidden tales of local lives long ago -who lived on, worked and enjoyed this land over the centuries?


Finishing touches are currently being made to a sculpture and sitting place, called Sanctum. You’ll find Sanctum along the old railway line that runs along the bottom of new Farm Nature Reserve. Here you can sit, enjoy the view and let your mind wander back in time.

The mosaics inside Sanctum were created with the help of members of Evesham Dementia Meeting Group, Freedom Day Centre and local residents using recycled materials. The timber is from a local sustainable saw mill. The sculpture was designed and created by Spare Room Arts, with the help of KPW Restorations, taking inspiration from the site’s Roman archaeology and new woodland.

Drawing of the Roots in Time sculpture, Sanctum

Drawing of Sanctum, by Spare Room Arts

Directions to New Farm Nature Reserve

New Farm Nature Reserve is now open to the public. It is a 15-20 minute stroll from The Valley – please be aware that signage from The Valley is not yet in place.

Once at The Valley, walk past the train and down a gravel track to the river, then turn left. Follow the footpath, keeping left at the fork. The site entrance is just after the old railway bridge.

Please be aware that the final section of the route is not accessible to wheelchairs or pushchairs. Cafes serving refreshments and visitor toilets are available at The Valley. The Valley is home to a garden centre, 22 shops, 4 eateries, riverside walks, Evesham Vale Light Railway, and a children’s play area.

Getting to The Valley

The Valley is accessible by bus or car from the northern end of the Evesham bypass (A46) at its junction with the Stratford Road. Once on the Evesham bypass follow the brown tourist signs marked Evesham Country Park (the site’s former name). Take the turning for the petrol station and Premier Inn, then turn immediately left into The Valley’s entrance.

Living History Day

Saturday 11th May, 10am – 3pm at The Valley, WR11 4DS

Step back into Roman and Iron Age Evesham!

Find us in the shopping street for demos and hands-on activities that bring to life the archaeology hidden within New Farm Nature Reserve, adjacent to The Valley.

  • See and handle finds from the dig
  • Explore food and drink introduced by the Romans
  • Discover ancient crafts, including make and take fabric dyeing

Storytelling: Tales through Time

Tuesday 28th May at The Valley, WR11 4DS

Tall Tales from Tribal Times (10am – 12)

People have lived by the River Avon for centuries. Iron Age Farmers, Roman travellers, soldiers, potters and rascals; their stories and secrets have lain hidden for years in the objects they left behind. Our storyteller Ian has the power to bring them to life again! Join him at The Valley as he uncovers the scary, silly and downright hilarious things they got up to, through tall tales, songs, games and puppets. Perfect for young children and families – no charge but do bring a cushion if you want to be comfy!

Drop-in by the wooden fort (or find us in the picnic tipi if raining).

Go Deeper (2 – 4pm)

A 1 hour storytelling promenade event around the New Farm Nature Reserve, exploring characters and themes suggested by archaeology from the 2022 community excavations. Imagination, ritual, music and story unearth the human thread that binds us all when we Go Deeper. For adults and accompanied young people aged Year 7 and upwards (ages 11-12+).

NB This is a ticketed open-air event which will go ahead whatever the weather conditions. You will be escorted from The Valley to a gathering place, ready for storytelling 2.30 – 3.30pm. At the end of the event (3.30pm) you will make your own way back, giving you the opportunity to linger and wander the site’s trails should you wish. Round trip is approx. 2 miles along footpaths and former farm tracks.

Free, but booking required

About the storyteller

Ian Craigan photoIan Craigan is a Midlands based storyteller and performance artist who works in schools, nurseries and community settings. His credits include Wildgoose Festival, Starry Skies Festival, Fort Royal Solstice, SluainFest & Hereford Mystery Cycle. He’s also done his fair share of ‘scraping back to natural’ on archaeological digs!

Previous events:

  • Excavation talk – 9th Nov 2023
  • Artefact handling session – 7th Nov 2023
  • Wildlife walk – 3nd Nov 2023
  • Hidden tales of local lives long ago – 28th June, 30th June & 14th July 2023
  • Be part of it! Roots in Time sculpture – 9th July 2023
  • Excavation Open Day – 17th Sept 2022

You can get in touch with us to sign-up or discuss queries by email, phone or post:

WAAS Outreach, The Hive, Sawmill Walk, The Butts, Worcester, WR1 3PD

01905 766352 (Outreach Team) or 844090 (Project Officer)

Roots in Time logo Arts Council England logo