Volunteers needed for Blackpool WW1 trenches excavation

Volunteers are needed to help excavate World War One training trenches in a Blackpool park after they were filled in almost 100 years ago.

The trenches were packed with rubble and soil before the area was turned into Watson Road Park in South Shore.

Image copyright Blackpool Council
Image caption Guidebook for the trenches when they were a visitor attraction in 1916

An aerial photograph was found of the park in the 1980s which showed evidence of a buried trench system.

Blackpool Council, which commissioned a survey after the find, said a "Big Dig" will take place from 7 to 19 July.

Unknown heritage

During the survey, an old guidebook was found which showed the trenches were turned into a visitor attraction in 1916 for people to learn about trench warfare.

The money raised from the entrance fees was used to support a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers at Squires Gate, the council said.

Councillor Christine Wright, cabinet member for culture and heritage, said: "It's amazing to think that for years people have been enjoying Watson Road Park without knowing the heritage that lay underneath them.

"The Big Dig ties in perfectly with the 100th anniversary of World War One and I really hope that as many people as possible get involved," she added.

An archaeology team from the University of Salford and local expert Nigel Neil will carry out the dig with the help of volunteers.

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