Volunteers undertake sandstone structures visual audit

Carys Underwood | Jul 2022

Over the last 18 months a group of very diligent volunteers, led by Project Manager Carol Carter, have undertaken a visual audit of over 500 Sandstone structures across the Greensand Country area.

It has been produced as an appendix to original Sandstone Structures Audit which was completed in 2015. Volunteers have meticulously photographed hundreds of some of the more well-known and not so well-known sandstone structures from all over Greensand Country.

The nature and landscape of Greensand Country has been shaped over millions of years by its geology, soils and historic land use. Approximately 125 million years ago, the area we now know as Greensand Country was dominated by tropical shallow seas. Sediments of sandy minerals were deposited as silt, sand and gravel, which eventually became compressed into the Greensand and sandstone rocks that we all know.

Over the years sandstone structures have become a distinctive element of the Greensand landscape and the audit will help to better understand how these structures can be preserved and, in some case, restored. Sandstone was used for building churches, schools, cottages and many other farming-based structures like walls and outbuildings.

Project Manager, Carol Carter, commented, “It has been a great volunteering experience managing this project to photograph over 500 sandstone buildings, walls, historic ice houses, bridges, etc and now it is finished, to see all the photographs in a single document which has been presented to the Archive in Bedford.  It represents so many interesting and attractive parts of Bedfordshire and was made achievable due to the lovely volunteers who also responded to the call for help.”   

Daniel Bowles, Programme & Partnership Co-ordinator at Greensand Country, said, “We are very grateful for the time and effort Carol Carter and all the volunteers have put in to creating this visual audit of the sandstone used in various structures throughout Greensand Country. The sandstone is a special part of the construction heritage of the area, and so it’s great that it has been documented in a visual form.”

A copy of each of each audit has been given to HER (Historic Environment Records) in Chicksands, Shefford and Bedfordshire Archives in Bedford.

If you’d like to find out more about Sandstone structures in Greensand Country, they can make an appointment at Bedfordshire Archives in Bedford, or they can look at the digital versions on the Greensand Country website: https://www.greensandcountry.com/discover/resources/

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