History of the Blackwater Valley

The Blackwater Valley has a rich and ancient history. Centuries of human impact have left an indelible footprint shaping the local character, landscape and wildlife.

Ancient history

The rights of way network itself is probably the biggest item of heritage – you can literally follow in the footsteps of your ancestors. Prehstoric tracks cross the dry heathlnds, Roman highways ford the river, medieval routes used by Tudor kings, or the network of local tracks heading across from fields to church: all are still in use today.

Modern history

Over the past 60 years gravel extraction and urban expansion caused major changes to the landscape. It’s 40 years since the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, and more recently, we at the Trust, started to transform the Valley from a mess to what it is today, restoring gravel pits and rubbish dumps, creating lakes, meadows and woodlands.

Take a look at some of the work that went on in the early years – much has changed even since this video was made.