Beechenhill Farm - Treasure Trail
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Treasure Trail


The Land of the Manifol Murder Mystery Treasure Trail £5
The Land of the Manifold- a Murder Mystery Themed Treasure Trail
We stock these Treasure Trails (£5).  They are great fun for children and greater fun for adults- or so it seems! 
They take about two hours, and if you solve the mystery you stand a chance of winning up to £1,000.
"We've had an absolutely great day out that even the occasional rain couldn't spoil. To sum it up nicely, my 4 children compared The Land of the Manifold to when they stayed at Alton Towers hotel for a couple of days! High praise indeed!!"
The Kenny Family May 2013

The Beechenhill Treasure Trail

1. Shelter Belt: The Trees; Oak, ash, silver birch, cherry, hawthorn, wild rose, mountain ash, gorse and bramble were planted here in 1985. The larger sycamores were planted in 1970s. Lots of animals live here, field mice, bank voles. There are bat boxes and bird boxes.  These trees help to protect the farm drive from snow.

2. The dry stone wall on the south side of the drive was built in 1999.  It was built by a local wall builder and cost £7,000.

3. Milk Stand: The old milk churn stand is a good place to stand and look around! It used to hold churns of milk for daily collection until 1974. The farm would have produced about 12 churns a day in the 1970s and today we produce the equivalent of 19 churns a day (800 litres)

4. Squeeze belly stile: A very effective style of stile! Many walls are topped with barbed wire to stop the cows rubbing and pushing them over and also to keep sheep in.
5. Walls: The stone under the grass and earth is limestone, formed under ancient oceans millions of years ago. You can see lots of fossils in some of the dry stone walls and the farmyard buildings. You can see yellow and white lichens growing on the stones, these show that the air is really clean.

6. New Wood: This is a new wood planted in 1994.  The trees are ash, hawthorn, sycamore and alder. They were only 18" (60cm) high when planted. Under the trees the land is growing wild again.  Wildflowers are coming and eventually there will be lots of wild animals and plants.

View: To North see Alstonefield, Wetton Hill, Hall Dale and the distant Dovedale gorge.

7. Stone Hole: This is a hidden stone hole.  People used to dig stone for walls and buildings.  In the hole it feels very quiet and still.

8. Burial Mound: This is mound is a burial place; a barrow. About 4000 years ago a person died and was buried here. It is an important place known as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.  You can stand here in the wind and feel like you are flying!

9. Gibbet Meadow: This field name appears on ancient maps, we can only imagine why.....In ancient times Ilam Moor was a wild and frightening place, people only travelled here in groups, because wolves and other wild animals wandered across these isolated moorlands. Imagine the wind howling and the gibbet rope creaking.....


10.  The Barn House: This used to be Moor Barn, used for storing hay for animals to eat in winter. 400 years ago in the 1600s there was a small hill farming community here. Archeologists found lots of clay pipes here in 1983-4.  The pipes came from far away; Much Wenlock and Broseley in Shropshire and Polesworth, Nottingham and Newcastle under Lyme.

View: To the South see distinctive Bunster Hill with its lumps and on the far side of the Manifold Valley is Hazleton Clump.

11. Millennium Avenue:  Each tree is planted in the name of guests who have stayed many times from 1990 to 2000.

View: To the North lies Bitchen Hill, protecting the farm from those biting winds. Why Bitchen? This name with various different spellings appears in documents mentioning the farm as far back as 1533. (Bychenne, Bychen, Bechen.)

View: West, on the other side of the valley is Throwley Hall, the settlement dating from the Thirteenth century. There is lots of evidence about Throwley's past. It seems that at some time it had 2 deer parks.

12.  Lead Rakes and Barrow: Over the wall in Lamber Close is a lumpy ridge near the top wall. This is where ancient people raked lead out of the ground and smelted it near by. Beyond the rakes is another barrow, this one is damaged, 1849 by a man called Carrington dug into the mound.  He found an oval rock cut grave containing 'a large skeleton lying at the bottom, on its left side, in the usual contracted posture' near the shoulders lay a shale button.

13. Gateway to Lamber Meadow: Notice the different walling stone. Here the farm lies on dolomitised limestone. This is formed when the calcium in the limestone is replaced by magnesium, leaving holes in the rock. The stones are large rounded boulders.

View: The Manifold Valley stretches East and West. Opposite are two farms, the Easterly one is Musden Grange and the other is Rushley Farm. Way above Musden Grange, almost hidden in trees is a beautiful but deserted farmstead called Upper Musden. It was built in the 1800s, a 3 storey house and wonderful square yard with huge traditional buildings. It has no electricity or water and no road to get there.

14. Celtic Fields: Here the ridges and banks show small terraces and 'Celtic' fields.

15. Wildflowers: In April and May this area is full of bright purple orchids and tiny daisies.

16.  Spring: Almost hidden by hawthorn and protected by a small stone wall, this spring feeds the mere (pond) just below it. It used to provide water for grazing animals, far from the farm. There are often hares and birds around here.

17.  Ridge and Furrow:  Medieval farmimg created this ridge and furrow.  Farmers ploughed in a way that formed a series of ridges and furrows, lying in a North- South direction.

18.  Pre-historic Farmsteads: these rocky ridges and stony outcrops were once a collection of circular huts and enclosures. If you look at the field from an areoplane you can see the shapes of small houses. 

19.  Earthworks: Here is a big 'L' shaped bank with an additional 'D' shape attached. A part of this was excavated by archeologists in the late 1988. Nineteen shards of pottery were found dating from the period before the Romans came. Pieces of cattle, sheep and goat bones were also found.

20.  The Mere: This man made pond was built around 1900. This and a tank behind the house were the only sources of water until 1960 when mains water came. The mere is fed by rain water from the south facing roofs of the farm. The north roofs fed the tank. In times of drought, water was brought from the River Manifold and brought up to the farm in a horse drawn tank. The mere is home to a big healthy colony of great crested newts. (Occasionally these newts try to migrate through the Cottage by the Pond!)

21.  The Farmyard and Garden: There are fossil shells and sea plants in the building stones used in the walls of the barn in the main farmyard. Look at the south facing barn wall between the two right hand barn doors. The cross sections of the shells look like tiny smiles, while plant stalks look like nuts and bolts!

22. The Vegetable Garden: This little vegetable garden is in what used to be the old muck hole, so it should grow lots of good food!



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