Volunteer Indexers needed for Gloucestershire Stone Stile Project
Are there stone stiles where you live? Perhaps you supported the Stone Stile Project by reporting the stone stiles in your area? We now need volunteers for the second stage of the project.
Not long ago Peter Wilson discovered there was no comprehensive record of stone stiles in our ancient county of Gloucestershire. He recognised there was a danger of many disappearing for ever, often being bypassed or ‘lost’ in the undergrowth or removed, replaced with galvanised ‘kissing gates’ and wooden stiles. Stone stiles are an important feature of our rural architecture and need protecting.
With support from CPRE Gloucestershire and the Cotteswold Naturalists’ Field Club, The Stone Stile Project was launched in the summer of 2020. The Project was divided into three phases: Reporting of stiles, the indexing of those stiles and finally the production of an interactive OS map showing the location of the stile and information on it.
The support for the Project has been overwhelming with over 800 stone stiles reported and our thanks go to everyone who has contributed. There were duplicate sightings but often new information would be added such as the condition of the stile or its history. We now have an invaluable record of the stone stiles in our county which is a further step in securing their preservation and have expanded the scope to include historic metal stiles.
And now the aim is to create an Index, with a unique number for each stile together with all the information received from the contributors. With the help of a small team of volunteers we have been able to start the second phase of the Project. This will bring together all the information received from the contributors on stiles located in each parish across the county. Much of this is already available from the forms submitted together with at least one photograph but if more information is needed it will be necessary to visit the individual stile. The recording of 800 stiles across Gloucestershire needs to be tackled and this is where the team need your help.
We are looking for volunteers who are preferably fairly confident in using an Excel spread sheet to record the information which will be supplied to you from Peter Wilson. Each volunteer will receive the emails together with photographs of each stile and will be asked to enter the details onto a spreadsheet. Hugh Tarran, a member of the team has produced Guidance Notes and will be on hand if help is needed. We anticipate more volunteers will opt to use Excel however the details could be recorded onto a table in a Word document
This is some of the information which will appear on the spread sheet: – Location of stile, map ref, type of stile, which parish, condition of stile – in use and if not alternative in situ, on Right of Way or private land, where path goes to and from, and any additional information such as possible age of path, when stile was installed and any landscape features – geology, archaeology, history, etc.
It is so important to record our historical heritage and we hope that you can help. The project is one step away from producing an interactive App and with a team of Indexers across Gloucestershire we can achieve this.