AN EXCITING excavation is being carried out this week at Kendal’s Greenside Limekiln - the last surviving kiln of its type in the district.

On behalf of South Lakeland District Council, Lancaster based archaeology contractors, Oxford Archaeology North (OA North), is leading the dig throughout the week, with support from leaders of the Kendal and North Yorkshire Dales Archaeologists Club (YAC).

Young archaeologists aged between 8 and 16 are taking part in the dig, relishing the opportunity to experience ‘live’ excavation conditions, learn excavation skills and how to correctly record the position of finds and features.

The site, which was designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 2004, encompasses approximately 12 metres square on top of the limekiln and the excavation, which is being done by hand, is being undertaken to a maximum depth of 0.75m.

The public will be given the opportunity to see what has been uncovered at a special open day on Saturday (August 16).

The open day will run between 10am and 3pm, allowing visitors to inspect finds and learn about the history of the site and two OA North staff will also be available to explain the dig in further detail and answer any questions.

The top of the structure will be opened up to allow for views over Kendal town and provide explanations as to how the kiln worked and why both the kiln and the Fellside Quarry were so important to the town’s development in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Graham Darlington, Conservation officer at SLDC said: "The partial excavation and recording of the kiln is an important phase of activity before the main phase of physical consolidation works begin in a few months time.

"We are delighted that local young archaeologists are having the chance to investigate the top kiln and experience what it’s like to take part in the archaeological excavation of a scheduled ancient monument.

"This is a particularly good example of the council’s commitment to funding projects that make the historic environment accessible and understandable to its communities."

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded SLDC a grant of £132, 000 towards the cost of conserving and enhancing Greenside Kiln, which will cover the cost of conservation repairs, improve physical access to the site and develop ways of using the Limekiln as an educational resource.

Partners in the project include Kendal Museum and Kendal Civic Society who will provide new-guided leaflets and public talks when the limekiln has been fully restored.

No excavation will take place during the open day and safe public areas and walkways will be clear.

There will be no public car parking at the site or generally within the Greenside area and access is by foot only.

Visitors are warned to be prepared for inclement weather and wear suitable footwear.