Hidden trenches uncovered

A map showing the location of the Watson Road trenches,
A map showing the location of the Watson Road trenches,
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First World War training trenches are set to be unearthed in a Blackpool park.

The trenches, which are under Watson Road Park in South Shore, will be partly excavated and on view for the first time this summer since being filled in almost 90 years ago.

Blackpool Council will team up with the Friends of Watson Road Park, The University of Salford and Lancashire County Council to hold ‘The Big Dig’ in July.

And volunteers are being sought to help uncover the secrets of the old trenches, which were filled in after the war ended.

For a fortnight between Monday July 7 and Sunday July 19, the park will be dug up.

Despite no land warfare taking place in Blackpool during the First World War, the trenches were created to help train up the large numbers of volunteers who signed up after the outbreak of the war.

Coun Christine Wright, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for culture and heritage, said: “It’s amazing to think that for years people have been enjoying Watson Road Park without knowing the heritage that lay underneath them.

“It’s around 90 years since anybody saw these trenches, so we’re really excited to excavate them and take a look around at what the area would have looked like then. The Big Dig ties in perfectly with the 100th anniversary of World War One and I really hope that as many people as possible get involved.”

People interested in taking part must register their interest before the July 1 and attend one of the training sessions on Friday July 4 or Saturday July 5.

Due to the site being an active excavation site, volunteers must be aged 12 or over, with anyone under 18 needing to be accompanied by an adult aged 21 or over.

To register your interest for the dig, ask at Customer First on Corporation Street for a form, or visit www.blackpool.gov.uk/communityarchaeology