EXARC Members Archaeological (Open-Air) Museums

Park in The Past Community Interest Company (UK)

Member of EXARC since

Park in The Past is an ambitious plan to restore an old sand and gravel quarry near Hope, in Flintshire to create a unique ancient environment based on the 1st Century AD - at the very moment when the Roman Legions arrived, bringing with them new technologies and a new culture - changes that some call the beginnings of our Nation State.

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We want your support to help us bring back the ancient flora and fauna, remove or control invasive species, and create an amazing recreational area that will literally allow you to walk through the landscape of your ancestors, to experience biodiversity not seen in this country for well over a century. The smell and texture of such a landscape will be a marvel in itself, and serve as a timely reminder of the environmental price of industrialisation and intensive farming.

We seek to work with University-based experts to build a fully functional Roman fort and an Iron Age farmstead set within the original environment, which uniquely will be sustainably managed to allow us to supply, maintain and operate these facilities using locally produced materials and produce. We will grow crops and raise livestock, plant woodland and coppice to provide timber and charcoal for use over the coming years and decades. In creating this legacy of materials for the future management of the Park in The Past, together we will begin to open a window on the lives of our ancestors who thought in these timescales and worked to a seasonal rhythm, culture, belief, life and death.

We believe that this unique project has huge appeal to historical enthusiasts, nature lovers, students, researchers, and people who are just looking for something different - truly all-encompassing vision that, at its heart seeks to provide full engagement for all, to encourage involvement and ownership from its participants.

This is a lifelong project, which will improve year on year as trees mature, and the local wildlife population benefits from our ecological restoration programme – a legacy that will continue to develop to be handed on to the next generation.

We believe that Park in The Past will become a signature project just for this local community, this county of Flintshire, or even the whole of Wales: We believe we can create a World Class centre for tourism, education and research that will attract a worldwide audience for the truly amazing depth of culture and history of Flintshire over the last 2,000 years. A landscape ‘time machine’ which will spring board economic development, create Jobs and opportunities for this region through national and international tourism brought from the international focus such a project is destined to achieve.



Big Fort Build from Planet X Media on Vimeo.

The organisation behind this vision, Park in The Past Community Interest Company has been created so that any profits will be ploughed straight back into the project.

The project team's ultimate mission is to create a living heritage environment where people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can 'step back in time' to experience long lost ancient worlds, inspiring a life-long passion for the past. Led by project champion Paul Harston, the project's dedicated volunteers and generous friends have already raised thousands of pounds to make Park in the Past a reality. The team’s recent crowd funding project was a resounding success with over 7,000 people visiting the campaign page and raising nearly £23,000 to build an impressive 20 foot high Roman gate tower and formidable fort defences in August 2018.

Paul says 'Many people are passionate about their past. It makes us who we are. But nothing quite like this heritage project exists in Britain and we need everyone's support to our 'Big Fort Build' when we continue building a full scale timber Roman Fort in June 2019. Sunday Times best-selling author Ben Kane, and a host of other literary celebrities have demonstrated tremendous support and generosity for Park in the Past project. Ben Kane enthused: 'This is a truly landmark event - the team are creating a complete ancient landscape - where you'll get real 'hands on' experience of the past...fantastic!'

The team's solid reputation for heritage education is offering spin offs in other fruitful directions as well. The Park in the Past directors and supporters are intent on making Park in the Past a centre of excellence for Education and Research in the future.


Annual Number of Visitors

53.11914, -3.04642