Burgh Castle Almanac

Burgh Castle Almanac is a collaborative Archaeology, creative and wellbeing project based at Burgh Castle Roman Fort and The Time and Tide Museum in partnership with Norfolk Archaeological Trust, The Restoration Trust and Access Community Trust which took place between 2018 and 2021. The project helped people accessing mental health services in Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and the Waveney area connect with heritage and art and has been referred to as ‘culture therapy’. The project wanted to help people make use of the heritage sites and landscapes in the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads National Park in a safe and supportive environment.

“The Burgh Castle Almanac has had a profound impact on the people involved; it has changed people’s lives for the better.”

Laura Drysdale – Restoration Trust

Through site visits, workshops and other activities, the project gave participants the opportunity to develop a range of creative skills, and to develop a better understanding of local heritage and wildlife.  Each month, the group would meet to walk around the Roman fort making a photographic record of the changing seasons. Between castle visits the group met at The Time and Tide Museum. In total, the group met 71 times, produced two exhibitions and an Almanac recording the experience designed by Robert Fairclough.

The project developed a website and a private Facebook group for members. Using these it was able to publish blogs and information about planned sessions.

“The participants have taken ownership of the project and… have developed their own lines of enquiry.”

Caroline Davison – Norfolk Archaeological Society

Members of the project were invited to the House of Lords and contributed to a heritage evidence session of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Art, Health and Wellbeing. Support staff and members also spoke at a number of events associated with mental health and wellbeing. BBC Voices produced a film and audio work with the group, and members were interviewed for a number of radio shows. With the support of the Norfolk Arts Fund, examples of the project’s work were displayed at the ‘Return of Happy Times’ exhibition in the Time and Tide Museum in March 2019, which was seen by over 2300 people. Watch ‘The return of happy times’ below.

The work of the project was compiled into the finished Almanac book and was published in hard copy in early 2022. The project has been an extremely significant success and the Almanac also featured as an example project in the Heritage Alliance report, 2020, ‘Heritage, Health and Wellbeing.

In 2021, a new community group was formed by the project’s members, the Burgh Castle Almanac Experience. the legacy project was established to continue the work of the project in health and wellbeing through landscape engagement once Water, Mills and Marshes had ended and that continued to meet until December 2022.

With special thanks to

Access - your community trustNAT logoRestoration Trust - culture therapy for people with mental health conditions