RESIDENTS will have the chance to hear more about a project to excavate part of Skipton’s First World War Prisoner of War camp during a special event next week.

The In Search of Raikeswood Camp project – financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund – will see young archaeologists from schools across Craven spend a week in August surveying and excavating part of the former Raikeswood camp site, which was set up as a training camp for the Bradford Pals in 1915 and later used as a POW camp for captured German officers.

The project will be led by Upper Wharfedale School at Threshfield and will involve local schools, Skipton Library, the Craven and the First World War Project, the University of Leeds, archaeologists and historians.

Project director, John Mitton, said: “The school is delighted to have been successful in obtaining a substantial Heritage Lottery Fund award.

"Competition for funding is very fierce but I believe the exciting aims of the project clearly made it a winner."

The project began a few weeks ago with a visit to the site at the top of Raikeswood Drive and the students will work alongside archaeologists during the summer holidays to excavate certain areas.

Participants will also visit the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester to understand more about the First World War.

The project will keep people up-to-date with its progress via a dedicated website and the findings will be displayed in a travelling exhibition, which will eventually be situated in Skipton Library

A launch event will be held at Skipton Town Hall on Tuesday, from 7pm to 8.30pm. Visitors will be able to find out how they can get involved in the dig and there will be an update on a separate project to translate a diary kept by German prisoners interned at the camp.

The translation is being undertaken by staff and students at the University of Leeds and is helping to shed light on the exact location of the camp, as well as giving an idea of what life was like for the prisoners there.

Craven and the First World War project officer, Rob Freeman, said: “The camp is rarely mentioned in the histories of the town (and then only briefly), and these two projects to excavate part of the site and translate the PoW diary will allow residents and local historians to learn from the experiences of the soldiers in the camp, reshaping accounts of Skipton and its past.”

The launch is free to attend. Contact Rob Freeman via for more details.