Heath and Reach field queries on land

Heath and Reach. Photo by Graham Mountford
Heath and Reach. Photo by Graham Mountford

Heath and Reach residents have until the end of August to find a lost field, as part of a nationwide campaign.

The campaign, #FieldFinders, aims to protect football pitches, tennis courts, playgrounds and other recreational green spaces with better legal protection.

The lost playing fields were originally protected as public green spaces by Andrew Carnegie’s charitable trust 90 years ago.

The sites are lost because the exact location was not centrally recorded, it is unknown if the sites even still exist.

Douglas White, head of Advocacy at Carnegie UK Trust, said: “When these grants were made it was a significant sum of money for outdoor recreational spaces across the UK.

A requirement of the grant was that the playing fields should remain public areas for the benefit of the community in perpetuity.

“We want to find as many of these fields as possible and ensure that they remain legally protected for the local community.”

The Heath and Reach field was awarded a £30 grant in March 1933.

Francesca Sheppard, clerk of Heath and Reach Parish council, said: “Heath and Reach is very lucky and has about three playing fields at Bryant’s Lane and Thrift Road.

“I would be interested in any more information on any ‘lost ones’.”

A team are in place to cross reference submissions with any surviving documentation and begin the process of improving legal protection and keeping a site safe for future generations.

#FieldFinders will have until August 31, to report back via a dedicated web portal, www.fieldintrust.org/Carnegie.aspx about their playing field.

Each confirmed location where legal protection can be added will then be given the chance to win one of two £5000 prizes to make improvements to facilities such as children’s play areas.

Kathryn Cook, partnership and communications manager of Fields in Trust, said: “Many playing fields in built up areas offer the only green space and safe playing area for children and families.

“They are places to relax, play sports or hold community events.

“Ensuring they are around for future generations is an utmost priority.

“We need the public to share as much information as possible about the spaces they believe to be Carnegie Playing Fields.

“This is a very important but labour intensive job and we really need the support of local communities to help us protect these valuable assets for the long term.”

For more information, visit: www.fieldsintrust.org/Carnegie_Fields.aspx