A group of volunteers and historical society members got their hands dirty uncovering a piece of history that had been reclaimed by nature.

On Saturday, October 19, members of the Waltham Abbey Historical society were joined by volunteers to clear grass and bushes covering the outline of the Waltham Abbey cloisters and the Norman church.

The outlines, marked out in the 1960s, were buried under thick layer of earth and grass.

The cloisters were enclosed green spaces where priests would handle day-to-day tasks, reading, writing and teaching.

Epping Forest Guardian:

An aerial view of the markings. Photo by: U3A Photo group

The Norman church, built shortly after Norman conquest in 1066, is one of four churches on the site.

The group of 13 volunteers were under the supervision of Lea Valley Regional Park Authority officers, as the work had to be approved by English Heritage.

Epping Forest Guardian:

Volunteers worked under supervision of the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority. U3A Photo group

Chris Sumner, chair of the Waltham Abbey Historical Society, said: “We revealed a small bit of history which had been covered up.”

“The cloisters were where the canons worked and studied, they did not spend all day just praying!”

“Everybody enjoyed it and we were quite pleased with the work well done, now if we ever take visitors to the site we can take pride in pointing and saying ‘look I did that.’

“The undergrowth had become quite matted and turfed over the markings.

“It was quite an experience for people to work and do something worthwhile.”

Epping Forest Guardian:

Volunteers are set to return to the markings, as a small amount of overgrowth remains on the site. Photo by: U3A Photo group