Page 6 - Illustrated Reditch History
P. 6

Woolly Mammoths In Worcestershire

         When our world was first created it was very different to today. The ground bubbled
         and steamed and rose up and down. Volcanoes burst into the air and great rivers
         and seas rushed across the land. There were no plants, no animals and no people.
         It took millions of years to become the land that we see today.
         Our story begins fourteen thousand years ago, when the world was coming to the
         end of a final ice age. Great rivers from the melting ice had shaped the landscape,
         creating today’s hills and valleys. Across (what is now) East Worcestershire, was a
         long, low hill or ridge. This still exists, part of it runs from Evesham through Astwood
         Bank where it’s now known as The Ridgeway. Then it goes to Crabbs Cross and down
         the Evesham Road. It you find a gap between the houses on The Ridgeway or the
         Evesham Road you will notice that you can see for miles across the county.
         Small shrubby trees grew on the slopes of the Ridgeway. These were dangerous
         places. Woolly mammoths were lurking here, so were other large wild animals such
         as brown bears, reindeers, oxen and bisons.
         Although it was cold and dry, it was warm enough for the first humans to arrive.
         Along the top of the ridgeway was a pathway. Early man and his family would have
         walked along its tracks, above the dangers of the forest. They were hunter-gatherers,
         travelling  around,  living  in  temporary  camps,  eating  what  they  could  find  and
         following  the  best  food  source.  They  ignored  the  dangers  and  hunted  the  larger
         animals with long spears made from the branches of trees, at the tip they tied a
         shaped piece of flint.
         If you walk along The Ridgeway you are following in the steps of early man.

         When The Ridgeway reaches Headless Cross, it turns sharp left towards Bromsgrove.
         If you leave The Ridgeway and walk straight on, you will find yourself going downhill.
         At the bottom of the hill the land was wet and boggy. Only an occasional fisherman
         would steer his boat through the reeds. No-one lived there, it
         was too wet either to grow food or to keep animals. It was
         a forgotten, desolate piece of ground known as Osmerley,
         meaning ‘a wet meadow’.  No-one wanted it.
         This is where Redditch began.

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