Beeston Castle and Woodland Park

The Roundhouse at Beeston Castle

People have lived and worked at Beeston for 4,000 years. However, today all that remains of the site’s prehistoric origins are the Iron Age earthworks, later adapted by medieval castle builders.

We have now brought Beeston’s prehistoric past to life with our new roundhouse - reconnecting with the people who once lived here during the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

The project offers an immersive learning experience for school groups, providing hands-on activities in an authentic environment. 

Three bronze-age socketed axeheads

Reconnecting with the bronze age

Beeston has been significant to local people throughout its history. The earliest evidence for human activity at the site includes flint tools dating to the Neolithic period (3500–2000 BC). Later in the Bronze Age and Iron Age, Beeston seems to have become a centre for metalworking and trading across the North West of England.

But look around the site today, and little visible evidence remains of the early hive of activity. Our new roundhouse allows visitors to explore that early period of history, revealing how people may have lived and worked up to 3,000 years ago.

A prehistoric roundhouse at Stonehenge
Prehistoric roundhouses under construction at Stonehenge.

What is a roundhouse?

Our Bronze Age ancestors lived and worked in circular dwellings known as roundhouses. These houses consisted of walls made of wooden or stone posts - filled in with wattle-and-daub (a mixture of twigs, earth and clay), and a thatched roof. 

Archaeologists excavating at Beeston Castle in the 1970s and 1980s found post-holes dug into the bedrock - the foundations for these prehistoric huts. They also discovered Bronze Age objects such as axes and knives. Based on this archaeological evidence, we have reconstructed a prehistoric roundhouse at the site, using traditional materials and techniques.

Learn about prehistory

Immersive education

The new roundhouse provides an opportunity for visitors to see aspects of life in the Bronze Age first-hand. 

The inside of the roundhouse has been dressed appropriately for the era with various implements such as arrowheads, stone axes, pots of varying sizes and faux animal hides – encouraging visitors to get hands-on and immerse themselves in all things Bronze Age and helping us to tell the story of this remarkable site.

The roundhouse also supports educational visits, giving children the chance to learn about prehistory in a realistic environment. Schools can take part in craft activities inside the roundhouse, experiencing prehistoric life and expanding their learning outside the classroom.

School Visits