Volunteers backed by archaeology experts from the University of Bradford want to reveal more about the past of the Aire Valley.

The Friends of Northcliffe group is hoping people will support its bid for a heritage survey following work uncovering the area’s coal mining and brick-making history.

The University’s Archaeological Sciences department is supporting the initiative and divisional field officer John McIlwaine, from the department, will speak about it during a meeting to gauge the level of public interest.

The survey idea has developed from history walks through Northcliffe led by Tony Woods last year.

He has been working with coal mining and brick-making enthusiast Derek Barker, studying both industries in Shipley and Heaton during the 19th century.

The initial results of their work have been published in the Bradford Historical and Antiquarian Society Journal.

Mr Woods said: “A couple of us have been looking recently at coal mining and fire clay extraction in the Northcliffe and Heaton areas, because in the 19th century those quiet woodlands were not so quiet. In both woodlands there was coal extraction going back to the end of the 18th century and possibly even further back.”

Mr Woods said the group hoped to fill in gaps about the area’s history and find out more about the Second World War, when Northcliffe Park was used for growing crops. If the group can attract funding, Mr Woods said the University would likely help by ‘loaning out’ an archaeologist.

“At the moment, it’s very open to people becoming involved and it would be nice to reach across the community and local area,” Mr Woods said.

The open morning will be held on Saturday, from 9.30am until 12.30pm, in the meeting room at Northcliffe Church, Hall Royd, Shipley.

Anyone interested in the survey, but unable to attend the meeting can contact John Bromley at john.ncl@ hotmail.co.uk or Joan Newman at joanandmartin@tiscali.co.uk.