A MUM-OF-TWO has won praise for her efforts to create an archaeological trail on Didcot’s Great Western Park estate.

Karen Waggott gathered a 1,200-name petition backing the trail after work on the 3,300-home estate began in 2011.

She received this year’s John Eldridge award from Didcot Town Council for her efforts on behalf of the community.

But the graphic designer is disappointed that while a number of information boards are going to be put up, her suggestion for a full trail has not been created.

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The 43-year-old added: “I wanted a trail linking up the sites of the key archaeological finds but the developers didn’t agree to this.”

Archaeologists uncovered a medieval horse burial, 10 Iron Age-era roundhouses and a Roman villa and the finds were analysed by Oxford Archaeology.

Last year developers Taylor Wimpey agreed that points of interest, including the Roman villa, should be highlighted with information boards.

South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee has welcomed the proposal but Mrs Waggott is still campaigning for more work to be done to publicise the finds. She added: “A 1,200-name petition, local schools, Didcot Town Council and Wantage MP Ed Vaizey have all supported this.

Herald Series:

  • Karen with her twin boys Luke, left, and Jamie at the Great Western Park estate

“As a result of this support, developers have offered to put up five information panels about the history on Great Western Park, but will build over all the sites where the historic finds were found, with the exception of the Roman villa, whose protection was ensured before the dig began. I’m delighted to be recognised by the town council in this way and it shows how much support there is in Didcot for a trail.

“I’m very disappointed that some of the key archaeological sites are being built on.

“My view is that Didcot should be allowed to retain its history and a proper trail would reflect that.

“There is still time for more to be done to create the trail.”

Labour town councillor Margaret Davies said: “Karen has worked very hard to create this permanent record of Didcot’s history and deserves this award.

“She has been very dedicated and worked on this project for a number of years.”

Mrs Waggott lives in Didcot with husband Craig and twin sons Jamie and Luke, aged seven, who attend Manor School, Didcot.


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