CREWE and Nantwich Metal Detecting Society (CNMDS) led searches that have discovered a treasure trove of medieval artefacts on Cheshire Wildlife Trust land.

The society found a bronze age ‘Palstave’ axe, thought to date from the early-middle Bronze Age of 1500-1400 BC, at Bickley Hall Farm, south of Nantwich.

Another dig at Gowy Meadows in Ellesmere Port unearthed an array of medieval coins and artefacts, some stretching back almost 800 years to the 13th century.

Medieval sword hangers, a Middle Eastern ‘silver snake’, clothing buckles, musket balls and dozens of coins were among finds located by around 150 enthusiasts across the two sites.

Neil Bradley, from CNMDS said: “The events with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust have been very well-attended by our members, and at Gowy Meadows the James VI of Scotland 1/8 Thistle-Merk coin and medieval book clasp were certainly impressive finds.

“The Palstave axe located at Bickley Hall Farm would have been critical to the livelihood of its Bronze Age owner, and perhaps in many ways would have been as crucial as a modern-day man losing his car or mobile phone.”

Cheshire Wildlife Trust hopes to have raised around £1,000 by asking metal detectors to make a donation to the charity.

Jacki Hulse, the trust’s head of estates and land management, said: “This has been a fascinating venture for the trust. Many of our reserves and indeed our fields at Bickley Hall Farm have seen little in the way of heavy disturbance by man for many years, and it’s remarkable to think that we’re regularly walking just centimetres away from such a rich array of history.

“The fundraising from these events has been an added bonus for us as we hope those making the discoveries have enjoyed investigating our reserves in a new way.”