A TIME Team style exploration should be carried out on threatened farmland surrounding an ancient hall.

That's the belief of Tyldesley man Paul Shortle who 25 years ago bolstered a campaign to prevent earlier housing plans for Garrett Hall farmland.

"It's the last stretch of greenery between Tyldesley and Mosley Common and the ancient Garrett Hall - once a home of the Tyldesley family and related to Royalist Commander Sir Thomas Tyldesley who was very close to King Charles," said Mr Shortle, of Henfold Road.

"The adjacent corn mill and the water reservoir to power the wheel all suggest the site of an early agricultural conurbation.

"This is the heart of the historic town of Tyldesley, it is now time to defend it. An exploratory survey is likely to reveal historically significant finds.

"Garrett Hall is an old, stately home, reduced in size from the original but Grade 2 listed. It is said to have two priest holes and the area around is believed to be traversed by tunnels linked to neighbouring properties like Chaddock Hall. Who knows what else we might find."

Landowners Peel Holdings are proposing to build 600 homes on 28 hectares - approximately 70 acres - of grazing land which stretches from Tyldesley Cemetery to St John's Church at Mosley Common where an exhibition of the proposals has gone on view.

Garrett Hall is home to a prize-winning herd of Ayrshire cattle first introduced to the area in 1947 by the late John Patrick, expanded by his son Jim and now tended by his grandson, Ian.

Already farmland to the south of Garrett Lane has been earmarked for a business park and a pub/restaurant has been built on the site of Chaddock Lane Farm.