Plea issued to Weston Woods visitors not to cause criminal damage to ancient fort
PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:40 13 March 2018
Weston-super-Mare's ancient monument has suffered from more damage, which could hamper archeologists' ability to learn more about the settlement.
The Iron Age hill fort, in Weston Woods, is listed by Historic England as being ‘at risk’ as it has been vandalised on a number of occasions.
The Worlebury Hill Fort Group has been working hard to remove brambles and vegetation causing damage to the stone-lined pits and archaeology in an area known as the glade.
But since those important structures have been revealed, in some cases for the first time since 1824, the hill fort has been subject to further vandalism.
Recent visitors have damaged it by creating shelters or play forts by moving the structure around.
North Somerset Council is responsible for the fort’s maintenance, and has been working with the volunteers and contractors Glendale to ensure it is preserved.
Cllr Peter Bryant, the council’s executive member responsible for parks and green spaces, said: “While it is great to see people interacting with and enjoying the hill fort, some people go too far unaware their actions can destroy the archaeology which prevents enjoyment in the future.
“It also impacts on our ability to study and understand this amazing 2,000-year-old hill fort, the precursor to settlement in Weston.
“It’s incredibly important we preserve this monument for ourselves and future generations, and to help us learn about Iron Age society and communities.
“We should cherish and enjoy our local heritage and council staff are working in partnership with local groups to ensure the site is safe and looked after.”
The monument is regarded as an ‘outstanding example of its class’ and has the highest heritage protection available.
Moving pieces of the structure around is a criminal offence, and the council has to apply for scheduled monument consent to dismantle the structures, and a cairn, which was built in the autumn of 2016. Temporary signs have been placed around the fort to remind visitors.
If you see anyone causing damage, contact the police on 999 if a crime is in progress, or 101 if a suspect is no longer at the scene. You can also email DM.Archaeology@n-somerset.gov.uk