Antisocial behaviour means ancient Iron Age Worlebury hill fort is now 'at risk'
PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 January 2017
An ‘outstanding’ ancient monument in Weston-super-Mare has been placed ‘at risk’ by Historic England after falling victim to antisocial behaviour.
The Iron Age Worlebury hill fort, in Weston Woods, is thought to have been created some 700 years before the Romans arrived in Britain as a form of defence.
Historic England says it is an ‘outstanding example’ of its type and is also unusual, as few of these forts were created along the coast.
It has previously been listed by Historic England as being in a ‘vulnerable’ condition, but it has now been re-registered as ‘at risk’ after people camped nearby and moved parts of the structure.
A Historic England spokesman said: “Historic England made a recent visit to the hill fort in response to concerns from volunteers working on the site.
“A combination of factors, including some antisocial behaviour, led to the raising of the risk status of the site to ‘at risk’.
“However, there is every reason to be positive; proposed improvements were discussed on-site with North Somerset Council officers, including targeted scrub and litter clearance and improvements in access and interpretation to reduce the current perceived separation of the monument from the town.
“The monument will stay on the Heritage At Risk register until the issues are addressed, or a plan is securely in place to address them.”
William Fraher, one of the volunteers with the Worlebury Hill Fort Group, which helps to preserve the site, told the Mercury it has been neglected for many years.
He said there is not a sign close enough to the monument to show it is of archaeological importance, or to remind people not to disturb it or camp nearby. If anything is moved, it means archaeologists lose evidence showing how it was constructed and used.
Mr Fraher said the council should remove the trees close by, as the roots are now destroying the ancient fort.
The Mercury contacted the council for a comment but did not receive one by the time of going to press.