Council rejected for grant to preserve Iron Age monument

Worlebury iron age hill fort.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has rejected a North Somerset Council bid to preserve Worlebury Camp's hillfort. - Credit: Archant

North Somerset Council has pledged to continue preserving an Iron Age hillfort in Weston despite being rejected for lottery funding to help with the project.

An application was lodged with the National Lottery Heritage Fund in August requesting a £250,000 grant to protect Worlebury Camp's 10 hectares of land.

The council was later told that the project did not match the fund's objectives as closely as others that were submitted, something its executive for neighbourhoods and community services described as a 'huge disappointment'. 

Worlebury iron age hill fort.

The site It has been designated a scheduled monument since 1915. - Credit: Archant

Cllr Mike Solomon said: "Not getting the lottery money is a huge disappointment to all those involved in the hillfort project, especially the volunteers of the Worlebury Hillfort Group and other local community groups.

"This will make it harder for us to protect and preserve this scheduled monument."

The area's trees, which were planted in the 1820s, have also come under the risk of Ash dieback, a tree disease which is estimated to wipe of 80 per cent of Ash trees in the UK.

Cllr Solomon added: "The hillfort still remains at risk so our plans have not changed, but this does mean that we must review our timetable and activities associated with the project.

"Since we started looking at this project ash dieback disease has spread across the country, including the whole of North Somerset, and is affecting many trees on the hillfort.

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"We therefore need to address this problem by removing the diseased trees and we are currently preparing a works programme to do this.

"We will also be revising our lottery application to have a second attempt next year."

Worlebury Hillfort Group volunteers. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Volunteers continue to maintain the site. Picture take pre-Covid. - Credit: Archant

The council's heritage and regeneration champion has backed Mr Solomon's calls for reapplying for the grant, stating that more needs to be done to protect the area's history.

Cllr John Crockford-Hawley told the Mercury: "Preserving archaeological sites such as Worlebury Camp hillfort is a difficult activity.

"We have been helped by the efforts of our determined volunteers, but we need additional funds to put measures in place to protect the archaeology, as well as making the site more accessible for visitors and linking it closer to the town.

"We are therefore determined to make another application to the lottery so we can ensure this valuable piece of our collective history can be preserved for future generations to explore and enjoy.”

For more information on the project, log on to www.n-somerset.gov.uk/hillfort

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