Volunteer group backs plans to clear woodland and rewild Worlebury Hill Fort

Cat Lodge, archaeologist for North Somerset Council, Michael Gorely Heritage School Historic England

Cat Lodge, archaeologist for North Somerset Council, Michael Gorely Heritage School Historic England, Alessandra Perrone Heritage at Risk Officer for Historic England, and William Fraher and John Martel from Worlebury Hill Fort Group. - Credit: Archant

Volunteers responsible for the upkeep of an Iron Age hill fort have welcomed plans to clear woodland at the site.

North Somerset Council applied to the Forestry Commission for a felling licence to clear almost nine hectares of woodland in Worlebury Hill Fort and carry out thinning of the northern cliff by 30 per cent, which is five per cent of the total 126 hectares of woodland area in Weston Woods.

The area will return to limestone grassland, with significant biodiversity and ecological benefits.

MORE: Woodland to be felled to uncover Iron Age hill fort after 200 years.

The plan, which forms part of the council's rewilding scheme, also seeks to prevent further damage to the scheduled monument by removing vegetation and tree growth.

A Historic England archaeological survey revealed the woodland was identified as the greatest threat to the long-term retention and future management of the hill fort.

Following clearance, the re-established landscape will be managed to maintain the site's pre-historic archaeology and limestone grassland remnants.

This will be completed by cutting the glade and ramparts at least annually, subject to available funding or resources.

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Worlebury Hill Fort Group supports the council's stance.

Its chairman, William Fraher, said: "The replacements will be better as far as natural history is concerned.

"There seems to be a lot of misinformation out there, and we are trying to educate people on the possibilities this area has - it is going to be a very special place."

Volunteers will help maintain the re-established landscape using clearing saws and spraying equipment.

The eastern edge of the ramparts will be planted with hazel 'to create a feathered edge and to improve wildlife value through species and structural diversity'.

Two mature beeches trees will be retained, as will vulnerable whitebeam.

The council must carry out a consultation with the public to satisfy the requirements of a tree-felling licence from the Forestry Commission.

People who want to comment on the felling proposals can email dm.archaeology@n-somerset.gov.uk or send written comments to Post Point 15, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ.