Council disputes ‘shameful’ hill fort stewardship claims

William Fraher and John Martel from Worlebury Hill Fort Group with some of the iron age stone work t

William Fraher and John Martel from Worlebury Hill Fort Group with some of the iron age stone work that has been disturbed. - Credit: Archant

Volunteers who look after an ancient hill fort in Weston want to reclaim its ownership and ‘change the town’s cultural perception’.

Weston Archaeological and Natural History Society has labelled North Somerset Council’s management of Worlebury Hill Fort as ‘shameful’.

The society will hold an extraordinary meeting on November 13 at 7pm at Victoria Methodist Church, in Station Road, to discuss the authority’s stewardship of the site.

North Somerset Council is ‘disappointed’ with the society’s views and wants to maintain running the site.

MORE: Public consultation over Hill Fort.

The Iron Age hill fort, in Weston Woods, is deemed to be of archaeological and historic importance, but vandalism and neglect has meant it is regarded by Historic England as ‘at risk’.

A society spokesman said: “There are no direction signs to the fort in Weston, the only signs on the monument are hole punched A4 sheets of paper on trees or legacy posts using string or cable ties, which is unacceptable as if the site is run correctly, it will change the cultural perception of Weston and people will see the town in a different light.

“There are also no information boards and the council’s policy of cutting and leaving timber is the opposite required.

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“We have, therefore, reluctantly come to the conclusion we must unambiguously state the council’s stewardship of Worlebury Hill Fort is shameful and fails its statutory duty towards this internationally-important monument.”

MORE: Hill Fort set for Historic England visit.

A council spokesman said: “We were both surprised and disappointed by the tone and content of the society’s letter.

“We hope it will recognise its letter is not a fair reflection of what has happened, nor does it take into consideration the commitment we all share for the site’s future management.

“We have undertaken some significant work around protecting and maintaining it, including supporting the excellent volunteers by providing them with the necessary tools and training.

“We are incredibly grateful to the society and other organisations in the town for their continued support of the project to safeguard the hill fort’s future and we look forward to a fruitful collaboration as we move the project forward.”