Ditches which date back to Romano-British period found at hill fort

Worlebury Hillfort Group volunteers. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Worlebury Hillfort Group volunteers. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

New research has further highlighted the significance of an Iron Age hill fort.

Worlebury Hill Fort is designated as a scheduled monument in recognition of its national importance.

Historic England's archaeological survey and investigation team survey has shown two linear ditches, also referred to as valla, a Roman term for ditches.

The report states: "The date and purpose of the linear ditches to the east of the hill fort has been much debated, but the available evidence is limited.

"The two ditches are very similar and are therefore presumably of one date and purpose."

The ditches are also similar to the cross-ditch within the interior of the hill fort.

Excavations in the 1980s revealed evidence the westernmost ditch was back-filled in the late Romano-British period, with Iron Age pottery also recovered in the eastern ditch.

Most Read

The research has provided further insight into the hill fort and activity during the later prehistoric period around Worlebury Hill and Weston.

It also includes recommendations for further work to recover evidence for scientific dating and environmental analysis.

The hill fort is managed by North Somerset Council which, with help from volunteers from the Worlebury Hill Fort Group, Weston Civic Society and Weston Archaeological and Natural History Society, have been working to improve the hill fort.

Mark Bowden, senior investigator at Historic England, said: "The hill fort was declared a heritage at risk site because of concerns over its deteriorating condition through neglect and vandalism.

"This is despite the appearance of notices threatening large fines for damaging a scheduled monument.

"The more effective long-term solution to this problem must lie in removing the trees which are causing many of the problems, which would also open up the site, explaining and sharing the hill fort's significance and value, and nurturing respect for it."

Last year, the council adopted a management plan with the aim of uncovering the hill fort, helping to reveal its secrets lost for the past 200 years under extensive tree and vegetation growth.