Protecting Worlebury Hillfort
Clearance work at the eastern end of Worlebury Hillfort has involved removing large amounts of vegetation from the site to reveal the important archaeology in the form of the ramparts.
The Iron Age hillfort situated on Worlebury Hill overlooking Weston-super-Mare is owned by North Somerset Council who have carried out the work with the help of contractors Glendale and the Worlebury Hillfort Group.
The volunteers in the group have been working hard to remove brambles and other vegetation causing damage to the stone-lined pits and other archaeology in the ‘Glade’.
Unfortunately, due to these important areas of archaeology being revealed, the hillfort has seen further damage in the form of ‘play forts’ or ‘shelters’ being created by people visiting the site.
Worlebury Hillfort is a Scheduled Monument due to it being an ‘outstanding example of its class’, meaning it has the highest heritage protection.
Creating these structures is a criminal offence under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Act 1979 and, in accordance with this, the council has to apply for Scheduled Monument Consent to dismantle these shelters and the cairn that was constructed in the autumn of 2016. Without this special permission no works can be undertaken.
Temporary signage has been placed around the hillfort to remind visitors that any damage to the monument is prohibited.
“While it is great to see people interacting with and enjoying the hillfort, some people go too far unaware that their actions can destroy the archaeology which prevents enjoyment in the future,” said Cllr Peter Bryant, the council’s executive member responsible for parks and green spaces. “It also impacts on our ability to study and understand this amazing 2,000-year-old hillfort, the pre-cursor to settlement in Weston.
“It’s incredibly important that we preserve this monument for ourselves and future generations, and to help us learn about Iron Age society and communities. We should cherish and enjoy our local heritage and council staff are working in partnership with local groups to ensure the site is safe and looked after.”
If you see anyone causing damage please contact the police by calling 999 if the crime is in progress, or 101 if a suspect is no longer at the scene. You can also email DM.Archaeology@n-somerset.gov.uk.