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Hillfort preservation project delay

5:00pm - 28 April 2020

Plans to uncover Worlebury Camp Iron Age hillfort in Weston-super-Mare for the first time in 200 years have been delayed by the coronavirus crisis.

The plans include removing vegetation and tree growth to prevent further damage to the Scheduled Monument which has been on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register since 2016.

North Somerset Council has applied to the Forestry Commission for a felling licence to remove around six hectares of woodland in the hillfort area and carry out thinning of the northern cliff by 30 per cent, returning the area to limestone grassland.

If this licence is approved the council will then apply to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a grant to carry out the necessary work.

However, both the Forestry Commission and the National Lottery have told the council that their usual timetables for processing these applications have changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It means the Forestry Commission might not be able to inform the council about the outcome of its licence application until July and the Lottery are not accepting any new applications until October.

With tree felling only being able to take place during the winter, this means the earliest start date will now be the winter of 2021/22, subject to the approval of the felling licence and lottery funding.

In the meantime the council will continue to work within government guidelines with volunteers and the local community to manage the hillfort.