North Somerset Council has successfully bid for a grant of £10,000 to kickstart a project to preserve the Iron Age hillfort situated on Worlebury Hill overlooking Weston-super-Mare.
The hillfort is designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument in recognition of its national importance. It is an outstanding example of a coastal headland hillfort, an unusual location for hillforts of this scale, and commands views across the Bristol Channel, Brean Down, Sand Point and Weston Bay.
It is one of around only 50 large hillforts with multiple ramparts in England and provides a detailed insight into Iron Age society in this area. Significant features include 93 known stone pits, stone ramparts and ditches.
However, damage caused by trees planted in the 1820s and more recently vandalism has led to it being placed on Heritage England’s at risk register.
The HLF grant will be used to commission an archaeological condition survey of the hillfort. An independent, technical expert will be appointed to identify the threats to the monument and recommend solutions to protect it in the long term.
The consultant’s report will enable the council to develop and implement a suitable management plan for the site. As well as ensuring the hillfort is better managed in the future, this plan will also aim to raise awareness of the monument ensuring its value and importance are more widely known.
Volunteers, known as the Worlebury Hillfort Group, have been working tirelessly over the last 18 months to help remove scrub and vegetation from the site.
“I would like to thank the group for all their hard work,” said Cllr Peter Bryant, the council’s executive member responsible for parks and green spaces. “We are keen to build on this community involvement and, working with local interest groups, volunteers and local schools, aim to improve understanding and enjoyment of the hillfort by developing better access, signage and interpretation.
“As the owners of a Scheduled Ancient Monument we have a statutory duty to protect it from harm and preserve it for future generations to enjoy, We want to take the site off the at risk register by implementing a long term plan that will involve the local community in managing the site and safeguarding the future of this outstanding monument.”