Restoration work to take place at Woodbury Castle
PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 September 2017
Restoration work on a 2,500-year-old Iron Age hill fort near Exmouth is about to begin.
Woodbury Castle was previously put on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register, mainly because of erosion caused by visitors, but also due to damage from tree roots and scrub growth.
Last year, the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, which manages the site for landowner Clinton Devon Estates, secured funding from Natural England’s Countryside Stewardship scheme for extensive restoration work that will directly contribute to conserving and protecting the site, resulting in its eventual removal from the register.
The project has also received additional funds from Historic England, and Devon County Council’s historic environment team and the Devon Archaeological Society have also been involved with design work.
Public support is said to be crucial to the long-term success of the project.
Volunteers are being sought to help with some of the work, and the trust plans a volunteer archaeological monitoring scheme to give people the opportunity to be involved in ongoing preservation work.
The trust also plans to host guided walks.
Site manager Kim Strawbridge said: “Woodbury Castle is a fantastic site that is special to a lot of people. We need to take people along with us on this project so that people value its archaeological significance as well as the personal value they have for the place.”
The work will include improved access, with new steps, and repairs to deep erosion scars on banks and ditches.
The repaired banks will be seeded and selective tree and scrub removal will let in more light, allowing ground vegetation to be established, and the removal and crown reduction of selected trees and scrub on the site and nearby will open up views.
New information panels, with illustrations of the original hill fort and its inhabitants by artist Jane Read, will also be installed, in addition to new signage and car park improvements.
Temporary barriers will be in place for two to three years and the vegetation re-establishes, during which time signs will ask people to avoid walking on the areas undergoing restoration.