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East Entrance Project, Winter 2021 / 2022.
 

What's happening on Sutton Walls?

 

You are now looking at the ancient eastern entrance to Sutton Walls Iron Age hillfort.

 

Imagine a scene here many hundreds of years ago: there could be ancient Britons building a wooden palisade wall for defence, Roman soldiers exploring new territory or even King Offa of Mercia receiving tribute from the local population.

 

Sutton Walls has a great and intriguing story and by clearing the trees and scrub, the history and archaeology can be appreciated by a new generation.

 

With this section of the ramparts being cleared, it will give opportunity to enhance the biodiversity on the site. Wildflower seeds that have lain dormant for years, shaded out by the trees and scrub, will be able to grow once more and provide a new habitat for countless pollinators and birds.

 

We do understand that it looks rather shocking at the moment but, given time, the work at the eastern entrance will enhance the Walls as a resource for walkers, historians, wildlife and our local communities and is part of our long-term Conservation Management Plan.

 

We have installed a fence to exclude any burrowing animals (which may damage the ramparts) and to protect the ground while new growth takes hold.

 

Sutton Walls Conservation Group are grateful to Historic England for providing funding and advice for this Ancient Scheduled Monument.

The Press Release that follows provides background information to this project.

Press Release August 2021

 

Big plans ahead for Sutton Walls.

 

Towards the end of 2021, walkers, wanderers and wildlife-watchers will hopefully start to notice some significant work taking place at the east end of the Walls' Iron Age ramparts.

 

Having taken over management of the site in 2019, the Sutton Walls Conservation Group (SWCG), in partnership with Historic England, have been working away in the background to ensure the site's history, archaeology and ecology are in good hands for the present and the future.

 

In order to protect the archaeology at the eastern entrance, it is planned that work will start later this year, depending on funding, to clear the scrub and some of the trees, exposing the ramparts as they would have been for most of their existence; it's only relatively recently in the Walls’ 2000 year history that tree growth has taken over.

 

Professional ecologists compiled a report at the start of 2021 which documented the numbers and distribution of key mammal species – with this information we will be able to plan a safe way to reaccomodate the burrowing animals outside the entrance zone. Fencing will be erected to gradually exclude these animals, in accordance with all wildlife protection legislation and we know there is plenty of space across the rest of the site for them to resettle. Without the burrowers, the ramparts will be better protected from an archaeological point of view and a different grass and wildflower habitat will be created for the benefit of many birds, butterflies and other invertebrates. Everyone's a winner!

 

The SWCG has applied to the Landfill Communities Fund for a grant to carry out this work and to Natural England and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for the permissions required.

 

Using low impact equipment, clearance, felling and fencing will be undertaken by contractors with proven experience of working within sites of special scientific interest (SSIs and special wildlife sites (SWSs).

 

Throughout the work schedule, oversight of the project will be managed by professional ecologists; archaeologist will view the work area after ground clearance; inspect any excavation relating to fencing and be on site during that work to record anything that is excavated. During infilling they will need to inspect the spoil for any items of significance.

Our aim is to enhance the ecological value of the Walls whilst revealing some of the intriguing history linked to this Scheduled Ancient Monument. A history that involves its Iron Age origins and through Roman times, the story of King Offa and the death of King Ethelbert all the way to gravel extraction and being used as a landfill site in the twentieth century.

 

You can keep up to date with developments and explore stories and reports on Sutton Walls at: www.suttonwalls.co.uk

 

The group will be holding their AGM by zoom at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 14th September when they will be happy to answer any questions about this project.

Please email suttonwallscg@gmail.com if you wish to receive a link.

 

In the event the bid is successful the group will also hold an open event in October with more details.

Restoration Area.

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Google Earth

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Google Earth

Approximate area of renovation work.

Footpaths.

Historical Images of the East Entrance.

East Entrance. Alfred Watkins, 1917 courtesy of Herefordshire history

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Royal Commission 1931

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August 2021 from approximately the same position as the 1931 Royal Commission photograph.

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East Entrance. Alfred Watkins, 1917 courtesy of Herefordshire history

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Images taken during the restoration work.

Panorama from footpath in south eastern corner

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Looking across the east entrance to the north rampart.

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Boundary fence at the top of the east entrance.

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Panorama from footpath in south eastern corner

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