Damage to Woodbury Castle

man2During a site meeting with English Heritage and Natural England on the 8th May to discuss the on-going management of Woodbury Castle it was observed that at least one 4 x 4 vehicle had managed to gain access to the interior of the castle, and had attempted to drive over the ramparts causing considerable damage. Motorvehicles, other than those used by staff of the Conservation Trust and the Royal Marines are not allowed on the Common (Under CRoW Act 2000), with barriers in place in all entrances to prevent access. Vehicular use by the Royal Marines is only allowed on a limited number of tracks (and certainly not on the castle). Woodbury Castle is a Scheduled Monument of great archaeological significance and it was sad to see the illegal damage. The Conservation Trust itself does occasionally gains access by vehicle to the site to undertake management work (e.g. repair of root plate damage which poses a health and safety risk to the public), but only at times of the year and in a manner that is not detrimental to the site.

Woodbury Castle faces a number of management challenges. A few years ago considerable work was done to remove scrub vegetation (laurel) from the sides and interior of the monument, with work also done to address erosional issues on the ramparts from footfall and damage by trees/weather. The site itself is a much loved landscape feature being covered by beautiful beech trees, some of which are 200 years old. However, they are coming  to the end of their natural lifespan, and natural senescence and storms occasionally uproot and bring a tree down which can damage the underlying archaeology. A long term plan is in place to minimise the impact on the site of fallen trees as they naturally die. Access to the castle has been much improved through the clearance of scrub vegetation, but erosion of the ramparts is still a problem, with illegal mountain biking being one activity of concern. Over the coming months/years we will be seeking to improve interpretation of the site and conduct additional remedial work.  



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