Maintenance of Scheduled Monuments

Beackon Barrow smallOne of the things we do each year is undertake a programme of maintenance of archaeological sites on the Commons. Although over 150 sites of historic value are noted in the Council's Historic Register, our main management focus is Woodbury Castle and the 21 burial mounds/cairns that occur on the heaths. These are all designated as Scheduled Monuments due to their great cultural significance. This winter we intend to undertake work to remove encoaching scrub from two burial mounds adjacent to the B3180 north of Woodbury Castle, and mid week we visited these to plan work.

The barrow approximately 500m north of the castle is perhaps the hardest to clear. Known as 'Beacon Barrow' it used to be a prominent landscape feature, but due to undergrowth it no longer stands out as it used to.  Our work will follow guidance from English Heritage and will involve careful mowing around the site and removal of all smaller trees. Because of the associated earthbank we need to be careful that our access with machinery doesn't damage this. Trees whose removal would disturb the site such as the larger pines, will be left. We have to be mindful of the impact our work will have on the landscape and will endeavour to protect the mound sympathetically. The existing scrub is highly visible and has become excepted as part of the landscape, although sadly, the archaeology that lies underneath is usually overlooked. Those travelling down the B3180 or heading west into Woodbury just north of the castle may detect a difference in the view, with fewer trees at this point once work is completed. However, the end result will be two archaeological sites whose integrity and visibility will be enhanced. 

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