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  • Cutting at Clatworthy

    High on the hills above Clatworthy Reservoir sits Clatworthy Camp, an Iron Age hillfort. We have recently been working to reduce the tree coverage on the banks of the hillfort with the long term aim of returning them to grassland and help preserve them for the future.


    Scheduled history

    Now designated as a scheduled monument, Clatworthy Hillfort is roughly triangular in shape enclosing an area of 14 acres and its main defence is a single earth and stone bank with a ditch below, cut through solid rock. There may have been a single entrance to the hillfort on the west and two on the east.  Little is known of its history, but hillforts developed in the late Bronze and Early Iron Age, possibly as defensive strongholds or tribal centres. 

    At risk

    Historic England contacted us in late 2014 to offer funding to carry out works including a tree survey, the cutting down of smaller trees and the clearance of species such as bracken and tree saplings from the section of the hill fort owned by Wessex Water.  Historic England considered that the potential for damage from the trees was significant enough to put the hillfort on its monuments at risk register.

    Springing into action, we quickly formulated a plan to get the works done during the winter period.  This was not as easy as it sounded as we had to take into account large badger setts, potential bat roosts and difficulty accessing the hillfort – thanks to our neighbouring land owner, we were able to get vehicles up to the site across sheep grazed fields, instead of machinery struggling uphill through the woods.

    We’re pleased to say that the works were all finished on time and Historic England were so satisfied with the progress that the hillfort is now likely to be removed from the Heritage At Risk Register.  However, we don’t want to rest on our laurels, so we’re now planning a further campaign this winter to start to tackle more of the remaining trees along the ramparts of the fort – restoring the fort’s banks to grassland will be a long term process, but worth it in the end.

    Slag, scrub, bugs and birds

    You can now explore more about the history and wildlife around Clatworthy Reservoir with the help of new interpretation boards we’ve put up around the reservoir.  These explain a little more about some of the points of interest at the site, ranging from Romano-British iron working remains, Violet Oil Beetles, butterflies and the many birds that can be seen (and heard) around the reservoir.

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