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6 September 2003
Farmers urged to protect ancient sites

Farmers in Northern Ireland are being encouraged to help preserve ancient sites by ensuring proper protection of archaeological sites on their land. Under the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) Scheme and the Countryside Management Scheme (CMS), farmers receive an annual payment for looking after an archaeological feature.
     To qualify for the payment, farmers are not allowed to cultivate in any way the protected area, add drinking troughs for animals, store silage bales, or construct access roads or tracks. Approval must be sought for the use of pesticides, which must only be used to control noxious weeds, and no fertilisers, manure, slurry, sewage, rubbish or lime can be applied to the site. Farmers must also tend to any trees or scrub on the site, although the scrub can be controlled by light grazing.
    Northern Ireland is rich in ancient sites, including standing stones, stone circles, souterrains, forts and raths. Many sites have been lost to the plough in the past, or been damaged by farm machinery. These schemes are intended to protect remaining sites for the future.

Source: www.farminglife.com (3 September 2003)

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