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30 June 2015
Volunteers help restore ramparts of Northumberland hillfort

Volunteers from Northumberland National Park (North East England) have seen the culmination of many years of work as major conservation started to repair the crumbling ramparts of Harehaugh Hillfort in Coquetdale.
     Harehaugh Hillfort was built by Iron Age people 2,500 years ago and the essential conservation work now underway will see the hillfort finally removed from the Heritage at Risk register. The work to save the hillfort is a direct result of more than 20 years of research, excavation and monitoring by archaeologists from Newcastle University that has been funded by Northumberland National Park Authority, Historic England and Natural England.
     National Park volunteers and staff have been helping to fill 2,000 sandbags with organic topsoil to restore the profile of the badly-eroded sections of rampart. A layer of wire mesh will be laid over and across the sandbags and buried beneath a fresh layer of soil and organic grass seed to discourage burrowing animals from returning.
     Chris Jones, historic environment officer for Northumberland National Park, said: "This is the biggest such repair project to any archaeological site of this type in the National Park. Volunteers from the National Park Heritage at Risk group are trained to identify, assess and record damage to scheduled monuments and work extremely hard to protect this and other important archaeological sites in the National Park."
     Richard Carlton, from Newcastle-based The Archaeological Practice Ltd, added: "Our research has found a complex archaeological monument of some importance both locally and nationally. The monitoring work we carried out over a ten year period has found that the erosion on the ramparts which has taken place over a long period of time is significantly impacting on the archaeological remains and that repairs were necessary to help the landowner to protect the monument."
     The repairs are being funded by an Organic Higher Level Scheme and will take about three weeks to complete. Earlier preparatory work was funded by Historic England.

Edited from Northumberland Gazette (5 June 2015)

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