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27 January 2006
Blaze destroys stone circle's hut

The visitor hut at the Rollright Stones on the border of Oxfordshire and Warwickshire (England) has been badly damaged in what police say was an arson attack. According to Andy Norfolk, Trustee of the Rollright Trust, the roof at one end is badly damaged, but the walls are sound. The hut had been used to store visitor guides and merchandise.
     Police said the fire was unrelated to an incident in March 2004 when the Neolithic stones were splashed with yellow paint. Flames were spotted by a passing motorist in the early hours. Pc Tony Auden said the fire had "caused a significant amount of damage". He said arsonists had forced their way through a door and set the hut alight. Dohn Prout, site manager, said he could not believe the Rollright Stones had suffered further 'bad luck'. "What's the matter with people - we don't harm anybody, the public enjoys coming here," he added.
     The building of the visitor hut in the 1990s is part of a long-term programme of improvements for visitors to the site managed by the Rollright Trust, a charity set up to care for the Neolithic site. Last year, they opened new paths giving wheelchair and buggy users better access. And the Trust has led the way with an audio tour for visitors to learn more about the site by downloading a 'MP3' file from the internet. A note appeared at the entrance to the stone circle which, sadly, states that the visitor hut was not insured.

Sources: BBC News (24 January 2006), Heritage Action Journal (26 January 2006)

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