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13 February 2011
English Heritage steps in to rescue prehistoric earthwork

English Heritage has come to the rescue of a prehistoric earthwork in a Rotherham wood (South Yorkshire, England) after it was damaged by mountain bikers who used parts of it to make a ramp. The so-called Roman Ridge is a 2,000-year-old earthwork which pre-dates the arrival of the Romans in Britain. Experts believe it was constructed to mark territories or grazing areas for cattle in an area which once marked the southern borders of the Brigantes, the biggest tribe in Celtic Britain who lived in what is now northern England.
     The portion of the earthwork, which stands up to two metres tall and stretches for 730 metres into Swinton Wood, is a rare survivor. The feature once covered 12 miles between Wincobank and the area beyond Wath upon Dearne. It will now be repaired after English Heritage signed an agreement with its owners, Richard and Sue Fulbrook, who are urging walkers to report any damage they notice. "This is a very important yet fragile monument and we are fortunate that it has survived for so long," said Richard. "Everyone can play a part in ensuring it is protected and I would volunteers coming forward to help in the task"  
     Elsewhere, the plight of many of the region's earthworks and scheduled monuments is a cause for concern for English Heritage, who say that 48 are at risk. Walkers can report any incidents of damage being caused to the Roman Ridge in Chainbar Plantation by emailing swintonwood@gmail.com

Edited from Richard Moss article on Culture 24 (11 February 2011)

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