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13 January 2022
Fire scorches ancient Neolithic stones in Kent

Deep in the Kent (UK) countryside is an ancient wood known locally as Walderslade Wood. This area is rich in Stone Age artefacts (over 25 sites within a 4.5 km radius), such as Lordswood Barrow and Sarsen Stones, Impton Lane Stones and Aylesford Megalithic Long Barrow. The woods in question contain a group of sarsen stones which may be the remains of either a burial chamber or a stone circle, dating back to 4,500 BCE.
     Local resident, Dr Tom Shelley, was walking through the woods with his wife recently, when he noticed that some of the stones appeared to show signs of scorch marks.
     Dr Shelley had a theory as to how this occurred and is quoted as saying "I don't know who would do something like this, but I suspect pagans performing some kind of earth ritual. Fallen trees had also been dragged into position to start the fire, so it was definitely started deliberately".
     A similar group of stones nearby, at a place called Kit's Coty (sometimes known as The Countless Stones), had also been in danger of damage and so a protective barrier fence had been installed.
     The Parish Council of Boxley, where Walderslade Woods are located, is seriously considering erecting similar railings to protect these stones. Dr Shelley went on to add "Personally I don't care what religion people follow, I would just ask them not to damage ancient artefacts and not to start fires in woodland".

Edited from Kent Online (6 January 2022)

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