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Celebrating Norton Fitzwarren Hillfort

28 July 2021 : Council news, Community, Art and culture, Environment

Celebrations are being held to mark the official opening of Norton Fitzwarren Hillfort, one of the hidden archaeological gems of Somerset.

Somerset West and Taunton Council and Historic England have been working with the South West Heritage Trust and Norton Fitzwarren Parish Council to protect the hillfort- a nationally important scheduled ancient monument whose origins were in the Bronze Age more than 5,000 years ago.

The Council secured funding from Historic England to acquire the site in 2018 and further funding for a programme of works to enhance the site’s archaeology and ecology. The initial focus has been on scrub clearance and tree management.

The official opening of the Hillfort and the transfer of the site’s archaeological management to the Trust will take place on Saturday 31 July.

The Hillfort Day at Norton Fitzwarren village hall will feature a small exhibition of finds from excavations on the site and a chance to talk to archaeologists from the Trust together with representatives from SWT and Norton Fitzwarren Parish Council.

There will also be a guided walk to the Hillfort via the parish church. Numbers at the opening are limited and the walk is already at full capacity.

Cllr Marcus Kravis, Executive Member for Assets, said; “Norton Hillfort contains very significant archaeological remains that will need expert management over the coming years.

"The ancient earthworks can now be better protected and ultimately, we hope the site can be removed from Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.

“I’m delighted that the Trust, who look after many similar sites in Somerset, will be helping us to preserve and enhance this remarkable monument.

“Through their expertise, and in conjunction with Norton Fitzwarren Parish Council, there will be many opportunities for the community to get involved and to celebrate the hillfort.”

Charlotte Russell, Heritage at Risk Project Officer at Historic England, said: “We’re delighted that Norton Fitzwarren Hillfort is opening to the public again.

"We are proud to have supported its careful conservation and acquisition with grants, and to have worked with many partners who are passionate about this fascinating site. Its future is looking very bright.”

As well as the grants from Historic England, the Hillfort has also benefited from DEFRA’s Green Recovery Challenge fund which has helped pay for wildflower seeding and an information panel.

Bob Croft, the Trust’s Head of Historic Environment and Estates, said: “This is a wonderful moment for the Hillfort and for the community of Norton Fitzwarren.

"It’s excellent that so many organisations and individuals have worked together to ensure the future of this very special place.”