Friday, 22 November 2013

Government Interference Is Damaging Cornwall's Prehistoric Monuments

West Penwith's ancient Mên an Tol stones,
summer 2012
Have you visited Cornwall's West Penwith moors? By turn wild or sun-softened, through the seasons the dramatic landscape varies from brooding greys to summer's vivid radiance. It’s not just the views which captivate; there's a wealth of ancient riches to admire, some of Britain’s finest prehistoric stone sites: Mên an Tol, Lanyon quoit, Chûn castle and quoit, Tregeseal circle.

Cattle damage, October 2013
But currently West Penwith's beautiful countryside is under threat, following disastrous interference in its management by government organisation Natural England. The previously open and unobstructed moorland, so long enjoyed by local people and visitors alike, has seen the introduction of cattle grids, hefty gates and long stretches of barbed wire fencing. This looks awful and impairs access.

Behind the fences, cattle have been brought in; since their arrival the ancient monuments have suffered increasing damage. Trampling hooves churn access paths and flat areas around the sites into quagmires; heaps of dung lie everywhere. The stones have been reduced to scratching-posts for the heavy beasts, their foundations eroded and in danger of being weakened.  If this continues, they will simply topple over.

Make no mistake: these are world-famous heritage sites, thousands of years old. The way they've been treated by Natural England is disgraceful.

Save Penwith Moors is a local group striving for sympathetic future management and unobstructed open access to the stones’ moorland home. SPM campaigns lawfully for the removal of all new stock proofing (fencing, gates and cattle grids) from areas of open access moorland popular for local and visitor recreation. The group's website is here:
Cattle damage, November 2013
Last week, SPM representative Craig Weatherhill was interviewed by Cornish community broadcaster Redruth Radio. Craig lives in West Penwith and is a leading authority on the area. The interview will bring you up to speed with the situation:

Please, if you can make time have a look or a listen, and give the group your support.

No comments: