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Going for Bronze

Capel Barrow (c) K Parfitt

Barrows were used to mark burial chambers and act as ceremonial sites.  Today, these barrows can be lost underneath vegetation and local people are often unaware of their existence.  The Up on the Downs Landscape Partnership Scheme area contains several Bronze Age barrows that have not been damaged by ploughing, a rarity for East Kent.  Going for Bronze has cleared the scrub and trees, the roots of which are degrading the monuments, from three barrows and returned the areas to grazing providing benefits both to the biodiversity of the sites as well as helping to restore the monuments themselves.

The first work was completed at Whinless Down where two Bronze Age barrows were cleared of scrub.  Our attention then turned to Cherry Gardens Upper Works, just above the Channel Tunnel site in Folkestone, where the Bronze Age barrow is a scheduled monument and has also had a World War II pillbox built on top of it.  At the start of the project it looked like this...

Uncleared barrow

This area is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest that is designated for its chalk grassland.  So not only is the barrow being damaged by the trees growing on the site but the amazing wild flowers that should be on the site are being shaded out too. The picture of the site below dates from the middle of the 19th Century when the entire area was clear of trees.  The barrow is on the right of the picture...

Cherry Garden and Castle Hill

We have only been able to achieve this project with the support and enthusiasm of our partners Affinity Water who helped fund the removal of trees and scrub from the site, and have allowed this unique site to be publicly accessible once again. 

Cleared barrow

The improvement is obvious and as the site is next to an area that is already grazed by cattle we are able to control the regrowth of scrub and trees.  As the grass recovers the rare flowers that thrive in chalky areas should also return.  This project is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when archaeology and nature conservation work hand in hand with willing partners. Thank you to  Affinity Water as well as Eurotunnel and White Cliffs Countryside Partnership.