SOUTH Somerset’s Ham Hill Country Park was one of 445 heritage organisations in England to receive a lifeline cash grant from the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund
The grant of £50,500 has been made to support a winter season of works at the scheduled monument to protect the heritage site is protected and ensure that the public can continue to access it safely.
Two extra members of staff will be employed, each for six months, to carry out practical management works and to enhance Covid-secure volunteering and new digital events. New technology will be implemented to help the rangers plan and map works and features at the site and funds will support film making and the Friends of Ham Hill with a new web site.
12 organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust, will receive £34 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart construction and maintenance on cherished heritage sites to preserve visitor attractions and protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors in the sector.
Councillor Sarah Dyke, South Somerset District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said: “Lockdown was a challenging period for everyone, sadly works at the Country Park partially halted and this grant gives us the ability to catch up with our programme of ecological conservation and heritage preservation works. We know how important Ham Hill is to so many people, by finding new ways to interpret it, that can be safely accessed at the current time, we know people can continue to explore and enjoy the fabulous monument.
“Ham Hill has been a Country Park since 1975 but since pre-historic times the site has been an important centre for trade and communities. The Romans built the Fosse Way, now the route of the A303, that runs beneath the hill and post lockdown many families chose Ham Hill as a place to meet, part way between their homes and close to the main arterial route. The site experienced incredibly high levels of use throughout the summer, some of it to the detriment of the monument and its habitats.”
Pictured: The view west from Ham Hill; the stone circle on Ham Hill Country Park.