Ham Hill’s Iron Age hill fort is saved for the nation

AN important Iron Age hillfort and other archaeological remains, covering 73 acres at Ham Hill Country Park has been purchased with £235,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), funding from the Friends of Ham Hill and a capital grant from South Somerset District Council.

The area that has been saved for the nation makes up the southern and western portion of a Scheduled Ancient Monument and has a significant place in both national and local history. Occupied since the Bronze Age, significant settlements and fortifications existed on the site during the Iron Age and there is evidence of later Roman occupation as well as the remains of a Victorian [stone] quarry.

The transfer of ownership of the land, which South Somerset District Council has been maintaining as part of the Ham Hill Country Park, will enable a longer term maintenance programme to be developed. The rangers will consult with advisors from Natural England, Historic England and the South West Heritage Trust over the conservation and preservation of the Iron Age ramparts, native woodlands and other heritage assets.

Sir Peter Luff, the chairman of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, says; “Ham Hill’s archaeological and natural heritage is of national significance. But its historical, social and cultural connections with the local community, dating back to before records began, make it particularly special. We at The National Heritage Memorial Fund felt it essential that it should be secured as part of the wider Ham Hill Country Park, ensuring it can be enjoyed today and in the future.”

There will be a pop up museum and activity centre on the site in July and August of this year, where visitors will be able to find out more about the history of this important site.

Pictured: Traces of Victorian quarrying at the Iron Age hillfort on Ham Hill.