Somerset

Neolithic technology used to build new footpath at nature reserve

Trackway at Shapwick Heath nature reserve Image copyright PH Coate & Son
Image caption The trackway leads to a birdwatching hide at the nature reserve

Neolithic technology has been used to create a new footpath at a nature reserve on the Somerset Levels.

A willow hurdle walkway is being tested at Shapwick Heath near Glastonbury, where existing footpaths are often very wet underfoot.

Simon Clarke from Natural England said the matting was "very similar" to trackways made in Neolithic times.

The hurdles, which have been covered in wood chippings, are on a peat track leading to a bird-watching hide.

Mr Clarke said: "If you'd come to this landscape four or five thousand years ago... people were using this landscape.

"Some of the technology, the trackways they created, used hurdles laid on the ground made from things like hazel or willow.

"It shows it's very good idea. It's a tried and tested method."

A series of ancient timber causeways, such as the Sweet Track, are known to have criss-crossed the Somerset Levels several thousand years ago.

Image caption The track has been covered in wood chippings

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