Wiltshire

Stonehenge tunnel plan 'modern scar on ancient landscape'

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Media captionRachel Hosier's family have owned the farm for more than 60 years

A farmer who owns land which a Stonehenge tunnel would pass through says it would be a "modern scar on an ancient landscape".

The government wants to build a 1.8 mile (2.9 km) tunnel past the ancient landmark in a bid to improve journey times on the A303.

But archaeologists have warned the plans would cause irreversible damage.

Farmer Rachel Hosier said if the scheme were to go ahead it would leave her "heartbroken".

The western end of the tunnel is due to emerge close to Bush Barrow, which is on Mrs Hosier's land.

Buried body

Bush Barrow is an ancient burial site. When it was excavated in 1808 gold items were found alongside the body of a "stout and tall man".

The body is still buried there, surrounded by dozens of other barrows, and is referred to as Bush Barrow Man.

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Media captionHighways England's Andrew Alcorn says feedback will be listened to
Image caption The tunnel (bottom left) would run past Bush Barrow

Mrs Hosier's great-grandfather bought the 1,300-acre farm in the 1950s.

She has stopped farming on part of the land because of the "significant archaeology" there.

She said she felt "very upset" about the planned road.

"I think it's so important that enough consideration is given as to sensitively putting this road in the environment.

"It's got to be sensitive. Not in front of Bush Barrow man," she said.

'We're listening'

Earlier this month, a group of 21 archaeologists said there would be a "destructive impact" from the tunnel.

A body that advises World Heritage Site group Unesco has also objected to the idea.

Highways England's Andrew Alcorn said it would have to work "very carefully to sort out the setting and placement" of the western end of the tunnel.

"We're listening to what she [Mrs Hosier] is saying, we're listening to the other 9,000 pieces of correspondence we've had," he said.

The tunnel could be one of 16 national schemes that the National Audit Office (NAO) has said does not offer "value for money".

The NAO and the Department for Transport have not said which are at risk.

The tunnel was one of 112 schemes announced in a five-year road improvement strategy which is now being re-examined.

A consultation on the plan has ended, with a decision due to be made later in the year.

You can see more on this subject on Inside Out West on BBC One in the West of England at 7.30pm or on the iPlayer afterwards.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The government wants to make the road a dual carriageway with a tunnel

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