Wiltshire

Roddenbury Hillfort in Wiltshire to undergo major repairs

Mountain bike damage to Roddenbury Hillfort, in Wiltshire
Image caption Bike trails and jumps have been dug into the 2,000-year-old monument

Major repairs are to begin on a 2,000-year-old Iron Age hill fort in Wiltshire, damaged by off-road biking.

Roddenbury Hillfort, on the Longleat Estate near Warminster, has been "significantly damaged" by mountain bikers digging bike trails and jumps.

Repairs, including filling in holes and levelling jumps, are to be carried out this year under supervision by the Longleat Estate and English Heritage.

Mark Harrison, from English Heritage, said it was a "serious issue".

Police alerted

"Wheeled traffic, whether bikes or off-road vehicles, can quickly erode historic earthworks and the creation of bike jumps, as in this case, can cause very substantial harm to irreplaceable heritage sites," he said.

"I'm sure the vast majority of off-road cyclists would be appalled to realise that their activities may have damaged an important archaeological site."

Over the past few years, two large and up to six smaller jumps have been dug into the Scheduled Monument, a criminal offence under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

After a site visit by English Heritage staff last summer, the damage was reported to Avon and Somerset Police.

Paul Grugeon, Longleat's deputy land agent, said: "As a historical site on the Longleat Estate we're committed to ensuring this area is preserved into the future and will continue to work with all parties to do any necessary work needed so it remains a historical landmark."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites