Plea to respect Stonehenge research sites in Pembrokeshire

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Media caption,

Areas linked to Stonehenge "damaged" by tourists

People need to "tread lightly" on ancient sites that could be linked to Stonehenge, a national park says.

A recent BBC documentary suggested bluestones at Stonehenge may have once stood as part of a monument on the Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority said with more interest comes damage from litter and traffic.

Community archaeologist Tomos Jones said people were welcome to the sites but they must be respected.

According to the authority, there has been a surge of interest in sites connected to the BBC Two programme Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed.

Mike Parker Pearson's research suggested the monument could have been at Waun Mawn near Brynberian, before it was dismantled and moved 150 miles east to Salisbury Plain.

Image source, Justin H Moss
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The bluestones at Stonehenge are thought to have been quarried in Wales

Other sites mentioned in the programme, such as Craig Rhosyfelin and Carn Goedog, have also seen an increase in visitors in recent months.

"Since the broadcast, we've seen a lot more interest in those sites," Mr Jones said.

"Staff have been keeping an eye along with volunteers and we've noticed there are more cars.

Image caption,
The Preseli Hills are 150 miles (240 km) from Stonehenge in Wiltshire

He said an issue was "people wanting to take away bits of the bluestone with them", alongside people parking on narrow verges and some fires at the sites.

"It's damage to the archaeology and the natural qualities as well," he said.

A Heritage Watch scheme was set up in the national park in 2018.

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Prof Pearson said the remains of a cow, which was found at the site, suggested animals may have helped to pull the stones to their resting spot in England

Kate Allen from the rural crime team at Dyfed-Powys Police is a frequent visitor to the sites and said the easing of lockdown had seen a lot of people coming for "staycations".

"A lot of people are coming from away in search of these sites, particularly Waun Mawn, because of the attention drawn by the programme.

"We just want to educate people and let them know the importance of these sites - they are thousands upon thousands of years old and we need to preserve them and not cause any damage.

"We've had people parking really irresponsibly. It's not uncommon for them to light barbecues and recreational fires to keep warm."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Stonehenge was built over many hundreds of years, with work beginning in the late Neolithic Age, around 3000BC

Mr Jones said people are welcome to visit the sites, but they must do so responsibly.

"Go and visit them and it's as if you never were there," he said.

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