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Secrets of Nesscliffe Hill to be uncovered

By Sue Austin | Oswestry | Attractions | Published:

A national team of archaeologists are to try to uncover the secrets of Nesscliffe Hill.

Nessliffe Hill

Recent investigations have shown what appear to be the footprint of ancient roundhouses and other 'significant features' on the Shropshire beauty spot which evidence of human activity over 3,000 years.

Experts believe the Nesscliffe Hill camp, a small iron-age hillfort with several defensive earthworks, is made of two conjoined enclosures of different dates.

It was built against the sheer cliffs at the north-western end of the hill on Nesscliffe Hill Countryside Heritage site.

Shropshire Council's Outdoor Partnerships team says the project follows the clearing of plantation trees during the winter of 2017/18. The trees had been suffering from increased, wind blown damage which was damaging the archaeology on the site, a spokesman said.

A 3D image of the hill

"Consequently, this scheduled ancient monument has experienced increased pressure from a small proportion of mountain bikers who perhaps are unaware of what they’re riding over," the spokesman said.

"Additionally, the increased light levels has resulted in a spread of scrub and tree seedlings which needs regular clearing."

Outdoor Partnerships says it is now working closely with the Natural and Historic Environment Team, Historic England and Oxford University’s Archaeology Department to ensure the hillfort is protected with improved visitor information as part of a new interpretation plan.

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Fencing and entrance signage was recently erected around the hillfort, informing visitors of the protected status of the site and, as part of archaeological investigations, the first official digs will take place this year.

"Geophysical investigation also recently discovered the presence of what appear to be significant features and the footprint of roundhouses."

Kynastons Cave

The council says that there will hopefully be opportunities for visitors to engage with to learn more about what is discovered.

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"It is going to be an exiting year for Nesscliffe hillfort."

The Nesscliffe Hills and the Cliffe Countryside Heritage Site covers 70 hectares including two wooded hills and a heather covered ridge.

As well as the iron age hill fort the area also have a cave in the sandstone said to have been the hideout of the medieval outlaw Humphrey Kynaston.

There is also the remains of quarries which supplied stone for some of Shropshire's' castles and churches, world war two trenches, squatters cottages, an observation post and a terrace where archery competitions were held two hundred years ago.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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