You are currently browsing the daily archive for 10/05/2009.

Ian McNeil Cooke, co-ordinator of the Save Penwith Moors group has just sent out this press release. For further information about this controversial scheme see Save Penwith Moor’s website www.savepenwithmoors.com

Alex Langstone reported on this for the Heritage Journal back in January, see here for the original article.

Tregeseal Longhorns

Above: Cattle using Tregeseal  stone circle as convenient rubbing posts

A cattle grid, nine new gates, and long stretches of new barbed wire fencing have now been installed to virtually complete the stock proofing of Carnyorth Moor (St Just, Cornwall) as part of the Natural England HEATH Project.

A small herd of longhorn cattle now grazes this moor. Natural England gave an undertaking last January that the bridle gates would be modified to make them openable by riders without hazard and that mounting blocks would be installed – neither has been done.

Save Penwith Moors deplores this provocative disregard by the HEATH Project of the decision of St Just Town Council not to support the Project, as well as countrywide public opinion against it, especially as a Heathlands Forum with representatives from Natural England, the National Trust, National Farmers Union, local councils and others was set up in the hope that a way through could be found to the agreement of all parties. The Forum agreed terms of reference were summarised [Forum Minutes 9.2.2009 item 2.5 (vii)]as:

Continuing dialogue and discussion

Bringing problems to the attention of the Forum for discussion

Finding solutions to these problems and providing feedback on the outcomes

The Forum has no legal mandate.

It is clear that the agencies and graziers involved in the HEATH Project – so contrary to the prescriptions and spirit of the Environmentally Sensitive Area scheme (ESA) – have completely ignored the concept of dialogue to address public concerns.

In the 19th century, Robert Hunt, the Victorian collector of local folklore, wrote that: “The spirit of the Celts, possibly the spirits of a yet older people, dwell amidst those rocks [Carn Kenidjack on Carnyorth Moor]. Within the shadow of this hill are mounds and barrows, and mystic circles, and holed stones, and rude altars, still telling of the past. The dead hold undisputed sway all around; no ploughshare has dared to invade this sacred spot, and every effort made by modern man to mark his sway is indicated by its ruin…. Let us hope that Robert Hunt’s remark will still prevail.

One of the damaged and desecrated West Kennet Avenue stones in 1996
Image credit and © Littlestone
 
Damage and desecration to our ancient sites is a perennial problem – see our features below on people climbing the Avebury stones and lighting fires at Castle How. One of the worst acts of damage and desecration at Avebury in recent times was that inflicted on some of the stones in the West Kennet Avenue in 1996 (the sackcloth in the photo above is a covering put there by conservators from Bristol University).
 
We may not be able to stop these acts of vandalism taking place in the dead of night but perhaps we do have a duty to point out to people, when we see them climbing stones or leaving ‘offerings’ at sites, that they are at best offending others who come after and at worst may actually be damaging our megalithic heritage.

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