Plans to install steps on Thetford’s Castle Hill to stop erosion

Castle Hill in Thetford.

Castle Hill in Thetford. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Proposals to install steps on a 12th century motte to stop it eroding away are being put before the community.

Thetford's Castle Hill, thought to be the tallest motte in England, is a popular spot with residents and visitors.

However this popularity has proven to be a double-edged sword, as increasing footfall has caused erosion scars to form on the earthen mound's surface.

In a bid to prevent the damage worsening, Thetford Town Council, which owns the site, is proposing to build two sets of steps up the 25m motte.

It is hoped the new access routes will increase tourist interest in the nationally significant Scheduled Monument.


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There have been concerns from conservationists about the infringement of a modern metal structure on the earthen mound.

But Stuart Wright, chair of the Thetford Society, conceded the steps were a 'necessary evil'.

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'I would like to see just a green mound but we are a growing town and we are going to have extra people going up there. Thetford is also growing as a tourist destination and the erosion is going to get worse.

'The last thing you want to do is stop people getting up there and the steps are a way of letting people do that without causing further damage to the monument.

'Hopefully whatever is put on there will be blended in as much as possible.'

In a planning application submitted in October the town council proposed to build two sets of steps on the motte. The project would be accompanied by 'associated archaeological work'.

The project is designed to prevent further damage and erosion by closing off other access and to enable visitors to 'discover the historic and strategic significance of the site'.

Plans for a viewing platform on top of the hill have been shelved due to insufficient funds.

View the consultation at www.thetfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

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