Fire destroys tree at ancient burial ground at Suffolk heathland

A tree at a bronze age burial mound has been destroyed following a blaze at a Suffolk heath.

A dog walker alerted the fire service to a burning tree at Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Knettishall Heath nature reserve, near Thetford, yesterday evening.

The tree sat atop an area of the heath called Hut Hill, an ancient bronze age burial mound and a landmark of the site that dates from 2400-1500BC.

A fire crew from Thetford were called to put out the blaze just after 5pm and were on scene for about two hours. The cause of the fire has not yet been established. All that remains of the tree is a stump and charred trunk.

Ranger Samantha Gay said: 'It is a shame this isolated incident has happened, and we are glad nobody was hurt. We are grateful to the dog walker who alerted us and are pleased the fire did not spread and cause any greater damage to the heath and its wildlife.'

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'We enjoy great community support at Knettishall Heath and over the summer holidays we are running a young rangers scheme where 12 – 16 year olds can learn about the ecology of the heath and get involved in practical habitat management, we are also holding family activity days and last week were joined by 800 dog walkers for a hounds of the heath dog day.'

Knettishall Heath has been in the ownership of Suffolk Wildlife Trust since the beginning of the year following a public appeal to buy it off Suffolk County Council.

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