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Old Oswestry Hillfort

Conservation Plan


Produced for English Heritage



Malcolm Reid and Jenny Marriott


July 2010







Front cover illustration. Old Oswestry Hillfort. Photograph taken in January 2010 (MG_4082).
Shropshire Council

Back cover illustration. The first signs of spring. A wood anemone growing on the hillfort defences in
March 2010





























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Contents



Executive summary: the asset and directions for its future

List of acronyms


1. The monument and the need for a Conservation Plan

A. The monument: an introduction to its history and current status

B. The need for a Conservation Plan


2. The monument and its setting

A. Location and landform

B. Historical and archaeological investigations and the cultural sequence

The palisaded settlement and potentially earlier occupation

The early Iron Age hillfort

The middle late Iron Age hillfort and a probable Romano-British settlement

The early medieval period

The hillfort from the Middle Ages to the mid 20
th
century: woodland management,
agriculture and possible quarrying

Military activity in the hillfort during World War One

The historic character of the land immediately to the north and south of the
hillfort, adjacent to Wats Dyke

C. The present agricultural use and ecological character of the monument

D. Access to the monument, its display and associated educational initiatives







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3. Assessing the significance of the monument

Evidential

Historical

Aesthetic

Communal


4. Managing Old Oswestry past, present and future

A. Summary

B. Management infrastructure

C. Management history

D. Current management

E. The existing policy framework signposts to the future?


5. Recommendations for the investigation, presentation and maintenance
of Old Oswestry

Evidential

Historical

Aesthetic

Communal


Bibliography

Appendix 1: archival sources

Appendix 2: ecological records

Appendix 3: a gazetteer of the component parts of the monument

Appendix 4: EH Grounds Maintenance Contract for Old Oswestry

Appendix 5: Entry Level Stewardship for Old Oswestry and its setting
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Executive summary: the asset and directions for its future



Old Oswestry is a hugely significant archaeological resource. Its importance is derived not only
from its prehistoric legacy, but also from its contribution to later periods of history. Its
incorporation into Wats Dyke marks a chapter in the formation of early medieval Britain and it
played an important role in the first of two world wars that so dramatically shaped the world in
which we live. Old Oswestry is also important for the richness of its wildlife and is a key component
in maintaining the biodiversity of the local area.


Old Oswestry has connections with important historical figures. Those in the early medieval period
helped to shape the nation states of England and Wales. Later individuals associated with the site
were leading lights in historical research. Their records were some of the first to characterise the
ancient past of Britain. The likely use of the site by Wilfred Owen (albeit for a very short period) is
profoundly important in relation to his poetic legacy.


Old Oswestry is a highly visible local landmark, whose impressive defences can be seen from some
distance in virtually all directions. When walking round the monument, the huge scale and
labyrinthine character of the defences becomes truly apparent, and from its summit there are
sweeping views over the surrounding countryside. In late spring a carpet of bluebells enhances the
impressive character of the earthworks.


Old Oswestry not only represents salient aspects of the heritage of the region, but also the nation as
a whole. Its special character is linked to feelings of belonging and a sense of place, feelings which
transcend the generations. Old Oswestry is a place to be enjoyed and appreciated, for all the things
that make it what it is its heritage, wildlife, the open space and its scenic qualities.



The Conservation Plan provides a series of recommendations that respects the cultural and natural
heritage of the site. It highlights the need for a more tightly controlled maintenance regime, based
on sound and up to date information. In addition, it advocates investigative programmes which will
lead to a greater understanding of the site, contributing to an enhanced visitor experience. It is
considered that local involvement in decision making and implementation will help secure the long-
term conservation of the site. It is hoped that the resulting benefits of all of this work will be long-
lasting and wide-reaching.










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A summary of the recommendations is presented below. The numbers in brackets refer to the
relevant paragraphs in Section 5 of this Plan.

Alter the map extract showing the scheduled area to indicate the full extent of the monuments
protected status. (5.4.2)

Safeguard the visual interest and appeal of the monument, including its immediate setting.
(5.6.2)

I nvestigate the anomaly in the Guardianship status of Old Oswestry. (5.4.12)

Remove cattle from the top of the hillfort and allow sheep to graze. (5.4.12 and 5.6.5)

Extend the Grounds Maintenance Contract to allow the completion of existing work and to
incorporate the results of proposed ecological surveys. (5.4.13)

Use a combined suite of measures to control herbaceous vegetation in summer and autumn.
(5.4.14)

Consider modification of the grazing period to aid the protection of plant species. (5.4.15)

Promote a pragmatic approach to the removal of bracken and scrub on the site. (5.4.16)

Ensure that all those who manage the site are aware of sensitive issues and competing interests
when maintenance works are planned. (5.4.17)

Carry out baseline surveys to document damage to the archaeological resource and to provide
up to date information on the wildlife. (5.4.9)

Undertake ecological surveys in consultation with local organisations and specialists. (5.4.10)

Undertake a limited excavation programme following the baseline survey for the archaeology.
(5.4.11)

Re-establish and update the 1994 Management Plan by Thompson & Cathersides. (5.4.18)

Monitor the condition of the monument and review maintenance practices on a regular basis
to ensure that the site is conserved to the highest possible standards. (5.4.19)

Give consideration to introducing Local Authority and community-based involvement in the
management of the site. (5.4.20)

Improve signage to provide a more prominent and more emphatic message to visitors about
wilful damage to the site, including the illegality of metal detecting. (5.4.21)

Remove the information panel opposite the entrance to the site and replace it with a new
information panel setting out the objectives of archaeological and ecological site management.
(5.7.5)

Amend the onsite information about Wats Dyke and the First World War use of the site, and
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amend the similar information on the EH web site. (5.4.7 and 5.4.8)

Copy archive material relating to Varley and ONeils excavation and Aspinalls geophysical
survey into the NMR. (5.4.3)

Formulate a programme to investigate the First World War remains and carry out historical
research into Park Hall Camp. (5.4.4 and 5.5.3)

Formulate a programme to interpret and display the First World War remains. (5.6.3, 5.6.4,
5.7.2 and 5.7.3)

Formulate a programme to investigate and re-evaluate the prehistoric early medieval
remains. (5.4.5 and 5.4.6)

Highlight the connections Old Oswestry has with important historical figures. (5.5.2)

Keep local people fully informed of decisions affecting the sites management, and give them
the opportunity to be involved in all investigative and recording projects. (5.7.4)

























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List of acronyms


BAP Biodiversity Action Plan
BGS British Geological Survey
BSBI Botanical Society of the British Isles
BTCV British Trust for Conservation Volunteers
CPRE Council for the Protection of Rural England
DCMS Department of Culture, Media and Sport
EH English Heritage
ELS Entry Level Stewardship
FMW Field Monument Warden
GCSE General Certificate of Secondary School Education
GMC Grounds Maintenance Contract
HEFA Historic Environment Field Advisor
HER Historic Environment Record
HPA Heritage Partnership Agreement
HLC Historic Landscape Characterisation
IAM Inspector of Ancient Monuments
LDF Local Development Framework
MAFF Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
NE Natural England
NMP National Mapping Programme
NMR National Monuments Record
NSCP North Shropshire Countryside Project
OBC Oswestry Borough Council
OOLAP Old Oswestry Landscape and Archaeology Project
OS Ordnance Survey
PROW Public Right(s) of Way
RCHME Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England
SCC Shropshire County Council
SM@R Scheduled Monuments at Risk
SWT Shropshire Wildlife Trust
TIC Tourist Information Centre
WMRA West Midlands Regional Assembly
WMRHP West Midlands Regional Health Partnership

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1. The monument and the need for a Conservation Plan


A. The monument: an introduction to its history and current status

1.1 Old Oswestry hillfort, on the northern outskirts of Oswestry in north western Shropshire, was
regarded by Cyril Fox as a magnificent fortress, the outstanding work of Early Iron Age type on
the Marches of Wales (Fox 1934, 276). The scale of multiple lines of ramparts and ditches
defining the interior of the site is certainly amazing, and provides a tangible expression of the
ingenuity and communal organisation of our prehistoric ancestors (Fig 1).








1.2 It is evident that Old Oswestry is a hillfort of great complexity. Knowledge and
understanding of the monument has been advanced by:
a small-scale archaeological excavation undertaken by Professor William J. Varley and
Bryan H. St J. ONeil in 1939-40 (Hughes 1996);
aerial photographic recording and interpretation, funded by EH (previously the RCHME)
and Shropshire Council (formerly Shropshire County Council (SCC));
and a detailed analytical field survey by EH (Smith 2009; EH forthcoming).
Also in recent years a number of studies of the later prehistory of the region, most notably by
Jackson (1999), Davies & Lynch (2000), Mullin (2003) and Wigley (2002; 2007; forthcoming),
have enabled the hillfort to be viewed in context.
Fig 1: aerial photograph of Old Oswestry looking south, with the field boundary in the central
foreground following the course of Wats Dyke. Photograph taken March 2009 (MG_2006).
Shropshire Council
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1.3 In the early medieval period the hillfort was incorporated into the line of Wats Dyke, a
major Anglo-Saxon territorial boundary. Remains of this boundary extend to the north and south
of the hillfort. Recent work, carried out along sections of the dyke in the Oswestry area, has shed
more light on its construction, dating and function (Malim 2007; Malim & Hayes 2008).

1.4 The large area forming the interior of the hillfort provided a suitable place for training troops
during the First World War, who were based at Park Hall Camp nearby. Remains of military
practice trenches cut across the interior.

1.5 The hillfort was accorded Scheduled Monument status in 1934, and in 1937 the sections of
Wats Dyke immediately to the north and south of the hillfort were also scheduled. Subsequently,
the owner of Old Oswestry, Lord Harlech (resident at Brogyntyn 1.5km west of the hillfort),
presented the hillfort to the State the monument was officially placed in Guardianship in 1946
Fig 2). The agreement signed at that time placed Old Oswestry in the care of the Secretary of
State in perpetuity.




Fig 2: deed plan, drawn in February 1946, showing the extent of the Guardianship area.
Reduced from 1:2500. English Heritage
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1.6 The scheduling of the hillfort, and the adjacent sections of Wats Dyke, was revised in 1997
as part of the English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme (Scheduled Monument
Number 27556) (Fig 3) see 4.62 below.

1.7 The hillfort defences (those in the Guardianship area) have been designated as a County
Wildlife Site (a non-statutory designation) because of their nature conservation value.


B. The need for a Conservation Plan

1.8 The purpose of the Conservation Plan is set out in the Outline Brief for the Conservation
Plan (English Heritage 2009). The Conservation Plan will:

Present information to understand and assess the importance of the monument.
Provide information on the management of the monument in order to protect and
sustain its significance in the long term, and to an exemplary conservation standard.
Provide information on current public accessibility, enjoyment and understanding of
the site.
Identify additional opportunities for enhancing the visitor experience that will not
have a detrimental impact on the monument.

Fig 3: Scheduled Monument map extract for Old Oswestry Hillfort and the adjacent sections
of Wats Dyke. Reduced from 1:10,000. English Heritage

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1.9 The aim of the Conservation Plan is, therefore, to review current maintenance and
management practices, and to provide a set of management proposals for EH to consider, based
on a thorough and up-to-date assessment of the information pertaining to the monument,
including the significance of the remains.

1.10 The production of the Conservation Plan should enable a plan for the future implementation
of work to be devised.

1.11 The Conservation Plan has been produced in consultation with the following individuals, all
of whom are gratefully acknowledged:

Heather Sebire, Property Curator, EH West Territory (who commissioned and wrote the brief for
the Conservation Plan, and has overall responsibility for its delivery)
Tony Leech, Head of Property Maintenance, EH West Territory
William Du Croz, Estates Surveyor, EH West Territory
Beth Cavanagh, Head of Visitor Operations, EH eastern West Midlands Region
Bill Klemperer, IAM, EH West Midlands Region
Tony Fleming, IAM, EH West Midlands Region
Brian Clarke, Landscape Manager, EH London and West Midlands Estates Department
Richard Zeizer, Technical Manager, EH West Midlands Region
Lee Allison, Visitor Operations Manager (northern Shropshire), EH West Midlands Region
Peter Bassett, Asset Management Programme Manager, EH West Territory
Alan Cathersides, EH Senior Landscape Manager
Amanda Smith, Regional Planner, EH West Midlands Region
Mark Bowden, EH Senior Archaeological Investigator
Nicky Smith, EH Archaeological Investigator
Roger J.C. Thomas, EH Military Support Officer

Andy Wigley, Historic Environment Countryside Advisor, Shropshire Council
Robin Mager, Planning and Data Systems Officer, SWT
Alex Lockton, Co-ordinator for the BSBI
Martin Brown, Archaeological Advisor, Defence Estates
Kirsty Nichol, Outreach and Education Manager, Birmingham Archaeology
Ian Brown, Research Associate, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford
Ian Bapty, Archaeologist, Herefordshire Council (formerly project officer with BTCV)
Margaret Worthington, President of the Oswestry and Borders History and Archaeology Group
and a member OOLAP
Maggie Rowlands, Community Regeneration Officer, Shropshire Council, and a member of
OOLAP
Shelagh Lewis, a member of OOLAP
Sarah Vaughan, Head of History, Malbank High School and Sixth Form College, Nantwich
Alan Wilson, History Teacher, Malbank High School and Sixth Form College, Nantwich
David Kempster, Oldport Farm
Members of the public visiting Old Oswestry







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1.12 We also wish to thank the following people who have supplied information and provided
assistance in other ways:

Natalie Hayes, Casework Assistant, EH West Midlands Region
Carole Owen, Estates Officer Manager, EH West Territory
Russell Man, EH Heritage Protection Officer
Alice Stacey, EH NMR Assistant

Mick Krupa, HER Officer, Shropshire Council
Liz Young, Senior Archives Assistant, Shropshire Archives, Shropshire Council
Dan Wrench, Biodiversity Officer, Shropshire Council
Gwilym Hughes, Chief IAM, Cadw (formerly project officer with Birmingham Archaeology)
Jez Bretherton, Historic Environment Senior Specialist, West Midlands Region Natural England
Adam Gwilt, Curator of Later Prehistory, National Museum of Wales
Tim Malim, Principal Archaeologist, SLR Consulting
Roger White, Academic Director, Ironbridge Institute, and Senior Lecturer, University of
Birmingham
George Baugh, formerly editor of the Shropshire Victoria County History volumes
Malcolm Roberts, grazier
The staff at Oswestry Library, Shropshire Council
Gillian and Stephen Reid

























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2. The monument and its setting


A. Location and landform

2.1 Old Oswestry hillfort covers an area of 19ha, entirely occupying a steep-sided glacial mound
of sand, gravel and clay, with a gently sloping domed summit. This mound rises c. 35m above the
surrounding land. The area immediately adjacent to the mound is characterised by glacial till,
mostly boulder clay. All these deposits overlie dark red sandstones (Red Measures) of the
Erbistock Formation laid down in the Carboniferous period (BGS 2000). The soil here is a typical
Brown Earth (Soil Survey 1983).

2.2 The glacial mound on which the hillfort is situated is at the extreme eastern edge of the
Oswestry Hills, the foothills of the Welsh mountains, where the hills meet and overlook the North
Shropshire Plain.

2.3 This geographical interface is also reflected in the present Agricultural Land Classification
scheme. Old Oswestry (classified as land primarily in non-agricultural use) is surrounded by
Grade 3 land, which characterises much of the North Shropshire Plain. The hillfort lies 2km to the
east of Grade 4 land and just over 12km to the east of Grade 5 land (the poorest land in the
classification scheme) (MAFF 1971; 1972).

2.4 The hillfort is a prominent feature in the landscape when seen from the east, west and north
(Figs 4-6). To the south its view is obscured by buildings in Oswestry, but it can be seen clearly
from the motte of Oswestry Castle (Fig 7). From the hilltop, Old Oswestrys commanding
position is apparent, with extensive views in all directions (Figs 8-12), except to the south where
the view is partially restricted by higher ground surmounted by a wood. On a clear day numerous
prominent hills are visible to the south and east, some of which are crowned by hillforts.





Fig 4: view of the hillfort defences looking west from the B5069
(formerly the A5)
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Fig 5: view of the hillfort defences looking east
Fig 6: view of the hillfort looking south/south west from the B5069
(formerly the A5)

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Fig 7: the hillfort seen from Oswestry Castle
Fig 8: view looking south west from the innermost rampart of the hillfort, with
the outskirts of Oswestry in the middle distance and the foothills of the Welsh
mountains beyond
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Fig 9: view looking south east from the innermost rampart of the hillfort across
the North Shropshire Plain, with Oldport Farm is the middle of the picture, and
the Shropshire and Welsh hills in the distance
Fig 10: view looking east from the innermost rampart across the north
eastern entrance and the North Shropshire Plain beyond






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Fig 11: view looking north from the innermost rampart over the North
Shropshire Plain, with the foothills of the Welsh mountains in the distance.
The field boundary running up to the hillfort follows the course of Wats Dyke

Fig 12: view looking west across the defences to the high ground and the
foothills of the Welsh mountains beyond

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B. Historical and archaeological investigations and the cultural
sequence

2.5 The hillfort, because of its sizeable and impressive nature, was of interest to historians and
antiquarians in the 16
th
, 17
th
and 18
th
centuries (eg John Leland, William Dugdale, John Aubrey,
William Camden, Edmund Gibson, Richard Gough and Thomas Pennant all of whom have
provided descriptions of the remains). The hillfort has been traditionally known by various Welsh
names and it was in the 18
th
century that it also started to be referred to as Old Oswestry. The
earliest reference to the site appears in Lelands Itinerary (c. 1536-9) where it is noted as Hene
Dinas (old hillfortress/city) (Smith 1964, 76). It was recorded by Dugdale (1663) as Llyn yr Hen
Dinas (Llyn from Llwyn a small wood or grove) (Watkin 1920, 347; G.G. 1958, 9). According
to Pennant, this place is called Old Oswestry, Hn Ddinas, and anciently Caer Ogyrfan
[stronghold/fort of Ogyrfan] from a hero co-existent with Arthur (1784, 271). In numerous later
accounts of the site, Ogyrfan is referred to as the father of Guinevere (eg, as noted in Hughes
1996, 50), but this does not accord with the accepted/common view of the characters in the
Arthurian legends.

2.6 The earliest known detailed plan of the hillfort was produced by Pennant (1784, Plate 13)
(Fig 13 ) and the first comprehensive description of the remains appeared in Salopia Antiqua
(Hartshorne 1841, 77-80). Subsequently, the detailed form of the earthworks could be appreciated
through the work of Wall & Dowman (1908, 366-7) and the OS (1874; 1901; 1926; and 1969).
The latest OS Antiquity Model (ie a mapped depiction of the earthworks) was last revised in
1967.



Fig 13: plan of Old Oswestry in Thomas Pennants Tour in Wales, volume 1,
published in 1784


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2.7 Information regarding the cultural sequence of the site has, until recently, rested principally
on a limited excavation conducted by Professor William J. Varley in 1939-40, with the assistance
of Bryan H. St J. ONeil, (Hughes 1991; 1996). This investigation was part of a concerted effort
in the 1930s and 1940s to excavate hillforts in the Welsh Marches in order to understand their
phasing and development (Varley 1950; Varley 1964; Wigley 2002; forthcoming). The
excavation at Old Oswestry consisted of seven trenches (Trenches A-G), principally positioned to
examine the defences (Fig 14). Only two of the trenches were extended into the interior of the
fort, both by a very short amount.








Fig 14: plan showing the location of Varleys excavation trenches and the
geophysical survey undertaken by Aspinall. From Hughes (1996)

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2.8 The excavation remained unpublished for many years and was eventually published by
Gwilym Hughes working with records of variable quality (Havercroft in Hughes 1996, 46).
These records included typescript summaries of the excavation produced by Varley (nd) and
Varley & ONeil (nd), and excavation drawings held by the NMR (Appendix 1). However, some
important information on these drawings was not reproduced by Hughes and hence the published
report is seen as an incomplete account of the findings. In addition to the archives used by
Hughes, a small collection of records relating to the excavation exist in Shropshire Archives
(Appendix 1). These records include press reports, some with photographs, and photographic
prints. These images help to convey the nature of the investigation, as well as providing important
stratigraphic information, including the depth of archaeological deposits below the topsoil (Figs
15 and 16). It is interesting to be able to compare a photograph of a probable late Iron Age
building (Fig 16) with the published plan (Fig 17). Furthermore, some papers belonging to
Arnold Aspinall relating to Old Oswestry were not seen by Hughes (Appendix 1) and include an
important letter regarding the finding of a probable Bronze Age palstave mould (see 2.13.2
below).











Fig 15: photograph accompanying a newspaper report on the excavations in the Montgomery
County Times, 10
th
May 1939. Shropshire Archives. I t is evident this is Trench A, as depicted
on Fig 14

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2.9 The majority of the artefacts recovered from the excavation have survived, but for some their
excavated provenance is uncertain (Hughes 1996, 64). The surviving artefacts are housed in the
National Museum of Wales (Hughes 1991, 7-12). However, a Neolithic polished axe (Varley
1964, 46) (one of two found during the excavation 2.13.1 below) is not mentioned in the
archive assessment by Hughes (1991) and is presumed to have been lost. A probable palstave
mould (see 2.13.2 below) also no longer survives.

2.10 In 1974 a geophysical survey of the interior of the hillfort was undertaken by a team led by
Arnold Aspinall from the University of Bradford (Hughes 1996, 62-4). The whole of the area was
scanned using a Plessey flux meter. A resistivity survey was conducted across the interior (line e-
x, Fig 14) and in an area measuring 20m by 20m to the north east of the western entrance (f, Fig
14). This work detected various features attributed to the modern military use of the site see
2.18.1 below.

2.11 A greater understanding of the developmental sequence of the hillfort and the later use of
the site has been achieved through an analytical field survey, carried out by EH in March 2008.
The survey will also provide detailed information to aid future management initiatives (Smith
2009; EH forthcoming) (Fig 18).

2.12 The only other archaeological investigation to have taken place within the hillfort was a
watching brief carried out during the digging of gateposts adjacent to the defences. Probable in
situ rampart deposits were observed in two cases (Hannaford 2007).


Fig 16: exposure of a probable late Iron Age
building in Trench G (Fig 14). Shropshire
Archives

Fig 17: published plan of a probable late
I ron Age building in Trench G (Hughes
1996, 63)





Fig 16: exposure of a probable late Iron Age
building in Trench G (Fig 14). Shropshire
Archives



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Fig 18: EH field survey plan of Old Oswestry. English Heritage
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2.13 The palisaded settlement and potentially earlier occupation

2.13.1 Two polished stone axes and worked flints found during the excavation carried out by
Varley and ONeil suggest that occupation of the hill began in the Neolithic. However, there is a
possibility that these items were discovered elsewhere and kept by the later prehistoric inhabitants
of Old Oswestry because of their intrinsic (recognised ancient) value. The reuse of specific
places, because of their apparent special character, is a recognised phenomenon in later British
prehistory (Bradley 1987; Hingley 1999; 2009) and the presence of these early artefacts at Old
Oswestry is consistent with the evidence for occupation at other enclosed hilltop enclosures and
hillfort sites in the region, such as The Breidden, Montgomeryshire, and Beeston Castle, Cheshire
(Mullin 2003, 74-6).

2.13.2 The structural sequence at Old Oswestry appears to begin with a settlement enclosed by a
palisade. Traces of a palisade trench were discovered in Trench G (Fig 14), pre-dating the
innermost rampart, accompanied by post holes and stake holes, and the remains of a hearth.
Similar and probably contemporary remains were found in Trench A (Fig 14). No definite plans
of buildings could be discerned, but curving arrangements of post holes would seem to suggest
the presence of circular structures. Two significant artefacts were attributed to this phase: a
probable palstave mould (of Bronze Age date) and a ceramic bronze working crucible,
supposedly found together and associated with one of the hearths. It is worth noting what Varley
states in a letter to Arnold Aspinall: The crucible was directly associated with a clay mould, two
piece, destroyed by accident on the site, but seen by me and regarded then as a two piece mould
for a palstave, not likely to be earlier than the middle Bronze Age. For additional comments
regarding this activity see Varley (1964, 72). Northover in Hughes (1996, 79) states that the
crucible cannot be precisely dated, but other comparable examples suggest a date between the 5
th

and 3
rd
centuries BC, although a date in the 7
th
or 6
th
centuries BC cannot be ruled out. The form
of the crucible indicates that it is not a late Bronze Age type. Hence, it appears that the dates of
these two artefacts are incompatible. The presence of ash and burnt bone from features belonging
to this phase, indicates the prospect of dating this period of occupation more precisely by means
of radiocarbon should further excavation be carried out. Hilltop enclosed settlements, some pre-
dating hillforts (characterised by more sizeable and stronger defences) on the same sites, are
known throughout the area. Where these enclosed hilltop settlements have been dated by
radiocarbon they fall between c. 1100-800 BC (Cunliffe 2004, 25).


2.14 The early I ron Age hillfort

2.14.1 It has long been apparent that the two inner ramparts and their accompanying ditches are
the earliest visible earthwork features on the site. The excavation and the field survey have
confirmed this view, but indicate that the innermost rampart, following the crest of the hill, was
the primary construction. It encloses an area of c. 6ha and consists of a core of clay with a
boulder base, and boulder revetments to the front and the rear. Regarded as a type of box
rampart, its form bears some comparison to the stone revetted and timber-laced ramparts
constructed at Maiden Castle, Bickerton and Castle Ditch, Eddisbury, both in Cheshire (both of
which were excavated by Varley) (Cunliffe 2005, 361-2). Access into the interior of the hillfort is
through two diametrically opposed entrances, located in the north eastern and western parts of the
circuit. Adjacent to the innermost rampart, and contemporary with it, is an external V-shaped
ditch. On the outer lip of this ditch there is evidence of a counterscarp bank, which was
subsequently enlarged to create a second rampart formed by deposits of boulders, gravel and clay.
In Trenches A and G (Fig 14) the remains of stone-built round houses with central hearths were
found. Associated with these buildings was a small amount of early Iron Age pottery consisting
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of local coarsewares and a distinctive non-local fineware of a type found in Wessex. This
assemblage suggests that the construction of the early Iron Age hillfort took place in the 7
th

century BC or a little later. However, this date appears to be at odds with the growing body of
evidence from comparable hillforts in the region, such as The Breidden and Beeston Castle,
which have been dated by radiocarbon to the late Bronze Age (Wigley forthcoming).








2.15 The middle late I ron Age hillfort and a probable Romano-British settlement

2.15.1 During the second half of the 1
st
millennium BC there was a progressive enlargement of
the hillfort, with the addition of further ramparts and ditches, and alterations to the earlier
defences (Fig 19). The phenomenon of hillfort aggrandisement occurred at certain locations
throughout the Welsh Marches during this period (Cunliffe 2005, 398-400; Wigley 2007, 181;
forthcoming) and matches the contemporary process occurring in Wessex, and probably over
much of central and southern England (Cunliffe 2005, 388-96). Rampart construction during this
period at Old Oswestry is characterised by dumps of earth and stone. As part of this rebuilding
and enlargement process, the terminals of the innermost rampart at the two entrances appear to
have been modified and turn inwards to define entrance passages. In addition, a large and very
elaborate annexe was created at the western entrance, incorporating a line of roughly rectangular
hollows. Those to the north of the entrance are of a considerable size and have been dug to some
depth. The smaller ones to the south of the entrance corridor were partially excavated by Varley
(Trench F) (Fig 14), but no records survive to indicate what was found. There are no comparable
examples of such sizeable hollows/pits in any other hillfort in Britain and their function has
attracted much speculation. Varley suggested that they were water tanks (an idea first put forward
Fig 19: reconstruction drawing of Old Oswestry in the middle Iron Age by I van Lapper.
English Heritage. This drawing was used as the cover illustration on the EH book of I ron
Age Britain by Barry Cunliffe (1
st
edition, published in 1995)
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by Dugdale) (Watkin 1920, 346; G.G. 1958, 8). Other ideas include stockpens (Cunliffe 2005,
438) and quarry pits (Hogg 1975, 256-7). There is growing evidence that hillforts, especially
large hillforts such as Old Oswestry, played host to a variety of activities, some of which were
overtly ritual in their character. These activities were focused on the agricultural cycle and the
exchange of goods (and perhaps services) between communities. Within this context, hillfort
defences are not only seen as having defensive attributes, but would appear to have had symbolic
significance. If this was the case at Old Oswestry, perhaps the hollows and pits within the annexe
played an important part in the daily rituals performed by the inhabitants and members of the
wider community.

2.15.2 There is no doubt, from the size of the hillfort during this period (c. 19ha) and, by
extension, the resources necessary for its construction, that Old Oswestry played a key role, or
roles, in Iron Age society in the area. Its location and prominent position (2.1 2.4 above) is
comparable to the nearby sizeable hillforts at The Breidden, Montgomeryshire and Llanymynech,
Shropshire / Powys, to the south (OS 1962). While the nature of the roles played by these hillforts
is a matter of debate, it is apparent that they all lie on, or close to, the Iron Age tribal boundary
separating the Cornovii to the east and the Ordovices to the west (Cunliffe 2005, 210).

2.15.3 As with the earlier phases of the hillfort, the discovery of domestic structures was
restricted to Trenches A and G (Fig 14). In these trenches the remains of stone-built round houses
of probable late Iron Age date were uncovered (Figs 16 and 17). They are an unusual building
type for this region all other known contemporary examples had timber-framed walls.
Associated with these structures were fragments of salt containers (Stony Very Coarse Pottery
(VCP)), suggesting the transportation of salt from the Cheshire brine springs.

2.15.4 The discovery of Roman pottery and a fragment of Roman roof tile in the upper fills of
the ditches was thought by Varley to indicate that the site had been abandoned by the Roman
period (Hughes 1996, 86). However, the field survey of the hillfort found evidence of level areas,
probably building platforms, scattered amongst the defences, which are thought to be of Roman
date. This evidence adds to the growing picture in this region of hillforts continuing in use during
the Roman period (Wigley forthcoming).


2.16 The early medieval period

2.16.1 The use and status of Old Oswestry during this period is unclear. Oswestry is considered
to be the site of the battle of Maserfelt, where, in AD 642, Penda, the pagan king of Mercia
defeated and killed Oswald, the Christian king of Northumbria (who was later made a saint). The
battle site became known as St Oswalds Tree (Croes Oswald in Welsh) (Rowley 2001, 76). In
this context and relation to its defensive strength it might be supposed that Old Oswestry served
as some kind of royal centre.

2.16.2 The course of Wats Dyke, a major territorial boundary marking the western extent of the
Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia and the limit of the Welsh kingdom in northern Wales, has long
been known. An 8
th
century date for the construction of Wats Dyke has always been widely
accepted, pre-dating Offas Dyke to the west, but this date is now disputed see below. All the
visible sections of Wats Dyke in Shropshire were first mapped by Robert Baugh (1808) and
surveyed by Cyril Fox in 1930-1 (Fox 1934). This linear boundary consists of a bank, c. 8m wide,
formed by the excavation of spoil from a broad ditch, up to 8m wide and 4m deep to the west.
The dyke runs up to the northern and southern parts of the outer defensive circuit of Old
Oswestry. To the south the dyke clearly impinges on the counterscarp bank of the hillfort, but to
Page 26 of 170


the north the original form and extent of the dyke terminal is less clear. The dyke is also supposed
to follow the outer defences of Old Oswestry on the western side (ibid, 247), although the EH
field survey of the hillfort has not detected any associated modifications to the defences that may
help to confirm this. An excavation was carried out in 1992 on the section of the dyke
immediately to the south of the hillfort and demonstrated that the ditch was well preserved, but
the bank had been degraded by ploughing during the medieval/post-medieval period (Rogers
1992). Luminescence dates obtained from the fill of the ditch at Gobowen, just over 2km to the
north of Old Oswestry, imply that the process of infilling started in the early 9
th
century. In
relation to historical events it is suggested that this boundary post-dates the creation of Offas
Dyke and was constructed either during the reigns of Cenwulf and Ceolwulf (AD 796-823) or
Wiglaf in the 830s (Malim & Hayes 2008, 174-5).



Fig 20: vertical aerial photograph taken by the RAF in May 1946
(RAF_106G_UK_1571_RP_3179). NMR EH. To the east of Old Oswestry is Park
Hall Camp, which continued to be used as a military base in the Second World War

Page 27 of 170






Fig 21: National Mapping Programme transcription for Old Oswestry and the area
immediately surrounding the hillfort. Shropshire Council

Page 28 of 170



2.17 The hillfort from the Middle Ages to the mid 20
th
century: woodland
management, agriculture and possible quarrying

2.17.1 Significant information can be gleaned from archive sources concerning the medieval and
later use of the hillfort. According to Lelands Itinerary (c. 1536-9), on the top of the hill there
were large (ancient) oak trees (Smith 1964, 76). In 1663 William Dugdale found the plateau and
the defences thickly wooded (Watkin 1920, 346-7; G.G. 1958, 7 and 9). Hartshorne (1841, 79)
notes that in 1767 timber was cut down from the defences and sold for 17,000 a significant
price, presumably reflecting the quality and quantity of the timber. The tithe map and
apportionment for the area produced in 1840 indicates that the area of the defences had been
replanted with trees, being noted as a plantation, and the interior was under cultivation. The OS
maps of 1874, 1901 and 1926 show the existence of mixed, but mainly deciduous, woodland over
the defences, with the central area free of trees. A photograph taken to the south of Old Oswestry
during the survey of Wats Dyke in 1930-1 shows the dense nature of the woodland over the site
at that time (Fox 1934, 262 Fig 38). The defences were still thick with trees and undergrowth
when Varley and ONeil conducted their excavations, when the site was used as a game-reserve
(Hughes 1996, 50). The defences were not cleared of trees until the site was placed in
Guardianship in 1946 (ibid). The extent of the felling operations can be seen on an aerial
photograph taken in May of that year (Fig 20). Between the First and Second World Wars the
summit was under permanent pasture and grazed by sheep and cattle. During the Second World
War the land was cultivated, but was never deep-ploughed or sub-soiled. It was last ploughed
around 1945 (David Kempster pers comm).

2.17.2 In addition to these uses, a series of large extraction pits of probable post-medieval date,
principally located in the southern part of the interior, has been identified from aerial photographs
EH NMR Number 1400550 (Marches Uplands Survey and the RCHME NMP, 1996) (Fig 21).
However, it is more likely that some or all of these depressions were formed during the military
use of the site see 2.18.1 below.


2.18 Military activity in the hillfort during World War One

2.18.1 In the First World War the hillfort was used for military training by troops stationed at
Park Hall Camp, c. 1km to the east. The size of the camp suggests it may have been for a division
(about 16,000 men when at full strength) (Martin Brown pers comm). Witness accounts recall
that training included the digging of trenches, practice in the use of rifles and mortars, and the
detonation of explosive canisters under fire, which resulted in the creation of wide shallow craters
(correspondence between Varley and R. Gilyard-Beer (IAM); Hughes 1996, 62-3). The
arrangement of these trenches (EH NMR Number 1400540), now existing as slight earthworks
and buried features, has been recorded from aerial photographs (Marches Uplands Survey and the
RCHME NMP, 1996) (Fig 21) and as part of the EH field survey of the monument (Fig 18).
Additional details regarding the form and layout of the trench system are apparent from the low
level, oblique aerial photographs taken of the site in March 2009 (Figs 22-24). Essentially, the
trench system consists of parallel and connecting trenches. The remains of the reserve, support
and fire (front line) trenches are all evident (characterised by their distinctive crenellated
appearance in plan), together with communication trenches and associated defensive positions.
The size and layout of the trench system suggest it was used by a battalion of about 700 men
(Roger J.C.Thomas pers comm). The remains of other trenches can be discerned and might
suggest that several phases of military activity are represented here. The development of this
Page 29 of 170


training facility, like others established around the country (Brown 2008), enabled troops to learn
the rudiments of trench warfare before experiencing it at first hand on the Western Front. It is
clear from the aerial photographs and the field survey of the site, that much of the hillfort interior
has been affected by this military activity.









Fig 22: aerial view showing the World War One trench system.
Photograph taken March 2009 (MG_2021). Shropshire Council
Fig 23: aerial view showing the World War One trench system.
Photograph taken March 2009 (MG_2026). Shropshire Council
Page 30 of 170










2.19 The historic character of the land immediately to the north and south of the
hillfort, adjacent to Wats Dyke

2.19.1 A short distance to the south of the hillfort, remains of ridge and furrow cultivation, and
associated field boundaries, have been recorded (Rogers 1992 see 2.16.2 above) with further
traces of contemporary cultivation systems to the south east, recorded from aerial photographs.
Wats Dyke has had, and continues to have, a significant bearing on land holdings and resulting
agricultural use, and field patterns, in this area. The Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC)
project undertaken for this location has identified three principal field types adjacent to the dyke
(Fig 25). The oldest fields appear to be those assigned to the piecemeal enclosure type (41 on
the HLC map), created through the gradual enclosure of medieval open fields between the 14
th

and 17
th
centuries. The fields allocated to the reorganised piecemeal enclosure category (42 on
the HLC map) have similar origins, but were modified through boundary alterations in the later
20
th
century. The planned enclosure fields (44 on the HLC map) were created in the mid to late
19
th
century, through the reorganisation of an earlier (possibly18
th
century) field pattern. (On the
same figure the hillfort defences have been classified as other unimproved ground HLC type
52, and the hillfort interior as a small irregular field HLC type 40). The HLC information
reproduced here is courtesy of Dr Andy Wigley of Shropshire Council.




Fig 24: close up aerial view of the World War One trench system. The support and
fire trenches, plus communication trenches and associated defensive positions can
all be clearly discerned. Photograph taken March 2009 (MG_2024).
Shropshire Council
Page 31 of 170








Fig 25: HLC map for Old Oswestry and the surrounding area.
Shropshire Council

Page 32 of 170


C. The present agricultural use and ecological character of the
monument

2.20 The interior of the hillfort is under pasture and is regularly grazed by cattle, belonging to
David Kempster, of Oldport Farm, who is the principal tenant on the site (for details concerning
the tenancy and grazing arrangements for the monument see 4.3-4.5 below). The interior is
defined by a post and wire fence, with gates allowing pedestrian access to this land and to the
hillfort defences (see 2.28 below). Farm access to the interior, from the fields to the east of the
monument, is via a stony track within the eastern entrance corridor of the hillfort (Fig 26). Post
and wire fences, with pedestrian access gates, separate the northern and southern sectors of the
hillfort defences. Both sectors are grazed by sheep.







2.21 The parts of the outermost rampart/counterscarp bank on the eastern and southern sides of
the defensive circuit are under improved pasture. This land is owned by David Kempster and is
part of Oldport Farm. According to the scheduling map extract (Fig 3) these parts of the defences
appear to lie outside the current scheduled area (see 4.62 below).

2.22 The area covered by the defences (with the exception of the parts of the outer
rampart/counterscarp bank under improved pasture) is rich in wildlife. This is the result of the
ground conditions (geology, soils and the form of the earthworks), the continuous presence of
woodland up until about fifty years ago (see 2.17.1 above) and the subsequent use of the area to
graze sheep (Martin 1999). Wildlife conservation on the site has been helped by the control of
scrub vegetation, bracken and weeds (details of these programmes are contained in Section 4).

Fig 26: the stony track within the eastern entrance corridor, defined by newly
erected post and wire fences

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2.23 Surveys of the site undertaken within the last two decades have demonstrated the diversity
of its wildlife (Thomson & Cathersides 1994; Thompson 1995; Thompson 1996; Bellis 1997;
Wells 1999; Turtle 2003; and records held by Shropshire Wildlife Trust (SWT) and the Botanical
Society of the British Isles (BSBI) lists of recorded species are presented in Appendix 2). It is
important to stress that there is no guarantee that the species recorded by these surveys, especially
those last identified some time ago, currently exist on the site. This does not diminish the sites
conservation value, but relates to the feasibility of carrying out wildlife surveys on a regular
basis.

2.24 The defences are characterised principally by unimproved grassland a rare habitat type in
Shropshire. The slopes support diverse grassland flora, with some relict woodland flora, which
include bluebells, primroses, early purple orchids, ransoms and wood-sorrel. There is a marked
difference in the flora between the sunny south-facing slopes and the northern slopes. The
northern area supports an array of ferns. Common gorse and broom both grow on the site. The
broom, existing mainly in the south western part of site, is host to the parasitic greater broomrape
(Fig 27), which is nationally rare. Skylarks, linnets and yellowhammers all breed here. The plant
life supports a variety of insects and other invertebrates (none that have been recorded are
uncommon or rare). The ponds, which have formed in several of the deep pits next to the western
entrance corridor, are home to common, palmate and great crested newts, the latter are legally
protected. Various species of bats have also been recorded recently.





























Fig 27: greater broomrape at Old Oswestry. Source: M. Rowlands

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Fig 28: map showing areas of nature conservation value and the location of species of
particular significance in the vicinity of Old Oswestry. The dark green areas represent places
of high ecological interest/potential and the hatched areas lower, but still significant, places of
ecological interest/potential. (reduced from 1:15,000) SWT

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2.25 While the hillfort has several important species associated with it, perhaps the most
interesting ecological aspect is the mix and range of species (some relatively common). For
instance: the existence of both grassland and woodland species; and there are very few sites in the
county where all three native species of newt are present. It is also important to realise the role of
the site within a wider ecological network. It forms a stepping stone with other wild places of
conservation value in the vicinity (Fig 28). This interconnectivity strengthens the biodiversity of
the area surrounding the northern part of the town, which is mainly characterised by intensively
farmed land that has been degraded in ecological terms. An example of one of the ways in which
the site acts as part of a wider network, is the greater number and variety of bats associated with
the site than may be expected. As there is obviously little in the way of roosting potential on the
hillfort, the bats are presumably roosting in another stepping stone site, within woodland or
agricultural structures and commuting to the hillfort to forage. Information about the wildlife of
the site noted here has been produced in collaboration with Robin Mager of SWT, drawing upon
the sources noted in 2.23 above, and additional material in SWT (1992), NSCP (2000), and SWT
(2007). Issues concerning the management of the site for its wildlife are outlined in 4.51-4.53
below.


D. Access to the monument, its display and associated educational
initiatives

2.26 The monument is accessible to the public at any reasonable time and is an unstaffed site.
Dog walking is permitted, but temporary signs ask dog owners to act responsibly when livestock
are present on the site (see 4.57 below).

2.27 The main route by road to the monument is from the A5, via the B4580 or the B5069 (on
both B roads there is a large brown tourist sign indicating amenities and visitor attractions in
Oswestry, including the hillfort). On the B5069 there are also small brown tourist signs (and like
the larger signs, stating Old Oswestry Hillfort with the EH logo) giving directions through a
residential area, to two car parks. The larger car park is next to the Gatacre Sports Field (off
Gatacre Avenue), a short walk from the monument following a newly created tarmac path. This
car park is large enough to accommodate coaches. The other car park, which is meant for disabled
visitors, is opposite the entrance to the monument on Llwyn Road (see 2.29 below). If
approaching the monument from the town, this road becomes a narrow country lane leading
northwards to the hamlet of Lower Hengoed to the south west of Gobowen. It is part of the
National Cycle Network Route 31. A leaflet produced by SCC, entitled Regional Cycle Route 31.
Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch (North Shropshire Cycle Map 9) notes Old Oswestry
Hillfort and Wats Dyke as places of interest. Public Rights of Way (PROW) link the hillfort with
the northern part of Oswestry and the rural area to the west / north west. A PROW also runs past
Old Oswestry and along the scheduled section of Wats Dyke to Pentre-clawdd to the north of
the hillfort (Fig 3). This footpath is part of the Wats Dyke Way, a recently created heritage trail
(Lewis 2008; www.watsdykeway.org). A circular walk using footpaths in the vicinity of the
hillfort is described by Hignett (nd, 1-4).

2.28 The hillfort can also be reached, relatively easily, by public transport: the bus station in
Oswestry is about fifteen minutes walk away; and the railway station at Gobowen (on the
Shrewsbury, Wrexham and Chester line) is about 3km from the site using the Wats Dyke Way.

2.29 The small car park opposite the western entrance to the hillfort provides space for about
eight cars and includes two bicycle stands (to facilitate riders on Cycle Route 31). The creation of
Page 36 of 170


this car park and the footpath linking the larger car park with the site (see 2.27 above) was part of
a scheme to provide improved access and interpretation at the site (see 2.20 above, and 2.30
2.32 below).

2.30 This scheme of work, known as the Old Oswestry Hillfort Visitor Improvements Project,
was co-ordinated by the Economic Regeneration Unit of the former Oswestry Borough Council
(OBC) and EH, and was run in partnership with SCC, Oswestry Town Council and other grant-
giving bodies. The project received support and funding from a range of national and regional
organisations, as well as the European Union. The priority and principal aim of this project was to
turn an uncared-for no-go area with drug and anti-social behavioural problems into a safe and
accessible green space in Oswestry. Changes in the management of Old Oswestry prior to 2007
(see Section 4) had resulted in the monument looking overgrown and unloved. The popular
perception was that it was a waste ground often assumed to be a spoil heap and was used as
such to dump rubbish, with a burnt out stolen car left close to the western entrance of the hillfort.
The sites unkempt appearance resulted in the genuine impression that this was not a safe place to
walk around. By undertaking this regeneration project it was hoped that peoples perceptions of
the site would change and that a sense of pride in the site would be engendered, thus decreasing
damaging anti-social activities in the area. The project, which came to an end in 2008, received a
tremendous amount of local support, and has been successful in its achievements. Over the two
years that the project was running visitor numbers went up from about 12,000 per year to about
30,000. In light of the projects success, a special environmental award was given to the project
team by the Oswestry and District Civic Society. (The information in this paragraph has been
produced in collaboration with Maggie Rowlands, the Regeneration Officer concerned with the
project.)

2.31 The improvement works on the hillfort have included the replacement and erection of new
gates and fences (see 2.20 above), and the establishment of a path in the western entrance corridor
and steps over the defences where some of the visitor foot fall is heaviest (Fig 29). The new path
and steps are visually striking (regarded by some as being visually intrusive) (Figs 30-32). They
rest upon the present ground surface, thus avoiding any disturbance to archaeological deposits.
Issues concerning the path and steps are raised in 4.58 and 4.59, below.




















Fig 29: a former flight of steps
crossing the defences where the
western and north western sides
of the circuit meet.
Source: M. Rowlands.
The replacement steps
are shown in Fig 32


Page 37 of 170




Fig 30: the so called floating path constructed in the western entrance corridor










Fig 31: the floating path, together with the steps on to the innermost rampart

Fig 32: flights of steps crossing the defences where the western and north
western sides of the circuit meet

Page 38 of 170


2.32 Interpretation panels (five in total) have been erected around the monument at key positions:
two within the western entrance corridor; on top of the innermost rampart close to the western
entrance; on top of the innermost rampart adjacent to the eastern entrance; and within the outer
defences of the southern part of the circuit. These panels provide insights into: the construction of
the hillfort and its phasing; the lifestyles and economy of the Iron Age occupants; and the
hillforts relationship with Wats Dyke. The panel principally dealing with Wats Dyke, located
within the southern outer defences of the hillfort, notes the use of Old Oswestry as a training
facility during the First World War. These panels utilise a range of graphic media, including
reconstruction drawings, aerial views of the site and photographs of the artefacts discovered
during the excavation. Together these panels provide a summary of the information contained in
the excavation report (Hughes 1996), with additional details from other studies about Iron Age
settlements and Wats Dyke. The panels were produced before the EH field survey was
undertaken. There are several issues about the siting and content of these panels see 4.55 and
4.56 below. In addition to these panels, two information boards about Old Oswestry (concerning
its archaeology, history, folklore and wildlife) have been produced by OBC as part of the
improvements project. These boards are to be erected on the information stand at the Gatacre car
park (see 2.27 above).

2.33 To coincide with the improved facilities on the site, EH, in partnership with OBC, has
produced a teaching resource book and accompanying CD-ROM for use in primary schools
(aimed at Stage 2 of the National Curriculum, ie for children between the ages of seven and
eleven) (EH 2008a). This resource provides lesson plans and worksheets for activities in school
and whilst visiting the hillfort, and includes information about the history and ecology of the site,
together with a range of associated images and other illustrative material. The examination of the
site is linked to the National Curriculum local history study and many of the activities are
designed to be cross-curricular, and relate to the study of science, mathematics, geography and
citizenship. This education pack has also been promoted in local Welsh primary schools to tie in
with the Welsh curriculum with its emphasis on the Celts.

2.34 Support for all these initiatives by members of the local community led to the formation, in
2007, of the Old Oswestry Landscape and Archaeology Project (OOLAP). The aim of OOLAP, is
to continue to promote public interest and enjoyment of the monument and its surrounding
landscape by hosting talks, including an annual conference (and the publication of the conference
papers), guided walks and other community events. The Oswestry and Border History and
Archaeology Group acts as the governing body for OOLAP and co-ordinates its activities which
have so far proved extremely popular.

2.35 At Park Hall Farm, close to the site of the military camp, a visitor attraction with
educational facilities has been developed. The recent re-creation of an Iron Age round house at
the farm (funded as part of the hillfort improvements project) provides a link with Old Oswestry
and raises awareness of the prehistoric heritage of the area (www.parkhallfarm.co.uk).









Page 39 of 170


3. Assessing the significance of the monument


3.1 This section draws upon the information presented in Section 2 to provide an assessment of
the sites importance. It is ordered according to the four heritage values evidential, historical,
aesthetic and communal as defined in Conservation Principles (EH 2008b).


3.2 Evidential

3.2.1 The evidential value of the site can be considered from a cultural perspective and also
from an ecological standpoint. Information about past human activity and the natural history of
the site, including an understanding of its meaning and importance, has been advanced by
detailed examinations and surveys.

3.2.2 Archaeological examinations of the cultural remains, aided by historical information, have
provided an indication of the episodes of past human activity on the site stretching back about
3000 years, and probably beyond. However, it is apparent that the earthworks forming the hillfort
defences and the remains of associated occupation within the interior are not precisely dated.
Although the archaeological excavation conducted was small-scale, and undertaken before the
advent of modern scientific dating techniques, it demonstrated that the site has the potential to
provide accurately dated constructional and occupational sequences (for example, through the use
of radiocarbon dating).

3.2.3 The archaeological excavation (although limited in its extent) and the recent analytical
field survey have provided important information about the form and construction of the
defences. The excavation also yielded a small insight into the nature of occupation of the site
during the later prehistoric period. Despite the impact that modern activity has had on the
prehistoric remains within the interior, the site still offers enormous potential to examine and
understand more about the lives of the prehistoric inhabitants and their contemporary physical
environment. The excavation within the interior has demonstrated that in certain areas structural
features and objects attributed to the prehistoric period survive well. The hillfort defences,
including the enigmatic pits next to the western entrance corridor, are likely to retain artefacts,
ecofacts and palaeo-environmental remains. Where conditions are favourable, especially where
deposits are waterlogged and anaerobic, the remains are likely to be significant both in terms of
their quantity and quality.

3.2.4 It is evident that the hillfort was occupied in the Roman period, although the character and
chronology of this phase remains uncertain. It is also unclear if the hillfort was continuously
inhabited from the Iron Age or was re-occupied after a hiatus. Possible building platforms
post-dating the hillfort defences, indentified during the recent field survey, therefore have the
potential to clarify the nature of occupation during the Roman and post-Roman periods.

3.2.5 The use and status of Old Oswestry in the early medieval period is also unclear, despite the
hillforts physical association with Wats Dyke. The probable location nearby of the battle at
Maserfelt in the 7
th
century may suggest that the hillfort had a strategic role at that time. Such a
role is certainly likely when Wats Dyke was constructed, although there is no evidence to
indicate that the hillfort defences were strengthened at that stage. Nevertheless, there is a prospect
of remains dating to the early medieval period surviving throughout the defensive circuit and
within the hillfort interior.
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3.2.6 Aerial photography and the recent EH field survey have demonstrated the extensive and
well-preserved arrangement of a First World War trench system existing within the hillfort
interior. The remains represent a rare surviving example of a complete trench system capable of
being used by a full battalion. The preservation of these trenches, together with any associated
internal features and contemporary artefacts, is likely to have been enhanced by their subsequent
infilling, probably undertaken swiftly at the end of the war. This complex provides tangible
evidence of the physical form of battlefield trenches and can be compared with the constructional
information in the contemporary field manuals produced by the War Office.

3.2.7 The hillfort is ecologically important on several levels: it hosts several rare and protected
species (eg parasitic greater broomrape and great crested newts); it supports a mixture and variety
of species; and it forms a fundamental link with other places of conservation value in the vicinity
and is, therefore, essential for maintaining the biodiversity of the area.


3.3 Historical

3.3.1 It can be inferred from documentary sources that the prominent position of the hillfort and
the impressive nature of the defences, which can be seen today, remained for much of the time
largely hidden from view due to a dense covering of woodland. Despite this, the site still attracted
the attentions of early historians and antiquarians, and as a result has a firm place in development
of archaeology as a discipline.

3.3.2 One of these learned men, Thomas Pennant, noted the sites connection with a legendary
hero, Ogyrfan, who, it is said, was contemporary with King Arthur. It is also possible that the
hillfort was associated with King Penda or King Oswald, who fought at nearby Maserfelt.
Although there is no way of verifying the connection of Old Oswestry with these individuals, the
construction date for Wats Dyke has provided strong evidence that the Dyke, and by association
Old Oswestry, was linked with other historically attested individuals of Anglo-Saxon date. The
connections with these historical/legendary figures add to the air of mystery surrounding the use
of the hillfort at this time.

3.3.3 Wilfred Owen, the First World War poet, was born at Plas Wilmot in Oswestry. He
returned to the area in September 1916 as a Second Lieutenant with the Manchester Regiment.
During the month that he was there he was stationed at Park Hall Camp and was engaged in
training his men in the use of rifles (Hibberd 2002, 198). Some of this training is likely to have
taken place at Old Oswestry. The association of Owen with this area, and the vivid images
contained in his poetry, adds to the poignancy of the military remains within the hillfort.


3.4 Aesthetic

3.4.1 Aesthetic value of Old Oswestry derives from the ways that people draw, and have drawn,
sensory and intellectual stimulation from the place. The large extent of the hillfort, including the
sizeable and impressive nature of the defences, and the extensive views from the hilltop, all
contribute to the sites aesthetic importance.

3.4.2 The manner in which the natural slopes of the hill have been sculptured to create these
defences, was evident to the first historians and antiquarians who visited the site. They also
appreciated that they were not haphazard creations, but were designed, with the visible elements
Page 41 of 170


connecting with one another to form one giant construction (Fig 12). The excavation carried out
by Varley and ONeil has provided information on the original appearance of the defences, as
well as creating time depth to this picture. Further evidence concerning the constructional and
occupational sequences, and the subtleties of earthwork form, have been demonstrated by the EH
field survey (Fig 17).

3.4.3 While archaeological investigations have answered some questions about the form of the
monument, and the nature and date of occupation, visitors are impressed by the huge scale and
labyrinthine character of the defences, and the ability of our prehistoric ancestors to construct
such an edifice with simple tools. Despite the best efforts of archaeologists, we are still left
wondering how? and why?. This sense of mystery and wonder will remain, and will continue
to act as the stimulus for further research and intellectual debate.

3.4.4 The impressive nature of the monument is enhanced by the wildlife that inhabits the site.
The sight of the hillfort covered in wild flowers (Fig 33) and the sound of skylarks, linnets and
yellowhammers as they fly overhead or dart from bush to bush, all increase visitors enjoyment of
the place.












Fig 33: bluebells over the south eastern part of the defensive circuit. Source: M. Rowlands
Page 42 of 170


3.5 Communal

3.5.1 Communal value relates to the meanings and feelings that people have for a place. How,
for example, a place is regarded in terms social identity, symbolism and commemoration.

3.5.2 From the collective evidence about the past history of the site it is apparent that, in relation
to its geographical position, the hillfort has either lain close to or on an ancient and long-lived
cultural boundary, which ultimately became formalised into the Welsh and English national states
that exist today. The area in which Old Oswestry is situated, is therefore, a fundamental
constituent in the formation of the British nation.

3.5.3 The concept of nationhood, and the place of Britain in the modern world, are brought into
even sharper focus at Old Oswestry by the presence of a major First World War training facility
associated with Park Hall Camp. The First World War still has considerable resonance for many
people. Learning about the conflict forms part of the National Curriculum history course at Key
Stage 3 (ie for children aged between eleven and fourteen) and can be studied as a module at
GCSE. The remains of the trench system at Old Oswestry provide a tangible reminder, a
memorial, to all those from the local area and further afield, who went from the camp to fight in
the trenches on the Western Front, many of whom were never to return.

3.5.4 Old Oswestry is one of a small number of hillforts in Guardianship and managed by EH.
All the others are in southern England. (It should be noted that the remains of the hillfort at
Beeston Castle, Cheshire, lie buried under what survives of the medieval castle.) Of all the
hillforts constructed in Britain, Old Oswestry and Maiden Castle in Dorset, are commonly viewed
as supreme (iconic) examples of this class of monument, because of their overall size, and the
complexity of their well-preserved defences. The presence of Wats Dyke and the First World
War training facility at Old Oswestry adds considerably to the unique quality of the monument. It
should also be emphasised that the trench system is the only known example of this type of
monument in the care of the Secretary of State and managed by EH.

3.5.5 To some people Old Oswestry may have a spiritual significance the sweeping views
from the summit engendering feelings of a sense of place and belonging. To others, contact with
the elements (eg the bracing wind often experienced on top of the hill) may have a therapeutic
effect. Such feelings and emotions may help to explain why the site was chosen and developed
into the hillfort that we see today. These powerful sentiments may also have been in the minds of
those who went from this place during the First World War.

3.5.6 Old Oswestry, therefore, is a significant resource for explaining and studying the past from
national, regional and local perspectives. It also offers, in relation to its location, a superb site for
appreciating the distinctive character of this area.

3.5.7 The cultural legacy has resulted in a diverse ecology, which will continue to benefit the
whole community by helping to sustain the biodiversity of the area.

3.5.8 In addition to its communal heritage value, it should not be forgotten that the hillfort is a
major recreational asset for the residents of Oswestry. It is a place to be appreciated and enjoyed.


Page 43 of 170
4. Managing Old Oswestry: past, present and future


A. Summary

4.1 This section summarises past and current management and the policy framework for the
Conservation Plan, to provide a signpost to the management recommendations made in
Section 5. Photographs in the text illustrate specific points. The gazetteer forming Appendix 3
contains further photographs of various features illustrating management issues. Reference
should also be made to Appendix 3 for details concerning the location of features mentioned
in this section.


B. Management infrastructure

4.2 Old Oswestry was taken into Guardianship on 27
th
May 1946, under an agreement which
runs in perpetuity (Fig 2). The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act, 1979, is
the current legislation under which management is implemented. Wats Dyke is excluded
from Guardianship status, except where it cuts through and overlies the outer defences of the
hillfort.

4.3 Lord Harlech retains the freehold of the monument. The land managed by EH should
equate to the Secretary of States holding in Guardianship, with EH as guardians, being
responsible for the management of the whole site. In practice, the situation is more complex.
Under the Guardianship deed, EH should receive the rent paid by David Kempster of Oldport
Farm for that part of his agricultural tenancy that covers the plateau. However, the rent is
received by Lord Harlech. This anomalous situation results from an informal agreement made
with Lord Harlech when the Guardianship Agreement was signed.

4.4. The defences are excluded from Mr Kempsters tenancy and EH has granted an annual
grazing licence to a local farmer, Malcolm Roberts. This prohibits grazing from 15
th
March to
1
st
June to protect wildlife, in particular the exquisite wild flowers that are the crowning glory
of the site at this period.

4.5 The farm holding, including the grazed plateau but excluding the defences, is managed
under Environmental Stewardship. The Entry Level Scheme (ELS) is implemented
(Agreement No. AG00180648) and runs from early 2006 until early 2011 (see further 4.36
below and Appendix 5).

4.6 The defences have been designated a County Wildlife Site by SWT because of their
ecological value (see 2.22- 2.25 above).

4.7 Old Oswestry is managed by a multi-disciplinary team working within various sections of
EH, which, at the time this Conservation Plan was written, included the following personnel.
Properties and Education (formerly Properties and Outreach) holds the budgets for
maintenance and improvement works at Old Oswestry. Beth Cavanagh, Head of Visitor
Operations for the eastern West Midlands in the Properties and Education section, who is
based at Kenilworth Castle, has overall responsibility for the management of the monument.
Lee Allison, is the Visitor Operations Manager for northern Shropshire (based at Boscobel
House, near Telford) and reports to Beth Cavanagh. The Estates team in Conservation and
Protection (formerly Research and Standards) is responsible for overseeing grounds
maintenance work, which is carried out under a Grounds Maintenance Contract (GMC). The
major part of the GMC is managed by Brian Clarke, Landscape Manager, London and West
Midlands, EH Estates Department, based in Twickenham, London. This part of the GMC,
Page 44 of 170
which is carried out by Hortech Ltd (based in Oswestry), includes chemical and mechanical
weed, scrub and bracken control, hedge and pond maintenance, pest control, grass cutting,
rubbish collection and sheep grazing. The second part of the GMC covers the repair and
maintenance of fencing, gates, paths and stiles. The responsibility for regular inspection and
maintenance of these rests with EHs Conservation and Protection Department, Estates, West
Territory, managed by Richard Zeizer, based in the EH regional office in Birmingham. Both
Brian Clarke and Richard Zeizer report to Tony Leech, Head of Property Maintenance, EH
West Territory. Other EH personnel with a management role include: Heather Sebire,
Property Curator, EH West Territory, who advises on EH curatorial policy and is responsible
for conservation planning for Guardianship sites in the West Territory; Bill Klemperer,
Inspector of Ancient Monuments (IAM), who is responsible for statutory functions; William
Du Croz, Estates Surveyor; Peter Bassett, Asset Management Programme Manager, EH
West Midlands region; and Jenny Marriott, area HEFA. Alan Cathersides, Senior Landscape
Manager in EHs Gardens and Landscape Team, who co-authored the 1994 Management Plan
(referred to below), is likely to advise on any updated version of that document which
emanates from this Conservation Plan. Interpretive signage is the responsibility of the
Properties Presentation Team, while operational signage (eg asking people to do or not do
various things) and directional signage is the responsibility of Properties and Education. OBC
formerly had a role in the promotion of the site (see 2.30-2.33 above), but from 1
st
April 2009,
Shropshire Council assumed all responsibilities from the Borough Council.


C. Management history

4.8 This section summarises management of the site prior to 2005 (when the GMC was
implemented). The section draws primarily on Old Oswestry Hillfort: a report and plan of
management, February 2004 prepared by John Thompson, an ecologist, and Alan
Cathersides, Senior Landscape Manager for EH. Other sources consulted include EH Registry
files and personnel involved with and interested in the management of Old Oswestry.

4.9 As mentioned previously (2.17.1 and 2.22), Old Oswestry was densely wooded for many
centuries; the trees were largely cleared in 1946, with the last trees reportedly being felled in
the 1950s (Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 9). Large tree stumps are still in evidence across
the site (eg Appendix 3, Fig 145). The flora associated with the hillfort derives from this
woodland vegetation.

4.10 During World War Two, the top of Old Oswestry, formerly under permanent pasture,
was used to grow corn as part of the war effort. The interior was last ploughed over sixty
years ago (David Kempster pers comm).

4.11 Old Oswestry has been in Guardianship for sixty four years. The sites management
history in the first few decades of the Guardianship is not well documented, but it is known
that for some years four men were employed to control vegetation and maintain the perimeter
fences and hedges (Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 9). Probably from the early 1980s only
two men were employed to look after the site. It is uncertain how long they were employed,
though they were still working on the site in 1992 (Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 9). They
probably stopped working on the site when sheep were introduced in 1994 (see 4.19 below).
The men cut the banks and ditches by hand or machine (the ditches and gentler slopes were
cut annually, the steeper banks less often). A priority was to keep the entrance area looking
tidy to make a good impression for visitors. Occasionally, sheep kept at Oldport Farm
wandered through the fencing and grazed the ramparts at random.

4.12 In 1994, a Management Plan for a five-year work programme (1994-8) was produced
for the site (Thompson & Cathersides 1994). This was supplemented by two ecological
Page 45 of 170
surveys (Thompson, 1995, 1996) to further inform management. Since the draft Conservation
Plan was written, the authors have learnt that a further ecological report was produced by
John Thompson in July 2003. It reportedly made recommendations for ecological
management, which included observations on the effects of sheep grazing on the site (Brian
Clarke pers comm and see 4.31 below).

4.13 The Management Plan, very importantly, integrated the archaeological and the
ecological management needs of the site. An emphasis was placed on the need to review the
efficacy of maintenance:
In view of the ecological value of this site it is important to know whether its
features are being maintained and, in particular how it is responding to management.
This will be achieved by carrying out a baseline vegetation survey in April/May 1994
prior to the onset of grazing. Particular attention will be given to rare and local
species. Records will be repeated at intervals of not less than five years. (Thompson
& Cathersides 1994, 17)

4.14 The Management Plan makes it clear that parts of the site were becoming overgrown at
this time, with coarse grass, bracken and willowherb colonising the steeper banks. The point
is made that:
On the whole the cutting regime seems to have maintained the floristic diversity of
the site although the un-cut banks are a cause for concern from the point of view of
the landscape and ecology as well as the archaeological interest. (Thompson &
Cathersides 1994, 10)
























4.15 The Management Plan raised concerns that the timing of some of the vegetation control
was inappropriate. For example: bracken and willowherb were not being cut at the correct
times; bracken was cut when dormant with subsequent new growth being left unchecked; and
willowherb was allowed to mature and scatter seeds across the site. It was stated that: The
numerous woody plants represent a clear threat to the archaeology of the site and, if un-
checked, will radically alter its appearance and ecology (Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 12).
The efforts of BTCV who pulled bracken on the site in 1995, were unable to keep pace with
the rate of growth (Fig 36).

Fig 34: slopes on the south eastern side of the hillfort showing differing
vegetation control methods. Rampart 4 in the centre not cut and the
counterscarp bank (Rampart 5) cut and gathered. Photographed on 29.12.93.
Source: Thompson & Cathersides 1994, Pl 8

Page 46 of 170




















4.16 Despite the problems raised about vegetation control on the site at this time, recreational
erosion was noted to be minimal, being confined to paths near the western entrance and one
or two informal paths worn on the ramparts. Some path repairs appear to have been carried
out by BTCV, but no records of what they did appear to survive.

4.17 The Management Plan recommended the use of seasonal sheep grazing as the principal
means of controlling vegetation and when this started, the cutting of vegetation over the
ditches and ramparts appears to have ceased.

4.18 The Management Plan warned that the proposal to use sheep could result in additional
erosion in the form of shelters (typically in the leas of the ramparts) and tracks. The
importance of attaining the correct stocking levels, as well as the timing and duration of
grazing was stressed. In addition, the possible impact of grazing on the ecology was flagged
up, with particular emphasis on the need to protect rare plants on the site (Thompson &
Cathersides 1994, 14).

4.19 Sheep were finally introduced in the summer of 1994 and by the end of June 1996, 120
sheep were grazing the site (Thompson 1996, 2). They grazed between June and September
only, in order to protect spring flowers such as bluebells and orchids, although it is apparent
that lessons were learnt as sheep put out to graze at the end of June .quickly consumed
almost all the flowers (Thompson 1996, 8). For a trial period, a lower stocking rate (five
sheep per hectare) was implemented. The emphasis was on the need to monitor the efficacy of
the grazing regime with respect to vegetation control and erosion. Sheep were to be grazed in
two paddocks constructed around the ramparts. This allowed them to be moved between
paddocks to allow bracken control to take place, as well as keeping one paddock accessible to
visitors.











Fig 35: counterscarp bank (south eastern side
of the hillfort) in 1993 - cut and raked off, but
the adjacent steep slope (Rampart 4) not cut for
several seasons, dominated by bracken and
coarse grasses with invading scrub.
Source: Thompson & Cathersides 1994, Pl 6
Fig 36: BTCV pulling bracken on the steep
northern defences on 8
th
August, 1995.
Source: Thompson 1996, Fig 9
Page 47 of 170


















4.20 The Management Plan specified that for the first few years of the new regime, bracken
and willowherb would need to be hand and machine cut to allow a state of equilibrium to be
reached. Both would need cutting in June, with repeat cutting as necessary four to six weeks
later. Woody plants were to be cut on a four-year cycle between October and February with
herbicide treatment to prevent re-growth (Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 16).

4.21 The Management Plan also specified maintenance work on the large pit group to the
north of the western entrance corridor (referred to as ponds in the Plan and water bodies
in the ecological surveys) laying emphasis on the need to undertake any work carefully and
sensitively. Recommended work included removal of willows and accumulated silt, with
repair of eroded banks and phased dredging (Thompson 1995, 7).

4.22 In addition to maintenance of the site, the Management Plan encouraged the production
of an explanatory booklet and a nature leaflet (Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 19), but it is
unknown whether these were ever produced.

4.23 The Management Plan emphasised the importance of involving local specialists and
amateurs who would be able to undertake repeat visits to the site at different seasons. Surveys
of selected animal groups for which the evidence base was acknowledged to be poor
(Thompson 1995, 7) and a census of breeding birds, repeated at five-yearly intervals, were
identified as priorities (Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 17).

4.24 At some time during the implementation of the Management Plan, probably in the later
1990s, it is apparent that problems were encountered with the sheep grazing. Before sheep
were introduced, the Management Plan had highlighted the potential problems of dog walkers
vis vis sheep, observing that people had become used to walking their dogs off the lead
(Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 15). Anecdotal references from this time refer to dogs being
let off leads and worrying the sheep. People even cut through fencing to access grazed parts
of the hillfort (Malcolm Roberts pers comm).

4.25 It is clear from existing records that by 1996, maintenance was not being carried out as
recommended in the Management Plan. For example: grazing numbers exceeded the
maximum recommended; all the scrub (except broom) was cut, even though the Management
Plan proposed treating only a quarter of the site per year; there was no record of the efficacy
of bracken spraying; probably no cutting of willowherb; no hedge cutting since 1994; and no
de-silting of the wet pits (Thompson 1996, 8).


Fig 37: sheep graze Pit 5 (north of the western
entrance corridor) at the end of J uly 1995.
Source: Thompson 1996, Fig 11
Fig 38: detail of Pit 5 showing sheep grazing
and trampling damage.
Source: Thompson 1996, Fig 12
Page 48 of 170
4.26 Between about 1996 and 2004, there was a breakdown in site maintenance. Sheep
grazing ceased and effective maintenance became increasingly more difficult. This led to a
rapid deterioration in the overall appearance and condition of the monument. Visitors who
remembered the site when it was well maintained told the EH Field Monument Warden
(FMW) that they felt a sense of loss because the hillfort looked so uncared for, with dense
vegetation growth, vandalised signage and gates and fences falling into disrepair. This
deterioration resulted in Old Oswestry being assessed as a site at high risk when the
monument was evaluated for the EH Scheduled Monuments at Risk (SM@R) survey in 2004,
a ranking that has now been reduced to medium (generally satisfactory, but with significant
localised problems) due to the recent and ongoing improvements mentioned below.














D. Current management

D. Current management

4.27 This section provides an overview of current management based on fieldwork and
liaison with personnel who are responsible for, and interested in, the management of the
hillfort. Reference has also been made to EH Registry files, and the most recent Periodic
Condition Survey (Donald Insall Associates Ltd 2009) which feeds into the Asset
Management Plan (AMP) programme.

4.28 It is clear that the cumulative effects of past episodes of un-sustained management have
left a legacy of problems for those managing Old Oswestry today. This includes the spread of
dense bracken and woody growth. In addition, the lack of sustained ecological monitoring and
survey, over what appears to be a long period, means that there is no current reliable baseline
data to aid site maintenance. The need for this was stressed in the 1994 Management Plan. In
view of the ecological value of this site it is important to know whether its features are being
maintained and, in particular how it is responding to management (Thompson & Cathersides
1994, 17).

4.29 However, considerable progress in redressing the balance has been made. A targeted
GMC, informed by specific advice on the integrated control of weed species (Walker, 2004),
has been operating since February 2005. Brian Clarke reports that the GMC was written as a
five-year project, in order to stabilise the situation across the site. However, in the first couple
of years the contract was not tightly managed and the contractors not adequately supervised.
When Brian Clarke assumed responsibility for the project it was re-invigorated and was
returned to the original programme of works. As a consequence, significant improvements
have been made in the management of the site.


Fig 39: the southern defences in September 2005 Fig 40: the southern defences in February 2010
Page 49 of 170

4.30 The GMC was operating until very recently without the benefit of sheep grazing which,
as mentioned previously (4.19), was identified in the 1994 Management Plan as the primary
and potentially most effective means of vegetation control. Sheep were re-introduced to the
site in the autumn of 2009. The grazing regime is now more tightly controlled than previously
and the sheep graze in two fenced-off compartments separated by the eastern entrance
corridor. They are moved between the two compartments, which minimises any disruption to
visitors and allows each area to recover to the required state. It is too early to know whether
the current stocking levels are adequate to address vegetation re-growth. However, Malcolm
Roberts, the grazier comments that on the whole people enjoy seeing the sheep on the hill
and they certainly are doing a good job of regenerating the grasses and many other plants, the
density of animals are the key to it, too many and too few would be a problem.

4.31 It is already clear that sheep are being used to good effect, but it is worth noting the
observations made by John Thompson during his ecological survey of 2003, that sheep have a
negligible effect on the colonisation of the site by shrubs and young trees; that they do not
prevent the spread of bracken and that they do little to prevent the spread of willowherb.
Adverse effects, some quite marked, include eating summer flowers, trampling wet hollows
and physical damage to the greater broomrape (Brian Clarke pers comm).

4.32 These observations have informed the current GMC, which appears to largely follow the
methodology prescribed in the 1994 Management Plan. It follows the principle that no single
method of vegetation control is suitable for Old Oswestry, because of the constraints posed by
public use, grazing and by the sites ecology. It adheres to an integrated approach using
grazing, chemical and mechanical methods to control target species within the constraints
mentioned.

4.33 Some maintenance tasks are annual, for example cutting bracken, willowherb and
woody growth, and treating the latter with herbicide. Other work is specific for each year of
the contract. For example, one pond is cleared each year and the condition of tree stumps is
monitored. Some of the work has taken more time than expected: bracken and willowherb
clearance needs further work; woody growth removal has been effective, but there is more to
do and the ponds need further investigation before any more work is done on them (Brian
Clarke pers comm).

4.34 The GMC was extended by one year until end of February 2010 to allow much of the
work programme to be completed. Following this, some work will be required to prevent re-
growth of woody material and bracken. It is understood that Old Oswestry is due to be
combined with a larger GMC for other Guardianship sites in Shropshire (Brian Clarke pers
comm).

4.35 In addition to vegetation control, the GMC has responsibility for some of the site
furniture. The original (ie prior to 2005) cyclical maintenance contract was more inclusive
than it is now and included fences, gates, etc. Due to budgetary constraints, its remit was
reduced and now includes only the inspection of gates and the cleaning of signs. The newly
constructed floating path and steps (Figs 30-31 and 60-61, and Appendix 3, Figs 197-201)
are not yet included in this contract and the results of a risk assessment of it by EH are
imminent (Richard Zeizer pers comm).

4.36 The prescribed management of Old Oswestry (and its setting) under the Entry Level
Scheme includes regulation of the use of fertilisers, management by grazing with cattle and
spot treatment of weeds using environmentally sensitive herbicides (see further Appendix 5).

4.37 The site is currently allocated the same staff time, resources and management as any
other un-staffed West Midlands Guardianship site (Brian Clarke pers comm), although its
Page 50 of 170
somewhat remote location can prove onerous to some managers with a responsibility for
management of the monument. Others, though more locally based, visit the site infrequently.
For example, the role of the locally-based HEFA (formerly FMW), Jenny Marriott, is limited
to one or two visits a year and Lee Allison, the EH Visitor Operations Manager for northern
Shropshire, visits the site on a quarterly basis. However, distance from management bases is
offset to some extent by the fact that the GMC contractors, Hortech Ltd (based in Oswestry),
have very specific instructions within the contract to report any damage to the site (Brian
Clarke pers comm).

4.38 As already mentioned, the current management regime is still recovering from past un-
sustained management, including the lack of sheep grazing. But some aspects of the hillforts
condition are satisfactory. For example, there are few signs of commonly occurring earthwork
vulnerabilities, such as damage from vehicular erosion, livestock poaching, tree growth and
badger damage. (There was also no badger activity noted in the 1994 Management Plan
(Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 8)). The interior of the hillfort has a good protective grass
cover and is grazed by cattle between mid April and the end of October only. Vehicular
damage is limited to: the cattle track leading to the eastern entrance: the smaller pit group
(possible mountain bike activity); and rutting below the larger pit group (caused by past
mechanical vegetation clearance using tractors this activity has reportedly now ceased).

4.39 Due to the general absence of trees on the site, there is little threat from wind-throw or
reduction in light to the grass sward. The exception in the latter respect is the perimeter
boundary along the counterscarp bank (Rampart 5) where mature unmanaged hawthorn is
preventing grass growth and encouraging rabbits (Appendix 3, Figs 180 and 181). The larger
pit group to the north of the western entrance corridor is being colonised by self-set trees
(Appendix 3, Figs 119, 123 and 125), but retaining some trees may be beneficial to wildlife,
and tree removal would need to be judged according to the ecological as well as
archaeological needs.

4.40 Woody scrub, including brambles, elder, thorn, gorse and broom are not extensive on
the site, but occur in pockets. Scrub vegetation is most prevalent on the outer face of Rampart
4 (Figs 42 and 43), Rampart 3 and the steep natural slope along the southern defences (Fig
44) and the perimeter boundary alongside the counterscarp bank (Rampart 5) (Fig 45). This
dense growth presents an entrapment hazard for sheep. The extent to which present stocking
levels of sheep can keep down re-growth remains to be established (though the grazier is
satisfied so far (see 4.30 above). Any excessive re-growth will pave the way for bracken and
burrowing animals to encroach. The scrub also detracts visually from the appearance of the
monument and can be an obstacle to maintenance. However, broom is of nature conservation
value as it is host to the nationally rare greater broomrape (see 2.24 above).
















Page 51 of 170

























































Fig 42: woody growth on the outer face of
Rampart 4
Fig 43: broom and other woody growth on
the outer face of Rampart 4
Fig 44: broom and gorse on the southern
defences
Fig 45: woody growth along the perimeter
fence, the western side of the hillfort

Fig 41: broom is a conspicuous feature in J une. Source: Thompson
1996, Fig 3
Page 52 of 170




















4.41 The potentially more damaging management concerns are bracken encroachment, rabbit
activity and recreational use.

4.42 As already mentioned, bracken is still a force to be reckoned with on the site. Bracken
growth is now partially under control via the GMC and work is being undertaken in the
appropriate manner to safeguard the ecology of the site. Some parts of the site, particularly on
the south and south east sides (Fig 49) are already improving, but bracken still covers
significant parts of the monument. There are potentially damaging patches of bracken that are
likely to be prejudicial to the long-term preservation of the earthworks due to competition
with grass, root and rhizome action and water uptake. The task in hand is enormous and more
time needs to be allowed to see the efficacy of control methods, given the constraints on
them:
Bracken is the main weed species on the site that requires control. The site
geography and its biological and botanical sensitivity greatly reduce the options
available for control. It will, to a lesser extent, determine the overall control strategy
for bracken control on the site (Walker 2004, 22).
It is unlikely that bracken will ever be totally eradicated and this may not be wholly desirable
in order to support various invertebrates (Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 11). In addition, the
control of bracken and willowherb on the steeper parts (eg the southern and south eastern
defences) is a serious logistical problem. Hortech Ltd specialises in pesticide work and within
current health and safety restrictions they can struggle to treat some areas of the site. They
have used lances to extend their reach where possible, and they have made a significant
impact in this respect in the last few years (Brian Clarke pers comm).

4.43 Among areas worst affected by bracken growth are the north and west sides of the
hillfort, especially the ditch between the innermost rampart and Rampart 2 (Fig 46) and along
the counterscarp bank (Rampart 5) (Fig 48). Also supporting dense bracken growth is
Rampart 3 and the natural slope along the southern and south eastern defences (Fig 47). The
logistics of bracken control on the steep eastern defences make sheep grazing the preferred
option here.






Fig 46: dense bracken on the outer face of
innermost rampart (Rampart 1), the north
western side of hillfort
Fig 47: bracken clothing the eastern defences
Page 53 of 170



















4.44 Rabbit activity, which was not perceived to be a problem in the early to mid 1990s
(Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 8) is becoming widespread and damaging. It is noticeable
across the site generally and is especially marked on the counterscarp (Rampart 5), including
against the collapsing revetment wall along the cattle track up to the east entrance corridor
(Figs 50 and 51). There is some mole activity but this is currently less damaging and
restricted to areas of shorter grass near the west entrance corridor (Appendix 3, Figs 185 and
186).

















4.45 Most of the earthwork erosion results from recreational use of the site, across which the
public have free rein. The paths around the defensive circuit are well-used. There is no access
for horse riders. Most of these paths are generally in a stable condition, though compacted and
worn down to soil and with exposed stone in some places. However, the ramparts invite
exploration with the consequent wearing of informal paths between them, and due to their
steepness, entrenching of the paths is occurring, exacerbated by water run-off. This may
eventually result in localised collapse and colonisation by weeds, scrub and burrowing
animals.

4.46 Photographs of path erosion from 1994 (Thompson & Cathersides 1994) compared with
the same erosion sites today confirm that the path surfaces are robust enough to withstand this
pressure. However, some of the more substantial informal paths down steep ramparts give

Fig 48: bracken colonising the counterscarp
bank (Rampart 5) on the north western side
of the hillfort
Fig 49: innermost rampart (Rampart 1) on
the south eastern side of the hillfort
showing an area free of bracken
Fig 50: rabbit activity under hawthorns
along the perimeter fence
Fig 51: rabbit activity along cattle track
below the eastern entrance corridor

Page 54 of 170
more cause for concern. For example, there is a long informal path across Rampart 2 on the
western side of the hillfort, where exposed stonework is visible in several places (Fig 52).
Other badly affected areas are on Rampart 1 (Fig 53), Rampart 2 (Fig 54) and Rampart 4 (eg
Appendix 3, Figs 154 and 155). Degradation of the grass around most of the pedestrian gates
(eg Appendix 3, Figs 209 and 210) and next to the information panels (eg Figs 59 and
Appendix 3, Fig 191) is evident. Similarly, soil has been exposed along both sides of the
floating path, caused by some visitors not wishing to use the path because of its uneven
nature (Fig 55).





































4.47 There appears to be no detailed record over time of erosion across the site to allow
effective monitoring of the worst-affected areas. This would allow repair work to be
prioritised. The 1994 Management Plan (Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 19) refers to a
survey of erosion along footpaths, but this has not been located. Repairs to eroded paths were
included in the work programme for 1995-6, but it is not known whether the works were ever
undertaken.

4.48 Redundant fence posts (Appendix 3, Figs 75 and 76), a displaced survey pin (Appendix
3, Fig 73) and other debris make the site look untidy, and potentially dangerous to visitors and
animals.


Fig 52: informal path worn across
Rampart 2 on the western side of the
hillfort
Fig 55: exposure of soil along the sides of
the floating path
Fig 54: informal path on top of Rampart 2,
the east side of the hillfort
Fig 53: informal path worn up the outer face
of the innermost rampart (Rampart 1) on the
north eastern side of the hillfort



Page 55 of 170

4.49 Dog fouling is evident particularly on the defences alongside the pits to the north of the
western entrance corridor. There are no signs asking visitors to clear up after their dogs
(although a wheelie bin is provided in the car park) and no signs asking people not to drop
litter, although litter is not currently a major problem. No fly-tipping has been observed.

4.50 The perimeter post and wire fence around the outer boundary of the hillfort is falling
into disrepair, and it is of concern to David Kempster that it is becoming increasingly
ineffective as a stock boundary due to gaps, broken barbed wire and insecure posts. The
fence, in this condition, also detracts from the visual appearance of the site. Parts of the fence,
particularly on the east and west sides of the hillfort, are being colonised by scrub and
bracken making the accompanying cover a haven for rabbits (eg Fig 50 and see also the
Periodic Condition Survey by Donald Insall Associates 2009, 3.1.0).

4.51 The seven pits to the north of the western entrance corridor appear not have been
properly maintained for some time (Fig 56 and Appendix 3, Figs 110, 111, 113). They contain
trees (willows) and saplings, and are choked with vegetation. Only Pit 5 has visibly clear
water. It is likely that the pits are not in an appropriate condition to support the newt
populations and doubtless other significant species are vulnerable (Robin Mager pers comm).

4.52 Although the ecology of the site appears to have been monitored regularly in the mid
1990s (Thompson 1996, 2), it is apparent that there has been little regular liaison with bodies
such as SWT in recent years. Therefore, there is no reliable baseline data to enable a balance
to be struck between the archaeological and the ecological maintenance needs of the site.

4.53 However, it is apparent that surveys have been undertaken that could have been made
available to inform site maintenance. For example, Alex Lockton, co-ordinator for the BSBI
carried out an ecological survey with students in 2007 and made the following comment in an
e-mail, dated 3
rd
March 2010, to Maggie Rowlands, Regeneration Officer with Shropshire
Council:

... I've probably taken two lots of students to Old Oswestry... to do comprehensive
surveys...3 years ago. We were surprised (and amused) by the management, which
seemed to include such things as spraying every yellow-flowered plant on the off-
chance that it might be ragwort, and other bizarre practices. Happily the broomrape
moved to a different slope and has been (2008 last time I saw it) abundant about
100 stems. ... How can we use the data to ensure some sensible management?

In response to this observation, EH has confirmed that, apart from one reported incident to the
contrary, ragwort is not sprayed on site but is hand-pulled and placed in sealed bags as
specified within the GMC (Brian Clarke pers comm).















Fig 56: Pit 4 (north of western entrance
corridor) in March 2010, choked with rotting
vegetation
Fig 57: Pit 4 in December 1993.
Source: Thompson & Cathersides 1994, Pl 13
Page 56 of 170

4.54 Amenity provision has been much improved via the Old Oswestry Hillfort Visitor
Improvements Project (see 2.30 above). However, there are a number of outstanding issues
(4.55-4.61 below).

4.55 Location of signage. The number of interpretative and directional signs across the site,
seven in all, has been kept to a minimum to avoid having a negative aesthetic and
archaeological impact. However, a sign on the top of the innermost rampart, close to the west
entrance, is an intrusive feature on the skyline when viewed from the entrance corridor (Fig
58) and when seen from the interior of the site looking west.




















4.56 Appearance and content of signage. This is generally adequate, but the large black H
sign at the entrance is visually unattractive, though informative (Fig 59). The use of the word
sensational in the title of this panel is a word not commonly used on EH signage, but is
perhaps appropriate in this particular case. Most of the remaining signs are functional and
informative. The sign on Rampart 4, which focuses on Wats Dyke and points the visitor in its
direction is, however, inadequate in reflecting the true nature and significance of the World
War One remains (see 3.2.6 and 3.5.4 above). Next to the farm track in the eastern entrance
corridor, a sign indicating the Old Oswestry Tour is anomalous and confusing, being the
only one of its type. It is also visually unattractive (Appendix 3, Fig 207).

4.57 Temporary signage. The signs put up by the grazier on green and blue plastic box lids
concerning the presence of sheep (eg Appendix 3, Figs 206 and 208) are adequate, though
somewhat makeshift. However, they are not removed or covered up when sheep are not
grazing the site and as a consequence, visitors think these are no-go areas when they are not.
The 1994 Management Plan made it clear that notices should be taken down or covered up
when sheep are not present (Thompson & Cathersides 1994, 15).

4.58 The floating path (Figs 30, 31, 61 and Appendix 3 Figs 197-201). This has had a
mixed reception. Many feel that it is intrusive and out of keeping with the hillfort and would
be more suitable to a castle site with structural remains. Others say that the surface stone is
uncomfortable to walk on unless in heavy-soled shoes and, perhaps more significantly, it is
reportedly impossible to push a wheelchair or pushchair up the path. This is unfortunate as the
path was installed to help disabled people reach the top of the site, as well as to stop erosion,
particularly during wet weather when the corridor developed into a quagmire.


Fig 58: inappropriately placed information
panel dominating the skyline on top of the
innermost rampart (Rampart 1), viewed
from the east

Fig 59: information panel adjacent to the
gates of the western entrance, with exposed
soil around the base
Page 57 of 170
4.59 The steps across the western ramparts. These were constructed in the same style and
materials as the floating path, and have also had a mixed reception. The handrail is thought
by some to be unsightly, but is a necessary safety measure. The steps visual intrusion on the
earthworks is very marked especially when viewed side-on (Fig 60).



















4.60 Use of the gate leading into the grazed field at the top of the floating path. David
Kempster reports that dog walkers open the gate and let their dogs run wild across the field,
often frightening cattle. Prior to the new wicket gate being installed, there was a field gate
here barring visitor access. The issue of public access to this field has been a contentious one
for some time. The Guardianship status of this field should permit public access to it, but the
gate is nevertheless sometimes padlocked by Mr Kempster.

4.61 Car parks. The larger of the two car parks, next to Gatacre Sports Field (off Gatacre
Avenue), is the one intended for most visitors with cars, whereas the other, smaller car park,
opposite the main entrance to the monument on Llwyn Road, is intended for disabled visitors.
To some visitors, whether disabled or not, it has become custom and practice to use the
disabled car park. Observations suggest that these are mainly dog walkers who do not stay for
long periods so there is a quick turn around. When this car park is full people tend to park on
the nearby grass verge. The other concern is when events are held at the site, but this has been
overcome with the addition of temporary signs directing people to the Gatacre car park
(Maggie Rowlands pers comm).

















Fig 60: steps across the western
defences
Fig 61: floating path in the foreground
with steps leading to up to the innermost
rampart (Rampart 1)

Fig 62: car park sign on Llwyn Road

Fig 63: sign pointing to the disabled car park
Page 58 of 170

4.62 The scheduled status of Old Oswestry affords it statutory protection, which provides a
legal framework for the implementation of management measures. However, according to the
mapped depiction of the scheduled area (Fig 3) it appears that not all the monument (most
especially sections of the counterscarp bank Rampart 5) is legally protected. The mapped
depiction does not truly reflect what was intended when the scheduling of the monument was
revised in 1997 (see 1.6 and 2.21 above). The constraint area line description, produced as
part of the review process (but not included in the scheduled description, which is authorised
on behalf of the Secretary of State), makes it clear that the constraint line was drawn round
the whole of the hillfort, together with a 5m margin considered essential for the support and
protection of the monument. This anomaly could cause management problems and leave the
counterscarp bank vulnerable to any unsympathetic management, although this is unlikely
under the current management of Oldport Farm (see 4.63 below).

4.63 A condition of the current ELS (Appendix 5) is that 6m margins are left around the edge
of the hillfort and this broadly coincides with the 5m constraint area afforded by the
scheduling protection. However, the constraints under ELS are not statutorily imposed and
the monument could in future be left seemingly unprotected if, upon expiry in 2011, the
ELS is not renewed and the areas of concern remain excluded from the scheduling map.


E. The existing policy framework signposts to the future?

4.64 A wide range of local and national policy documents has been examined in relation to
the management of Old Oswestry. These documents contain policies that can influence and
support the promotion of Old Oswestry as a place of cultural/historical and ecological
significance, as well as an accessible green space. This section examines the relevance of
these strategies and policies to sustaining these significances.

4.65 According to the current Heritage Bill (DCMS 2007; 2008), the forthcoming Act will
provide a framework for fundamental change in the management of all Scheduled
Monuments, including properties in Guardianship. Under the proposed legislation, the
objective for future management is to simplify the current system under which separate
consents have to be granted for separate management initiatives, however minor these might
be. Under this proposed legislation a more streamlined system would operate via Heritage
Partnership Agreements (HPAs), which would serve as an overarching framework within
which regular cyclical maintenance, as well as one-off management initiatives, could be
implemented. HPAs would be able to grant consent for relatively minor and/or repetitive
works such as fencing, sign-posting and routine repairs to footpaths, and specified in an AMP
survey. On the other hand, certain works would require separate consent and might typically
include all repairs to earthworks.

4.66 Within the HPA, management objectives could be achieved via Environmental
Stewardship or management agreements with individual private owners. The HPA would be a
public document agreed with the Local Authority and would be subject to monitoring and
performance regulation. An HPA for Old Oswestry would operate under the current
legislation, but could serve as a model to be tested in advance of a new Heritage Act. Partners
would normally include the owner (in the case of Old Oswestry, the EH Conservation and
Protection section would fulfil the role of manager), the Local Planning Authority (Shropshire
Council) and the EH Planning and Development Group. Consultees could typically include
adjoining occupiers, relevant local and national amenity societies and other relevant local and
national bodies. This Conservation Plan could therefore feed into an updated Management
Plan/Local Management Agreement that contains strategic options and methods for sustaining
the various significances identified in the Conservation Plan. This would then lead to a series
Page 59 of 170
of HPAs targeted at specific works and cyclical operations (eg routine maintenance works
such as those in the GMC) that would be prioritised.

4.67 Local government policy is underpinned at a national and regional level by a number of
key strategic documents, including: Power of Place (EH 2000); The State of the Natural
Environment (NE 2008); Regional Spatial Strategy for the West Midlands, incorporating the
Regional Transport Strategy (WMRA 2008); The West Midlands Regional Economic
Strategy (WMRA 2007); Restoring the Regions Wildlife: the Regional Biodiversity Strategy
for the West Midlands (WMRA 2005); Growing Our Future: the West Midlands Regional
Forestry Framework (Forestry Commission 2004); and the West Midlands Health and Well
Being Strategy (WMRHP 2008). These documents therefore provide a context for the
objectives of this Conservation Plan.

4.68 Shropshires new policy framework is not yet complete. The Local Development
Framework (LDF) is in place (SCC & District Councils 2008) and the Shropshire Core
Strategy is now published (Shropshire Council 2010b). Through the Core Strategy the
majority of the saved policies contained in the Local and Structure Plans will
eventually be replaced. The Structure Plan is not discussed in detail here as it provides a
strategic framework for the more comprehensive policies in the Local Plan, which are
discussed are below.

4.69 Appendix 1 of the Shropshire Core Strategy, makes it clear that there is likely to be
adequate and detailed policy coverage of the historic and natural environments. The
suggestion by bodies such as CPRE (cpre@cpreshropshire.org.uk) that the natural and
historic environments will be given a low priority in the Core Strategy is perhaps unfounded,
as the inclusion of the saved policies should redress the balance. Indeed, EH has commented
that the inclusion of specific reference to the natural and historic environment/heritage is
welcomed at this stage and that the follow-on action planning (to work up the more detailed
saved policies) provides scope to expand on this in more detail (Amanda Smith pers comm).

4.70 The main Core Strategy policies of relevance to the objectives of this Conservation Plan
are CS5 (Countryside and Green Belt), CS6 (Sustainable Design and Development
Principles), CS16 (Tourism and Culture) and CS17 (Environmental Networks). Between
them, they include such subject areas as archaeological remains of national and regional
importance, archaeologically sensitive areas, sites of special conservation value, and wildlife
sites.

4.71 The Tourism, Culture and Leisure policy (CS16) focuses on the protection of existing
assets in order to make the most of them to develop a unique brand for visitors to
Shropshire. It stresses the importance of:
Promoting connections between visitors and Shropshires natural, cultural and
historic environment, including through active recreation, access to heritage trails
and parkland and an enhanced value of local food, drinks and crafts.
Supporting development that promotes opportunities for accessing, understanding
and engaging with Shropshires landscape, cultural and historic assets

4.72 The Environmental Networks policy (CS17) is concerned with the protection and
enhancement of Shropshires environmental assets and sets out to create a multifunctional
network of natural and historic resources; it protects and enhances:
the diversity, high quality and local character of Shropshires natural, built and
historic environment and does not adversely affect the visual, ecological, heritage or
recreational values and functions of these assets, their immediate surroundings or
their connecting corridors
Page 60 of 170
Contributes to local distinctiveness, having regard to the quality of Shropshires
environment, including landscape, biodiversity and heritage assets.

4.73 The Core Strategy also emphasises the importance of the distinctiveness of landscapes,
which often transcend administrative boundaries. Thus:
All new development should take account of the features which generate local
distinctiveness, both within Shropshire and its surrounds. Evidence from the
Landscape Character Assessment, Historic Landscape Characterisation and Urban
Characterisation Assessment should be used to ensure proposals contribute towards
retaining and enhancing these assets and thereby making a positive contribution to the
environment. (page 105)

4.74 Until more detailed policies (the saved policies from the Local and Structure Plans) are
available, the Oswestry Borough Local Plan 1996-2006 remains the primary policy document
that makes specific reference to Old Oswestry. It includes a number of policies of particular
relevance to the conservation of the monument. These are grouped under the tourism and
the natural and historic environment headings. The Boroughs broad tourism strategy has
been re-vitalised under the Oswestry Borough Council Tourism Development Strategy 2007-
2017. It is surmised that this will feed into more detailed policies within the LDF in due
course.

4.75 The cultural and communal significance of Old Oswestry is acknowledged by both the
Tourism Development Strategy and by the Local Plan. For example, the Local Plans Policy
TM 14 specifically identifies the hillfort as a tourist attraction and growing force within the
local economy. The Strategy points to the Oswestry area as one rich in history and makes
special mention of Old Oswestry as a tourist attraction. One of the Strategys four objectives
is to encourage the sensitive preservation and enhancement of heritage and of culture. The
Local Plans policy TM14 specifically promotes the development of a car park and an
interpretation centre adjacent to the site. Access and interpretation improvements have of
course been realised through the Old Oswestry Hillfort Visitor Improvements Project (see
2.30 above), but there is still potential for further interpretation and raising the publics
awareness of Old Oswestry as a visitor attraction. This is acknowledged in the Strategys
action plan to review the visitor management infrastructure (eg signage and car parking) and
to provide high quality information to TICs.

4.76 Other policies within the Local Plans tourism strategy concern the use of open space as
a quality of life asset (the value of this is acknowledged also in the Tourism Development
Strategy). In particular, amenity open space, such as Old Oswestry, is regarded as being of
value to the local community and in terms of its contribution to the character and appearance
of the area. Policy O2 protection of open spaces, specifically urges protection of so-called
green wedges that form an important part of the Urban Green Network as set out in Policy
OS9.

4.77 The Urban Green Network promotes the value of the amenity, recreational and urban
wildlife resource, including features such as public footpaths and open spaces. It emphasises
the value of green corridors that allow free passage of flora and fauna and it specifically
mentions Old Oswestry as an isolated site of high wildlife value (see 2.22-2.25 above).

4.78 The Local Plan recognises the importance and diversity of the historic environment and
the need to protect, enhance and preserve sites of archaeological interest and their settings.
Policy HE 13 details a presumption against development that would impact on nationally
important archaeological remains, whether scheduled or not, or development that would have
a significant impact on the setting of visible remains. The Tourism Development Strategy also
acknowledges the evidential significance of archaeological sites in the Oswestry area.
Page 61 of 170

4.79 Local Plan Policy NE2 makes provision for protection of the site by ensuring that:
...new developments in the countryside will minimise adverse visual impacts,
conserve and where possible enhance the value of wildlife; avoid damage to the
historic environment including archaeological remains and other historic features in
the landscape and their settings.

4.80 Further Local Plan policies are designed to protect wildlife habitats. For example, Policy
NE7 states:
Development proposals affecting protected species or habitats will not be permitted
unless adequate provision is made for their protection.
and Policy NE 10 specifies that:
...wildlife sites of local ecological and environmental importance are a material
consideration in development proposals affecting such sites. There will be a
requirement to protect features of scientific and conservation value.
Old Oswestry is not accorded Local Nature Reserve status in the Local Plan, but the Plan
makes it clear that other sites will be considered as opportunity arises during the Plan period.

4.81 The Shropshire Cultural Strategy, (SCC & Telford and Wrekin Council 2009), the
Shropshire Community Strategy (Shropshire Council 2010a), and the Countryside Access
Strategy for Shropshire, 2008-2018 (SCC 2008), all have important implications for Old
Oswestry.

4.82 The Cultural Strategy aims to raise awareness of the importance of Shropshires culture
and heritage and to ensure their place in major policy initiatives and developments is not
overlooked. It recognises the importance of Shropshires Welsh border history, its artistic and
literary traditions and iconic figures, including Wilfred Owen (see 3.3.3 above), and the
diversity of the people who have occupied the county. It acknowledges (page 30) the part that
the EH properties can play in tourism focused on culture.

4.83 Significantly, during the consultation period for the Cultural Strategy, ninety four
percent of people felt a personal attachment to the rural environment and valued landscape
and the historic environment. Promoting access to the countryside and improvement and
maintenance of PROW were felt to be important, and significance was attached to increasing
awareness and understanding of the countys natural and built environments its geology,
natural history, archaeology and history:
People living in Shropshire tell us that what they appreciate is its distinctive
greenness, tranquillity, authenticity and independence. They feel a deep sense of
ownership of its natural landscape, diverse geology and biodiversity. They feel that
the more relaxed way of life in Shropshire is in tune with the landscapes natural
rhythms, tranquillity and greenery. They are conscious of its rich history as the
borderland between England and Wales and its contribution to the Industrial
Revolution. (Shropshire Cultural Strategy, page 21)

4.84 Many people felt that Shropshires heritage was not being utilised to the full and that the
county is hiding its treasures. Encouraging cultural tourism was considered a priority area,
though the need to carefully manage the impact of increased tourism on cultural resources,
community life and the environment was also recognised.

4.85 The actions that emanate from the Cultural Strategy include: learning outside the
classroom; developing skills in the countryside; developing a volunteering strategy and
programme of support for it; developing the potential for more integrated working between
different organisations; linking sources of information; and maintaining a diverse programme
of events. These actions accord well with recommendations made in Section 5.
Page 62 of 170

4.86 The Community Strategys aims and those of the Countryside Access Strategy further
endorse these objectives.

4.87 Key priorities in the Community Strategy include: conserving and enhancing valued
characteristics of the local landscape; raising environmental awareness; monitoring and
contributing to the quality of land use and development; contributing to the control of
physical factors that lead to degradation of environment or quality of life; encouraging
farming and land management that support a sustainable economy, environment and a healthy
community; and sustaining leisure and recreation.

4.88 The Countryside Access Strategy acknowledges the importance of the cultural heritage,
stating:
There is a potential to raise the profile of what the countryside has to offer through
the development and enhancement of existing festivals and events. Shropshires 431
Scheduled Monumentsare already popular with visitors.Many of these assets are
accessible from rights of way, permissive paths and/or open land. (Countryside
Access Strategy, page 60)

4.89 The main actions for the Access Strategy include: increasing and improving
opportunities for everyone to access the Shropshire countryside; making improvements to the
rights of way network; improving information on access opportunities for users; increasing
the number of locally promoted routes; encouraging more community participation in
countryside access issues; promoting the benefits that access to the countryside brings to both
mental and physical health; fully understanding what would encourage hard-to-reach groups
to better access the countryside.

4.90 As mentioned previously, Old Oswestry has been designated a County Wildlife Site
(1.7). While this designation recognises the nature conservation value of the site, it does not
provide statutory protection, although its ecological significance is protected from the adverse
effects of development through local planning policies.

4.91 In addition, the Shropshire Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) affords the ecology of the
site some protection and recognition. The BAP operates at the local level within the
Governments response to the Convention on Biological Diversity, signed in 1992. The Plan
for the county was produced by the Shropshire Biodiversity Partnership (represented by local
and national organisations, including SWT, RSPB, NE and Shropshire Council) and is one of
the eleven local Biodiversity Action Plans in the West Midlands.

4.92 While Old Oswestry is not mentioned in the Shropshire BAP, the site supports a diverse
range of priority or protected species (see 2.23-2.25 above and Appendix 2). Shropshire
Council aims to create specific actions for specific sites and Old Oswestry would be a prime
candidate for specific actions listed in the BAP. For example: maintaining the pools within
the pits to the north of the western entrance corridor to ensure that all the three newt species
present are protected; retaining broom to ensure the survival of the parasitic greater
broomrape; and managing the grasslands appropriately.

4.93 County Wildlife Sites that have had significant positive management in the last five
years can achieve high scores under the Local Area Agreement National Indicator No. 197
that was introduced for biodiversity sites in 2008. A high score for Old Oswestry would
further acknowledge the sites ecological significance (Dan Wrench pers comm).

4.94 Notwithstanding the safeguards provided by the policy framework discussed above,
there are development pressures in Oswestry to build on the green belt for commercial,
Page 63 of 170
housing and employment needs. It is envisaged that such pressure will only increase in future.
The Direction for Growth in the Core Strategy acknowledges that:
The northern parts of the town [Oswestry] are particularly constrained [for
development]. In these locations there are considered to be no opportunities to
accommodate development without significant harm to the landscape, the setting of
valued environmental assets and the setting and approaches to the town. (Core
Strategy, page 41)

4.95 In conclusion, the policy framework actively supports the protection and enhancement
of Old Oswestry and its immediate environment, reflecting the values highlighted in Section 3
of this Conservation Plan. It is hoped, therefore, that the emerging detailed policies within the
LDF will provide further support for realising the recommendations made in Section 5.
Page 64 of 170


5. Recommendations for the investigation, presentation and
maintenance of Old Oswestry


5.1 The recommendations made here are underpinned by the sites significances, as presented in
Section 3, and in the light of recent and present management of the monument, as set out in
Section 4. The recommendations are presented according to the four heritage values: evidential,
historical, aesthetic and communal, and the underlying conservation principles as set out by EH
(2008b).

5.2 It is clear that the attributes of the site, as outlined in Section 3, are all of equal importance.
Together they form a compelling reason to conserve and present the monument to the highest
possible standard for current and future generations. With these comments in mind, it is believed
that all the recommendations are achievable, although pragmatism and a balanced approach are
needed.

5.3 The recommendations made here represent short, medium and long term goals. The order in
which they are presented does not reflect any predicted timescales or prioritisation.



5.4 Evidential

5.4.1 Old Oswestry is a hugely significant archaeological resource. Its importance is
derived not only from its prehistoric legacy, but also from its contribution to later periods
of history. Its incorporation into Wats Dyke marks a chapter in the formation of early
medieval Britain and it played an important role in the first of two world wars that so
dramatically shaped the world in which we live. Old Oswestry is also important for the
richness of its wildlife and is a key component in maintaining the biodiversity of the local
area.

5.4.2 In relation to its cultural significance, the full extent of the monument must be protected. It
is therefore important that the map extract showing the scheduled area is altered to indicate the
full extent of the monuments protected status. This can easily be done with reference to the EH
field survey plan. At the same time the description of the monument should be revised, most
notably in respect of the World War One military remains to highlight their survival and
importance.

5.4.3 Papers relating to Varley and ONeils excavation (eg a draft excavation report) and
Aspinalls geophysical survey are currently contained in an EH Registry file. These papers, and
all associated correspondence, should be copied and added to the archive for the site held by the
NMR.

5.4.4 The World War One military remains are at present largely overlooked, and their layout
and extent incompletely recorded. In order to address these issues a concerted programme is
needed to investigate these remains, drawing on the expertise from within EH and other
organisations. A three-stage programme is recommended for consideration.
Use the recent aerial photographs to aid the completion of the EH field survey. These
photographs provide clarity to the apparent complexity of the surviving earthworks.
Use geophysical methods to help discern the layout of these features, and to provide
Page 65 of 170


information on their depth, degree of survival and phasing. Geophysical methods have
been used to great effect elsewhere on battlefield remains of this period. The application
of high definition LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) could also prove useful.
Following this non-invasive work, devise a programme of limited excavation to examine
the construction methods employed in, and the use of, particular parts of the military
complex. The artefacts recovered will provide an indication of the types of warfare
practiced and may indicate which regiments used this training facility. This work could
be supplemented by research of the appropriate archive sources (eg any records in the
National Archives relating to Park Hall Camp during World War One).

5.4.5 Non-invasive surveys of the types noted above would also be of enormous help in
establishing where, within the interior, prehistoric, and perhaps Roman and post-Roman,
structural features remain undisturbed from effects of later activity.

5.4.6 The occupational and constructional sequence at Old Oswestry is ill-defined (ambiguous)
and imprecisely dated. This has an enormous bearing on our understanding of the cultural
sequence in this area from later prehistoric times to the early medieval period. As a consequence,
opportunities should be sought to conduct excavations to examine the surviving occupational and
constructional remains, drawing on the expertise from within EH and outside bodies, including
academic institutions. A two-stage programme is recommended.
The re-examination of Varley and ONeils excavation trenches within the interior,
extending their excavation and conducting limited work in other areas, based on the
results of the non-invasive surveys advocated previously.
The re-examination of Varley and ONeils excavation trenches across the defences,
extending their excavation and conducting limited work in other areas, based on the
results of the EH field survey. It is important to emphasise that, if excavation of the
defences was to be carried out, significant wildlife habitats must not be interfered with.
A fundamental aspect of this programme would be the re-examination of all records and other
archive sources pertaining to the excavation conducted by Varley and ONeil, together with the
report produced by Hughes (1996). Such an excavation programme would, by its very nature,
address issues raised in national and regional research frameworks (eg Haselgrove et al 2001; the
Research Framework for the Archaeology of Wales www.archaeoleg.org.uk; the EH Research
Framework for the West Midlands www.iaa.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/wmrrfa).

5.4.7 Recent investigations of Wats Dyke have re-evaluated the monument, with important new
information about the date of its construction (see 2.16.1 above). The details on the information
panel about the Dyke are therefore out of date. This panel also contains misinformation about the
military use of the site in the First World War. As a consequence this panel should be replaced as
soon as is practicable.

5.4.8 Similar information about Wats Dyke and the First World War use of the hillfort also
appears on the EH web site. The information about these aspects of the site should be changed
without delay.

5.4.9 For effective management of the entire site it is imperative that baseline surveys are
undertaken.
For the archaeology, it is recommended that the extent and severity of erosion on
footpaths and informal paths is documented in order to prioritise repairs. Similarly,
document the effects of bracken and woody growth on the earthworks to discover which
parts of the site are most vulnerable to rhizome damage.
Page 66 of 170


For the ecology, it is recommended that the flora and fauna that now exist on the site be
documented to provide information on their survival and vulnerability. Following
collection of this baseline data, the situation should be monitored at regular intervals.

5.4.10 Ecological surveys should be carried out in consultation with SWT, the BSBI and
Shropshire Council. It would also be desirable if local people participated in the collection and
monitoring of the baseline data. They are on the spot, which will facilitate visiting the site at all
seasons and in all weather conditions.

5.4.11 Following the baseline survey for archaeology, it is likely that an excavation programme
(separate to that noted above 5.4.6) will be needed to examine parts of the defences where the
problems of erosion are most severe. This will inform any mitigation works. It is again important
to emphasise that, if excavation of the defences was to be carried out, significant wildlife habitats
must not be interfered with.

5.4.12 It is recommended that the anomaly in the Guardianship status of Old Oswestry, which
has implications for the management of the monument, is investigated. This should include
establishing what powers EH has to terminate the existing agreement and replacing it with a more
suitable regime, such as grazing with sheep rather than cattle. In addition, it will be important to
know whether EH would be liable for compensation payments in the event of any such changes.

5.4.13 It is strongly recommended that, as part of the integration of the monument into a larger
GMC for Shropshire and in light of the maintenance issues raised in this Conservation Plan, there
should be a further extension to the GMC. The Landscape Manager has indicated that this should
be for two years, possibly with a slightly reduced specification to allow completion of more work,
but also to allow time for another contract specification to be written following the completion of
ecological surveys and the production of a Management Plan.

5.4.14 The combined use of a suite of measures (eg grazing with sheep, supplementary mowing,
bracken pulling and spraying, rotational cutting) is recommended to control the growth of
herbaceous vegetation in summer and autumn. Each measure should be applied consistently
throughout the site and frequently reviewed to ensure positive benefits for archaeology and
wildlife.

5.4.15 In order to reduce or avoid the adverse effects of sheep grazing, consider whether
modification in the timing of grazing would be appropriate. This might involve starting grazing at
the end of July to allow more plants to set seed and extending grazing into at least November so
as to reap the benefits of reducing growth as much as possible over winter.

5.4.16 Promote a pragmatic approach to the removal of bracken and scrub on the site, informed
by further assessment of their effects on the earthworks and the ecology of the site (see 5.4.9
above). A manicured grass sward totally free from bracken and scrub would be difficult to
achieve. Such a situation is also not desirable for the ecological significance and diversity of the
site. It is considered essential that bracken control, in particular, takes place on an annual basis in
order to prevent it from regaining its former foothold across the site. Investigate the possibility of
undertaking some of this work with local groups, including schoolchildren. This could be a means
of informing more people about management issues and involving them in other activities
connected with the heritage of the area.

5.4.17 Ensure that all personnel involved with managing the site are aware of sensitive issues
concerning the preservation of rare flora and fauna, and the needs of visitors, grazing sheep and
Page 67 of 170


the earthworks themselves when maintenance works are planned.

5.4.18 It is recommended that the excellent 1994 Management Plan by Thompson &
Cathersides is re-established and updated. This document remains an extremely effective and
relevant management tool for the site today. There is little value in producing a new management
plan from scratch. The existing Plan could be updated to take account of any new initiatives,
such as the re-introduction of sheep on the top of the hillfort (see 5.6.5 below), and any new
information acquired from monitoring and survey. It is understood that Alan Cathersides is
willing to be involved in updating any new Management Plan that emerges from these
recommendations.

5.4.19 Monitoring the condition of the monument, combined with a review of maintenance
practices, should take place on a regular basis to ensure the site is conserved to an exemplary
standard.

5.4.20 Serious consideration should be given to introducing more Local Authority and
community-based involvement in the management of the site. While not removing EHs overall
management control, this could help to alleviate some of the problems of managing the site from
remote bases, as well as capitalising on potential additional resources. Initiate discussions
between EH and Shropshire Council in the first instance, involving specialists as necessary.

5.4.21 Provide a more prominent and more emphatic message to visitors about wilful damage to
the site, including the illegality of metal detecting.



5.5 Historical

5.5.1 Old Oswestry has connections with important historical figures. Those in the early
medieval period helped to shape the nation states of England and Wales. Later individuals
associated with the site were leading lights in historical research. Their records were some
of the first to characterise the ancient past of Britain. The likely use of the site by Wilfred
Owen (albeit for a very short period) is profoundly important in relation to his poetic
legacy.

5.5.2 More could be done to highlight the connections of these figures with Old Oswestry. This
could be achieved on-site, when new information panels are contemplated, or by other means, for
example, through additions to the teaching resource book, or by public talks.

5.5.3 The importance of carrying out historical research in relation to the First World War
occupation of Park Hall Camp has already been noted (see 5.4.4 above).



5.6 Aesthetic

5.6.1 Old Oswestry is a highly visible local landmark, whose impressive defences can be
seen from some distance in virtually all directions. When walking round the monument, the
huge scale and labyrinthine character of the defences becomes truly apparent, and from its
summit there are sweeping views over the surrounding countryside. In late spring a carpet
of bluebells enhances the impressive character of the earthworks.
Page 68 of 170



5.6.2 The visual interest and appeal of the monument must be safeguarded. The expected growth
of Oswestry in the coming decades must not be allowed to threaten the visual appearance of the
hillfort or its immediate setting.

5.6.3 It is understandable that the aesthetic qualities of the monument concentrate on the hillfort
and the views from its summit. However, as a cultural heritage attraction, visitors to Old
Oswestry should be able to see or visualise all major components relating to the sites various
periods of occupation and use. At present the use of the site during World War One receives scant
mention (see 5.4.7 and 5.4.8 above), and the trench system is currently neither explained nor
presented to the public. It is recommended that in consultation with military historians and
archaeologists, within EH and outside the organisation, a scheme to display these remains should
be devised. It would be advisable to undertake this, following a programme of investigation (see
5.4.4 above). From what is known of these remains, it is considered that sections of the various
trenches could be displayed as a series of well-defined linear depressions, with the rest of the
trenches demarcated by low, unobtrusive markers. The whole complex would require on-site
interpretation. Such a scheme would contribute greatly to the visitor experience and to the
publics appreciation of the entire monument.

5.6.4 Practicalities and health and safety issues dictate that the trenches could not be displayed
to their full depth. However, an off-site solution to this may be achievable by working with local
organisations and businesses. The reconstructed round house at Park Hall Farm (see 2.35 above)
gives an indication of what has already been achieved to help raise awareness of the heritage in
the area.

5.6.5 Remove cattle from the top of the hillfort and allow sheep to graze (see 5.4.12 above).
This would enable the post and wire fence to be removed, which detracts visually from the
monument, and would re-connect the interior of the hillfort with the defences.



5.7 Communal

5.7.1 Old Oswestry not only represents salient aspects of the heritage of the region, but
also the nation as a whole. Its special character is linked to feelings of belonging and a sense
of place, feelings which transcend the generations. Old Oswestry is a place to be enjoyed
and appreciated, for all the things that make it what it is its heritage, wildlife, the open
space and its scenic qualities.

5.7.2 Over the last few years much has been done to inform people about the history of the site,
but the First World War activity, as noted above, has been largely overlooked. Significant
opportunities exist here to explore and explain the nature of trench warfare, which so epitomised
the land-based conflict. The writings of Wilfred Owen help to vividly convey the horror and
futility of it all. In 2014 the 100
th
anniversary of the outbreak of the war will be commemorated.
This site presents EH with an incredible opportunity to mark this event, by undertaking an
investigative programme followed by a scheme to display these remains (see 5.4.4 and 5.6.3
above). No other property would appear to offer EH this opportunity.

5.7.3 If such a high profile project was undertaken, it would attract visitors from far and wide,
and would be bound to have significant benefits for the local economy. It would also become a
lasting educational resource with the potential of attracting school parties from Shropshire, the
Page 69 of 170


surrounding counties, and possibly from further afield.

5.7.4 It is important to stress that there is considerable local interest in Old Oswestry in its past
and in its wildlife. Local people should be kept fully informed of decisions affecting the sites
management, and should be given the opportunity to be involved in all investigative and
recording projects.

5.7.5 Remove the information panel detailing the funding of the Old Oswestry Hillfort Visitor
Improvements Project next to the small car park opposite the entrance to the site and replace it
with a new information panel setting out the objectives of archaeological and ecological site
management.
Page 70 of 170


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Appendix 1: archival sources


1. The following list of archives excludes the maps and unpublished reports noted in the
bibliography.


2. Archives associated with the archaeological excavation carried out by Professor
W.J. Varley and Mr B. St J. O Neil in 1939-40

2.1 A list of archives used in the production of the excavation report (Hughes 1996) is contained
in Hughes (1991).

2.2 The paper archive used by Hughes consisted of unpublished documents (listed in his
Appendix 1) and correspondence (listed in his Appendix 2). The surviving artefacts from the
excavation are listed on pages 8 to 11 of the report. In addition, the report contains petrological
reports on the prehistoric pottery his Appendix 3. The locations of all this material are noted in
the report.

2.2.1 The paper archive used by Hughes is principally held by EH. Archive material in the NMR
includes copies of excavation drawings (plans and sections, and phasing diagrams) produced by
Varley (accessioned under VAR01) (see 2.4 and 2.4.1 in this Appendix) and correspondence. The
excavation drawings have been microfiched, together with some correspondence. Additional
correspondence used by Hughes (see 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 in this Appendix) has recently been given to
the NMR.

2.2.2 Correspondence and a summary report (Varley and ONeil nd) in EH Registry files were
also examined by Hughes. Most of the material is in file AA005009/49, with some
correspondence in file AA90855/2 Pt 1A. Photocopies of these papers have been given to the
Shropshire HER during the production of the Conservation Plan.

2.2.3 Additional archive material used by Hughes (mainly correspondence) is in the Shropshire
HER and in the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.

2.2.4 The artefacts are held by the National Museum of Wales. The accession numbers for these
artefacts are: 74.36H/1-26; 74.37H/1-3 and 75.6H and are all stored in a small box.

2.3 Copies of the archive assessment report by Hughes have been deposited in the NMR library
(gardens and landscape section), the Shropshire HER and in Shropshire Archives (the county
record office).

2.4 The excavation drawings of Old Oswestry include plans and sections produced by Varley.
Some are clearly cleaned-up versions of drawings produced during or shortly after excavation.
These drawings are dated either 1939 or 1940. There are also several versions of publication
drawings. Some drawings display different information (eg some show more stratigraphic details
than others, or have features added/omitted).

2.4.1 It is important to stress that some important information contained on the drawings
produced by Varley was not used by Hughes in producing the excavation report. Therefore, the
published report must be seen as an incomplete account of Varleys findings.
Page 76 of 170



2.5 Shropshire Archives hold other sources not used by Hughes in producing the archive
assessment or the published report on the excavations. These consist of the following:

2.5.1 Notes, newspaper cuttings and correspondence about Old Oswestry in the Lily F. Chitty
Collection File 223/1-40.
Two newspaper cuttings are of particular note:
(223/30) From the Montgomery County Times, of 6
th
May 1939. The article about the excavation
includes a photograph, the caption to which states One of the trenches in the process of being cut
throught [sic] the ramparts.
(223/31) From the Border Counties Advertiser, of 10
th
May 1939. The article about the
excavation includes a photograph, the caption to which states A photograph showing the
progress of the excavations taken on Monday by an Advertiser photographer. On the right,
where Mr Varley is standing, is the site of a hut from which a quantity of coarse cooking pottery
has been unearthed.
The photographs in these two newspapers are of the same trench (Trench A Fig 14) and the one
from the Montgomery County Times has been reproduced in this Conservation Plan (Fig 15).

2.5.2 Five black and white photographs (prints) of the excavation, stuck on to two pieces of card
755/42/56/1-2.
(755/42/56/1) The piece of card on which three c. 3 inch square photographs have been stuck is
titled Old Oswestry excavations 1939-1940. It would appear from the plans of the excavation
reproduced by Hughes (1996) that two of the photographs are of later Iron Age stone buildings.
One is certainly a structure found in Trench G (Fig 14) as indicated by the plan in the report by
Hughes (1996, 63). This photograph has been reproduced in this Conservation Plan (Fig 16). It is
unclear if the other photograph showing building remains relates to Trench G or Trench A. There
is also uncertainty about the location of the structural remains shown in the third photograph.
(755/42/56/2) The piece of card on which two c. 5 inch by 7 inch photographs have been stuck is
titled Old Oswestry Excavations (?) 1939-40. The lower of the two photographs has a caption
beneath it stating cutting through the topmost rampart. The uncertainty about whether these
photographs are of Old Oswestry remains. If they are, then the upper photograph is likely to be of
Trench G (Fig 14) and the lower photograph, of the stone revetments to the innermost rampart in
Trench A (Fig 14).

2.6 Some correspondence belonging to Arnold Aspinall relating to Old Oswestry was also not
seen by Hughes. Photocopies of these letters were given to Margaret Worthington, President of
OOLAP, together with a copy of the typescript summary account of the excavations by Varley
(nd). A copy of this account was however seen by Hughes and was used alongside the report
noted above (2.2.2 in this Appendix) to produce the published report. Photocopies of these papers
have been given to Shropshire HER during the production of this Conservation Plan.

2.7 Accounts of the excavation, written by Varley, were published in the Border Counties
Advertiser. One entitled Why we started the Hen Dinas dig was published on 31
st
July 1974
(page 4) and the sequel, entitled The facts about Old Oswestry was published on 7
th
August
1974. Copies of these papers are on microfilm and are held in Oswestry public library.


3. Geophysical survey conducted by A. Aspinall in 1974

3.1 Hughes (1991, 6 and Appendix 1) indicates that a copy of the geophysical survey was given
to the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments. It is contained within EH Registry file AA005009/49.
Page 77 of 170


Photocopies of the plots and related correspondence have been given to Shropshire HER during
the production of this Conservation Plan. A copy of this survey also forms part of the site archive
in the National Museum of Wales.


4. Other important historic archives relating to Old Oswestry in Shropshire Archives

4.1 Records in the Lily F. Chitty Collection concerning the Tudor buckler found at Old
Oswestry Files 223/41 and 294/2-27. This includes copies of the illustration of the object and a
description from Vetusta Monumenta Volume 2, published in 1789.

4.2 Photographic collection PH/O/5/2-14. Black and white prints. These are mostly oblique
aerial photographs taken by J.K. St Joseph and Aerofilms and date to the 1960s.

4.3 Tithe map (PF240/1) and apportionment (314) for the parish of Selattyn, dated 1840.

4.4 Estate maps on which Old Oswestry is shown. These however were not examined during the
formulation of the Conservation Plan.


5. Aerial photographs of Old Oswestry in the Shropshire HER

5.1 The HER holds a significant collection of oblique aerial photographs. A large number were
taken by the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) between 1975 and 2002. Additional
photographs were taken by SCC, now Shropshire Council, in March 2009 and January 2010. The
HER also holds several county runs of vertical aerial photographs taken from 1980 onwards.


6. Aerial photographs of Old Oswestry in the NMR

6.1 The NMR holds a collection of aerial photographs of Old Oswestry. These were not
examined during the compilation of the Conservation Plan. The NMR holds copies of many of
the oblique photographs that form part of the Shropshire HER collections. Vertical coverage of
the area dates from 1946. This was examined and transcriptions produced as part of the RCHME
NMP. Copies of these transcriptions form part of the Shropshire HER.


7. EH Registry files

7.1 During the production of the Conservation Plan thirty six of the fifty three files concerning,
and relating directly to, Old Oswestry were made available for inspection. Files included
information on the scheduling of the monument and its Guardianship status; Varley and ONeils
excavation and Aspinalls geophysical work (see 2.2.2 and 3.1 in this Appendix); work
undertaken by Hughes to publish these investigations; site management and maintenance
regimes; ecological recording and management; display and presentation; the recent Old
Oswestry Hillfort Visitor Improvements Project; and proposed developments that would affect
the setting of the monument.



Page 78 of 170



8. Biological survey records for Old Oswestry held by SWT and the BSBI

8.1 In addition to the reports on the ecology commissioned by EH, which are noted in the
bibliography (many of which are in the NMR library gardens and landscape section), SWT and
the BSBI hold data on the species recorded on the site see Appendix 2.
Page 79 of 170


Appendix 2: ecological records



1. The Shropshire Wildlife Trust (SWT) list of the priority species recorded at Old Oswestry, showing the date of the last recorded sighting.

Priority or protected species are covered by one of the many and varied pieces of legislation, or are a local or national Biodiversity Action Plan
(BAP) priority species. BAP priority reflects the importance of the species in overall biodiversity terms and there will be actions and targets
related to each species in the local or national Biodiversity Action Plan documents. All these species are therefore of biodiversity importance, and
under the Natural Environment Rural Communities Act 2006 their conservation and enhancement must be given regard by all public bodies.
(Information by Robin Mager, SWT.)

Taxonomic group Latin name Common name Date Year Priority species Abundances
flowering plant Lythrum portula Water Purslane

1986 Axiophyte

flowering plant Allium ursinum Ramsons

1990 Axiophyte

flowering plant Anemone nemorosa Wood Anemone

1990 Axiophyte

flowering plant Blechnum spicant Hard Fern

1990 Axiophyte

flowering plant Hyacinthoides non-scripta Bluebell

1990 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush

1990 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orchis mascula Early-purple Orchid

1990 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lycopodium clavatum Stag's-horn Clubmoss

1992 Axiophyte

bird Alauda arvensis Skylark 1993 1993 LBAP 1 Count
bird Emberiza citrinella Yellowhammer 1993 1993 UKBAP 1 Count
bird Sturnus vulgaris Starling 1993 1993 LBAP 1 Count
flowering plant Aira praecox Early Hair-grass

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Allium ursinum Ramsons

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Anemone nemorosa Wood Anemone

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Bidens cernua Nodding Bur-marigold

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Bidens tripartita Trifid Bur-marigold

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Blechnum spicant Hard Fern

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex pilulifera Pill Sedge

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex vesicaria Bladder-sedge

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Hyacinthoides non-scripta Bluebell

1994 Axiophyte

Page 80 of 170


flowering plant Hypericum pulchrum Slender St. John's-wort

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lycopodium clavatum Stag's-horn Clubmoss

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lythrum portula Water Purslane

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Montia fontana Blinks

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orchis mascula Early-purple Orchid

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Ranunculus peltatus Pond Water-crowfoot

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Veronica officinalis Heath Speedwell

1994 Axiophyte

flowering plant Aira praecox Early Hair-grass

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Bidens cernua Nodding Bur-marigold

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Bidens tripartita Trifid Bur-marigold

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Blechnum spicant Hard Fern

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex pilulifera Pill Sedge

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex sylvatica Wood-sedge

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex vesicaria Bladder-sedge

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Deschampsia flexuosa Wavy Hair-grass

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Dryopteris affinis Scaly Male Fern

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Hyacinthoides non-scripta Bluebell

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Hypericum pulchrum Slender St. John's-wort

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lycopodium clavatum Stag's-horn Clubmoss

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lythrum portula Water Purslane

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Oreopteris limbosperma Lemon-scented Fern

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Vaccinium myrtillus Bilberry

1995 Axiophyte

flowering plant Allium ursinum Ramsons

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Anemone nemorosa Wood Anemone

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Blechnum spicant Hard Fern

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Dryopteris affinis Scaly Male Fern

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Hypericum humifusum Trailing St. John's-wort

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lathyrus linifolius Bitter-vetch

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula multiflora Heath Wood-rush

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lycopodium clavatum Stag's-horn Clubmoss

1996 Axiophyte

Page 81 of 170


flowering plant Orchis mascula Early-purple Orchid

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Oxalis acetosella Wood-sorrel

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Ranunculus peltatus Pond Water-crowfoot

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Trisetum flavescens Yellow Oat-grass

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Veronica officinalis Heath Speedwell

1996 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex spicata Spiked Sedge

1997 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula pilosa Hairy Wood-rush

1997 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

1997 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

1998 Axiophyte

amphibian Triturus cristatus Great Crested Newt 18/07/1999 1999 UKBAP 26 Count of Breeding confirmed
flowering plant Aira praecox Early Hair-grass

1999 Axiophyte

flowering plant Hypericum pulchrum Slender St. John's-wort

1999 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula multiflora Heath Wood-rush

1999 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush

1999 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lycopodium clavatum Stag's-horn Clubmoss

1999 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lythrum portula Water Purslane

1999 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

1999 Axiophyte

flowering plant Aira praecox Early Hair-grass

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Anemone nemorosa Wood Anemone

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Blechnum spicant Hard Fern

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex pilulifera Pill Sedge

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex spicata Spiked Sedge

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex vesicaria Bladder-sedge

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Deschampsia flexuosa Wavy Hair-grass

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Hyacinthoides non-scripta Bluebell

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Hypericum pulchrum Slender St. John's-wort

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lythrum portula Water Purslane

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orchis mascula Early-purple Orchid

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Oxalis acetosella Wood-sorrel

2000 Axiophyte

flowering plant Trisetum flavescens Yellow Oat-grass

2000 Axiophyte

Page 82 of 170


flowering plant Veronica officinalis Heath Speedwell

2000 Axiophyte

amphibian Triturus cristatus Great Crested Newt 23/06/2002 2002 UKBAP 3 Count of present; 8 Count of Larvae
flowering plant Blechnum spicant Hard Fern

2002 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orchis mascula Early-purple Orchid

2002 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

2002 Axiophyte

flowering plant Ranunculus peltatus Pond Water-crowfoot

2002 Axiophyte

flowering plant Blechnum spicant Hard Fern

2003 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex spicata Spiked Sedge

2003 Axiophyte

flowering plant Dryopteris affinis Scaly Male Fern

2003 Axiophyte

flowering plant Oreopteris limbosperma Lemon-scented Fern

2003 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

2003 Axiophyte

flowering plant Aira praecox Early Hair-grass

2004 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

2004 Axiophyte

bird Alauda arvensis Skylark 10/04/2006 2006 LBAP 2+ Count of Pair
flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

2006 Axiophyte

flowering plant Aira praecox Early Hair-grass

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Allium ursinum Ramsons

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Anemone nemorosa Wood Anemone

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Bidens tripartita Trifid Bur-marigold

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Blechnum spicant Hard Fern

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex sylvatica Wood-sedge

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex vesicaria Bladder-sedge

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Deschampsia flexuosa Wavy Hair-grass

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Dryopteris affinis Scaly Male Fern

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Hyacinthoides non-scripta Bluebell

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Hyacinthoides non-scripta Bluebell

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Hypericum pulchrum Slender St. John's-wort

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula multiflora Heath Wood-rush

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lythrum portula Water Purslane

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Ranunculus peltatus Pond Water-crowfoot

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Vaccinium myrtillus Bilberry

2007 Axiophyte

Page 83 of 170


flowering plant Veronica officinalis Heath Speedwell

2007 Axiophyte

flowering plant Bidens cernua Nodding Bur-marigold

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Carex pilulifera Pill Sedge

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Clinopodium vulgare Wild Basil

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Deschampsia flexuosa Wavy Hair-grass

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Deschampsia flexuosa Wavy Hair-grass

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Deschampsia flexuosa Wavy Hair-grass

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Galium odoratum Sweet Woodruff

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lathyrus linifolius Bitter-vetch

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula pilosa Hairy Wood-rush

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Lythrum portula Water Purslane

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Milium effusum Wood Millet

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Oreopteris limbosperma Lemon-scented Fern

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Oxalis acetosella Wood-sorrel

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Polygala serpyllifolia Heath Milkwort

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Ranunculus peltatus Pond Water-crowfoot

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Trisetum flavescens Yellow Oat-grass

2008 Axiophyte

flowering plant Veronica officinalis Heath Speedwell

2008 Axiophyte

terrestrial mammal Myotis daubentonii Daubenton's Bat 09/09/2009 2009 UKBAP

terrestrial mammal Myotis mystacinus Whiskered Bat 09/09/2009 2009 UKBAP

terrestrial mammal Nyctalus noctula Noctule Bat 09/09/2009 2009 UKBAP

terrestrial mammal Pipistrellus pipistrellus Common Pipistrelle 09/09/2009 2009 UKBAP

terrestrial mammal Pipistrellus pygmaeus Soprano Pipistrelle 09/09/2009 2009 UKBAP






Page 84 of 170


2. The Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI) list of the plant species recorded at Old Oswestry, showing the date of the last recorded
sighting.

Latin name Common name Year
Lycopodium clavatum Stag's-horn Clubmoss 1999
Pteridium aquilinum Bracken 2008
Oreopteris limbosperma Lemon-scented Fern 2008
Asplenium ruta-muraria Wall-rue 1862
Athyrium filix-femina Lady Fern 2007
Dryopteris filix-mas Common Male Fern 2007
Dryopteris affinis Scaly Male Fern 2007
Dryopteris dilatata Broad Buckler-fern 2007
Blechnum spicant Hard Fern 2007
Taxus baccata Yew 2007
Anemone nemorosa Wood Anemone 2007
Ranunculus repens Creeping Buttercup 2008
Ranunculus bulbosus Bulbous Buttercup 2007
Ranunculus flammula Lesser Spearwort 2008
Ranunculus ficaria Lesser Celandine 2007
Ranunculus peltatus Pond Water-crowfoot 2008
Fumaria capreolata White Ramping-fumitory 1891
Ulmus glabra Wych Elm 2007
Ulmus procera English Elm 1996
Humulus lupulus Hop 2008
Urtica dioica Stinging Nettle 2007
Quercus sp. an oak 1542
Quercus cerris Turkey Oak 1996
Quercus robur Pedunculate Oak 2008
Betula sp. a birch 2007
Corylus avellana Hazel 2007
Montia fontana Blinks 1994
Stellaria media Common Chickweed 2007
Stellaria holostea Greater Stitchwort 2007
Stellaria graminea Lesser Stitchwort 2007
Stellaria uliginosa Bog Stitchwort 1994
Cerastium fontanum Common Mouse-ear 2007
Cerastium glomeratum Sticky Mouse-ear 2007
Page 85 of 170


Silene latifolia White Campion 1994
Silene dioica Red Campion 2007
Persicaria amphibia Amphibious Bistort 2000
Persicaria maculosa Redshank 1996
Persicaria hydropiper Water-pepper 2007
Polygonum aviculare Knotgrass 2007
Rumex acetosella Sheep's Sorrel 2007
Rumex acetosa Common Sorrel 2008
Rumex crispus Curled Dock 2008
Rumex x pratensis a dock 2008
Rumex sanguineus Wood Dock 2007
Rumex obtusifolius Broad-leaved Dock 2007
Hypericum perforatum Perforate St. John's-wort 2007
Hypericum x desetangsii Des Etangs's St. John's-wort 2008
Hypericum tetrapterum Square-stalked St. John's-wort 2007
Hypericum humifusum Trailing St. John's-wort 1996
Hypericum pulchrum Slender St. John's-wort 2007
Hypericum hirsutum Hairy St. John's-wort 2008
Tilia x europaea Lime 2008
Malva moschata Musk-mallow 2008
Malva sylvestris Common Mallow 1994
Viola odorata Sweet Violet 1994
Viola riviniana Common Dog-violet 2007
Viola tricolor Wild Pansy 1891
Salix cinerea Grey Willow 2008
Sisymbrium officinale Hedge Mustard 2007
Alliaria petiolata Garlic Mustard 2007
Cardamine flexuosa Wavy Bitter-cress 1996
Capsella bursa-pastoris Shepherd's-purse 2007
Reseda luteola Weld 1891
Rhododendron ponticum Rhododendron 1995
Calluna vulgaris Heather 2007
Vaccinium myrtillus Bilberry 2007
Primula vulgaris Primrose 2007
Primula x polyantha False Oxlip 1994
Rubus fruticosus agg. Bramble 2008
Potentilla erecta Tormentil 2007
Page 86 of 170


Potentilla reptans Creeping Cinquefoil 2007
Potentilla sterilis Barren Strawberry 1996
Fragaria vesca Wild Strawberry 2007
Geum urbanum Wood Avens 2007
Alchemilla filicaulis Common Lady's-mantle 1891
Rosa canina agg. Dog Rose 2007
Prunus avium Wild Cherry 1891
Sorbus aucuparia Rowan 2007
Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn 2008
Lotus corniculatus Common Bird's-foot-trefoil 2008
Vicia hirsuta Hairy Tare 2007
Vicia sepium Bush Vetch 2007
Vicia sativa Common Vetch 2007
Lathyrus linifolius Bitter-vetch 2008
Lathyrus pratensis Meadow Vetchling 2007
Trifolium repens White Clover 2007
Trifolium dubium Lesser Trefoil 2008
Trifolium pratense Red Clover 2007
Cytisus scoparius Broom 2008
Ulex europaeus Gorse 2007
Lythrum portula Water Purslane 2008
Epilobium tetragonum Square-stalked Willowherb 2008
Epilobium ciliatum American Willowherb 2007
Chamerion angustifolium Rosebay Willowherb 2007
Cornus sanguinea Dogwood 2008
Ilex aquifolium Holly 2007
Mercurialis perennis Dog's Mercury 2007
Polygala serpyllifolia Heath Milkwort 2008
Acer campestre Field Maple 2007
Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore 2007
Oxalis acetosella Wood-sorrel 2008
Geranium dissectum Cut-leaved Crane's-bill 1996
Hedera helix Ivy 2007
Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley 2007
Conopodium majus Pignut 2007
Aegopodium podagraria Ground-elder 2007
Heracleum sphondylium Hogweed 2007
Page 87 of 170


Centaurium erythraea Common Centaury 2008
Myosotis arvensis Field Forget-me-not 2007
Stachys sylvatica Hedge Woundwort 2007
Lamium purpureum Red Dead-nettle 1994
Galeopsis tetrahit agg. Common Hemp-nettle 2007
Teucrium scorodonia Wood Sage 2008
Ajuga reptans Bugle 2007
Glechoma hederacea Ground-ivy 2007
Prunella vulgaris Selfheal 2008
Clinopodium vulgare Wild Basil 2008
Callitriche sp. Water-starwort 1994
Plantago major Greater Plantain 2007
Plantago lanceolata Ribwort Plantain 2007
Fraxinus excelsior Ash 2007
Scrophularia nodosa Common Figwort 2007
Digitalis purpurea Foxglove 2008
Veronica officinalis Heath Speedwell 2008
Veronica chamaedrys Germander Speedwell 2008
Orobanche rapum-genistae Greater Broomrape 2008
Galium odoratum Sweet Woodruff 2008
Galium saxatile Heath Bedstraw 2008
Galium aparine Cleavers 2007
Sambucus nigra Elder 2007
Lonicera periclymenum Honeysuckle 2008
Cirsium vulgare Spear Thistle 2007
Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle 2007
Centaurea nigra Common Knapweed 2007
Hypochaeris radicata Cat's-ear 2007
Leontodon autumnalis Autumnal Hawkbit 2008
Sonchus oleraceus Smooth Sow-thistle 2007
Sonchus asper Prickly Sow-thistle 2008
Taraxacum officinale agg. Dandelion 2007
Crepis capillaris Smooth Hawk's-beard 2007
Pilosella officinarum Mouse-ear-hawkweed 2007
Pilosella aurantiaca Fox-and-cubs 2008
Hieracium sp. a hawkweed 2007
Hieracium vagum Glabrous-headed Hawkweed 1986
Page 88 of 170


Hieracium vulgatum Common Hawkweed 2002
Hieracium acuminatum Tall Hawkweed 1999
Gnaphalium uliginosum Marsh Cudweed 1995
Bellis perennis Daisy 2007
Achillea millefolium Yarrow 2007
Matricaria discoidea Pineapple Weed 2007
Senecio jacobaea Common Ragwort 2007
Senecio sylvaticus Heath Groundsel 2007
Tussilago farfara Colt's-foot 2000
Bidens cernua Nodding Bur-marigold 2008
Bidens tripartita Trifid Bur-marigold 2007
Potamogeton natans Broad-leaved Pondweed 2007
Arum maculatum Lords-and-ladies 2007
Lemna minor Common Duckweed 2008
Juncus bufonius Toad Rush 2007
Juncus inflexus Hard Rush 1997
Juncus effusus Soft Rush 2008
Luzula pilosa Hairy Wood-rush 2008
Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush 2008
Luzula campestris Field Wood-rush 2007
Luzula multiflora Heath Wood-rush 2007
Carex spicata Spiked Sedge 2003
Carex muricata ssp. lamprocarpa Prickly Sedge 2007
Carex ovalis Oval Sedge 2007
Carex hirta Hairy Sedge 2008
Carex vesicaria Bladder-sedge 2007
Carex sylvatica Wood-sedge 2007
Carex pilulifera Pill Sedge 2008
Milium effusum Wood Millet 2008
Festuca rubra Red Fescue 2007
Festuca ovina Sheep's Fescue 2008
Lolium perenne Perennial Rye-grass 2007
Vulpia bromoides Squirrel-tail Fescue 2007
Cynosurus cristatus Crested Dog's-tail 2007
Poa annua Annual Meadow-grass 2007
Poa trivialis Rough Meadow-grass 2008
Poa pratensis Smooth Meadow-grass 1995
Page 89 of 170


Dactylis glomerata Cock's-foot 2008
Glyceria fluitans Floating Sweet-grass 2008
Glyceria declinata Small Sweet-grass 1983
Arrhenatherum elatius False Oat-grass 2008
Trisetum flavescens Yellow Oat-grass 2008
Deschampsia cespitosa Tufted Hair-grass 2007
Deschampsia flexuosa Wavy Hair-grass 2008
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire-fog 2008
Holcus mollis Creeping Soft-grass 2007
Aira praecox Early Hair-grass 2007
Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal Grass 2008
Agrostis capillaris Common Bent 2008
Agrostis stolonifera Creeping Bent 2008
Alopecurus pratensis Meadow Foxtail 2007
Phleum pratense Timothy 2007
Bromus hordeaceus Soft-brome 2007
Anisantha sterilis Barren Brome 2007
Brachypodium sylvaticum False-brome 2007
Sparganium erectum Branched Bur-reed 2008
Typha latifolia Great Reedmace 2007
Hyacinthoides non-scripta Bluebell 2007
Allium ursinum Ramsons 2007
Tamus communis Black Bryony 2007
Orchis mascula Early-purple Orchid 2002








Page 90 of 170
Appendix 3: a gazetteer of the component parts of the
monument


Defining the components in this gazetteer is based upon the chronological sequence
established for the site using information from Varley and ONeils excavation and the recent
EH field survey. It also takes a pragmatic approach the ability to recognise the various
components on the ground. Each component usually consists of more than one feature. The
decision to group features relates to their clear temporal and/or spatial association, and does
mean that each component can be subdivided, if and when necessary.

The significance of the monument can be measured by the sum of its parts. Hence, all
components offer potential for investigation and research. In combination, they also form an
important recreational asset and visitor attraction. The assessment of significance given for
each component is based on its evidential value and relates only to the cultural history of the
site.

It is understood that the components have an ecological value, but the authors of the
Conservation Plan are not qualified to give an opinion in this respect. It should also be
appreciated that, in terms of the vegetation cover, only the most obvious types of vegetation
have been noted.

The numbers on the survey plans refer to photographs in the text and gazetteer; locations of
photographs are approximate. Not all photographs in the text and gazetteer are shown on the
survey plans in the gazetteer; these include some of those reproduced from Thompson &
Cathersides 1994, Thompson 1995 and Thompson 1996, distance views and those relating to
features outside the hillfort.

The principal sources for each component are the same, these are:
Aerial photographic collection in the Shropshire HER;
EH archaeological field survey (EH forthcoming; Smith 2009);
Varley and ONeils excavation (Hughes 1991; 1996)

















Page 91 of 170
1. Interior of the hillfort

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship.

Archaeological remains
The interior of the hillfort is defined by the innermost rampart (Component 2). Varley and
ONeils excavations examined two small areas: one next to the western entrance and the
other next to the innermost rampart on the southern side. Occupational remains contemporary
with, and pre-dating the hillfort, were found. The excavation trench and spoil heap next to the
western entrance are evident as earthworks. Field survey and aerial photographic
reconnaissance has demonstrated the extensive remains of a World War One trench system,
plus possible indications of post-medieval quarrying.

Vegetation and land use
Improved pasture managed under ELS; grazed by dairy cattle. Recreational use.

Management issues
No concerns with regard to the impact of the current management regime on the monument.
There is a good protective grass cover which is maintained under the ELS prescriptions.
However, the proximity of grazing land and livestock must be taken into account as part of
the management of the site; eg feeding stations should be moved around to minimise erosion
and cattle poaching damage could occur especially in wet weather conditions. The ELS
prescriptions include safeguards for these aspects of management (see further Appendix 5).
However, grazing the plateau with sheep would be the preferred management option. This
would reduce the risk of erosion damage and, removing the existing fence to allow the
grazing sheep free rein, would re-connect the plateau with the hillforts defences.

Assessment of significance
Areas of prehistoric occupation not affected by later activity are highly significant as they
have the potential to provide more information about the living conditions of the inhabitants,
the range of activities carried out here and the chronology of occupation. The World War One
trench system is a rare and well-preserved example of this kind of feature, and as such has the
potential to provide information about its construction and use.




















Page 92 of 170

Fig 64: interior of the hillfort




67
66

65
66
Page 93 of 170


Fig 65: interior of the hillfort, looking east







Fig 66: interior of the hillfort, looking north; the ranging pole marks the
site of Varley and ONeils excavation Trench G


Page 94 of 170
2. Innermost rampart (R1) and the accompanying external ditch

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
The earliest part of the defensive circuit dated to the early Iron Age and modified later in the
Iron Age. This component has been sampled by excavation by Varley and ONeil.

Vegetation and land use
On west and north west sides, mixed vegetation varying with aspect, caused by prominent
earthworks. Dense bracken, willowherb and scrub. More open unimproved grassland on level
areas surrounding top pasture. On north east side, generally open unimproved grassland with
sparser bracken, although there are some larger areas. Pockets of scrub, including gorse,
broom and self-seeded saplings. On south and south east sides, generally open unimproved
grassland with some extensive patches of bracken and thick scrub rather than continuous
coverage. Recreational use; footpath runs around the top of the rampart and is much used by
walkers. Grazed by sheep between 1
st
January and 31
st
December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st

June.

Summary of management issues
Bracken requires control, especially on the north, north west and south sides. Incipient scrub
in various parts also requires control, particularly on the north west and south sides of the
hillfort and to a lesser extent on the east side. The footpath around the top of the rampart is
worn and compacted but with no serious loss. Informal paths have worn down the rampart in
various places; several of these have entrenched and exposed stone. There is no apparent up-
to-date survey of erosion issues to inform prioritisation of repairs. There are some old fencing
posts near the entrance onto the rampart from the west corridor which make the monument
look untidy. The information panel at the top of the steps leading up to the rampart is
inappropriately sited and dominates the skyline when viewed from the west entrance corridor
below. A displaced survey pin (probably inserted at the time of the contour survey of c. 1994)
is a hazard to visitors and animals.

Assessment of significance
The rampart will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the methods employed
in, its construction and later modification. Buried deposits under the rampart and within the
ditch are likely to contain evidence of prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort. The
ditch may also contain contemporary and later artefacts.















Page 95 of 170



Fig 67: innermost rampart (R1) and the accompanying external ditch

74
73
46
72
60, 70, 71
69
58, 68, 77
75, 76
78
79
80, 81
53
Page 96 of 170



Fig 68: information panel adjacent to
footpath on innermost rampart
Fig 69: looking north along footpath on
innermost rampart
Fig 70: looking towards inner face of
Rampart 2 from top of innermost rampart,
2006, before insertion of steps shown in Fig
71
Fig 71: steps descending from innermost
rampart to Rampart 2
Fig 72: footpath along top of innermost
rampart looking south west

Fig 73: displaced survey pin in footpath
on innermost rampart



Page 97 of 170

Fig 74: looking north from Rampart 2;
bracken on outer face of innermost
rampart


Fig 78: bracken on flanks of innermost
rampart looking towards Rampart 2,
north west side of hillfort

Fig 79: dog walker on footpath on
innermost rampart, looking north west


Fig 80: informal path between innermost
rampart and Rampart 2
Fig 81: exposed stone at top of path
shown in Fig 80
Fig 75: old fence post on top of innermost
rampart
Fig 76: old fence post on top of innermost
rampart
Fig 77: inappropriately-sited information panel
(arrowed) on top of innermost rampart


Page 98 of 170
3. Rampart (R2) and the accompanying external ditch

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
Part of the early Iron Age defences and modified later in the Iron Age. This component has
been sampled by excavation by Varley and ONeil. Remains of possible building platforms
have been recorded on the eastern side of the circuit.

Vegetation and land use
On west and north west sides, mixed vegetation varying with aspects, caused by prominent
earthworks. Dense bracken, willowherb and scrub. More open unimproved grassland on level
areas surrounding top pasture. On north east side, generally open unimproved grassland with
sparse bracken, although there are some larger areas. Pockets of scrub, including gorse,
broom and self-seeded saplings. On south and south east sides, generally open unimproved
grassland with some extensive patches of bracken and thick scrub rather than continuous
coverage. Recreational use; footpath runs around the top of the rampart and is much used by
walkers. Grazed by sheep between 1
st
January and 31
st
December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st

June.

Summary of management issues
Bracken requires control; there is dense bracken on the inner face of the rampart but extensive
stretches on the east side are largely bracken-free. Scrub control required. There is some
erosion of the footpath on the top of the rampart and some informal paths have been worn.
Rabbit activity is evident.

Assessment of significance
The rampart will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the methods employed
in, its construction and later modification. Buried deposits under the rampart and within the
ditch are likely to contain evidence of prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort. The
ditch may also contain contemporary and later artefacts.





















Page 99 of 170


Fig 82: rampart (R2) and the accompanying external ditch
83 98
99
85
84
49
87
88
86
89
90 91
97
92
95
52
96
93
94
54
Page 100 of 170







Fig 83: looking towards Rampart 2 from
the top of the innermost rampart, north
east side of hillfort
Fig 84: inner face of Rampart 2, largely
cleared of bracken, east side of hillfort
Fig 85: looking north east at the
bracken-free inner face of Rampart 2
from the innermost rampart, east side of
hillfort
Fig 86: looking south east at the
bracken-free Rampart 2 from the innermost
rampart, east side of hillfort
Fig 87: footpath on top of Rampart 2,
east side of hillfort
Fig 88: looking south east at Rampart 2
from the innermost rampart, east side of
hillfort
Page 101 of 170

Fig 90: looking south east from the
innermost rampart showing band of
bracken on Rampart 2, east side of hillfort

Fig 92: view from top of Rampart 2 looking
south, south west side of hillfort

Fig 93: informal path on Rampart 2,
north west side of hillfort
Fig 94: bracken between innermost rampart
and Rampart 2, looking south



Fig 89: informal path worn between
innermost rampart and Rampart 2 on east
side of hillfort
Fig 91: bracken colonising inner bank
of Rampart 2, south east side of hillfort
Page 102 of 170


Fig 95: looking south west from
Rampart 2, north west side of hillfort
Fig 96: bracken between the innermost
rampart and Rampart 2, looking south,
north west side of hillfort



Fig 97: erosion scar between the innermost
rampart (foreground) and Rampart 2,
south side of hillfort
Fig 98: rabbit activity on outer face of
Rampart 2, north east side of hillfort




Fig 99: erosion setting in on Rampart 2, looking south west ,
on east side of hillfort


Page 103 of 170
4. Rampart (R3) to the north and south of the western entrance
corridor

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
Forming part of Rampart 3 and representing an early phase of the middle Iron Age
enlargement of the defences.

Vegetation and land use
Mixed vegetation varying with aspects, caused by prominent earthworks. Increasing levels of
bracken, willow herb and scrub. Recreational use. Grazed by sheep from 1
st
January to 31
st

December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
Bracken and scrub require control; some footpath erosion.

Assessment of significance
The rampart will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the methods employed
in, its construction. Buried deposits under the rampart are likely to contain evidence of
prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort.

































Page 104 of 170

Fig 100: rampart (R3) to the north and south of the western entrance corridor
Page 105 of 170
5. Rampart (R3) and the natural slope along the north western
part of the defensive circuit

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
Forming part of Rampart 3 and representing an early phase of the middle Iron Age
enlargement of the defences. This component has been sampled by excavation by Varley and
ONeil. Remains of possible building platforms have been recorded.

Vegetation and land use
Mixed vegetation; high levels of bracken, willowherb and scrub. Recreational use. Grazed by
sheep between 1
st
January and 31
st
December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
Bracken and scrub control required.

Assessment of significance
The rampart will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the methods
employed, in its construction. Buried deposits under the rampart are likely to contain evidence
of prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort.







Fig 101: rampart (R3) and the natural slope along the
north western part of the defensive circuit, looking north
east

Page 106 of 170
Fig 102: rampart (R3) and the natural slope along the north western part of the
defensive circuit
101
Page 107 of 170
6. Rampart (R3) and the natural slope along the southern and
south eastern parts of the defensive circuit

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
Forming part of Rampart 3 and representing an early phase of the middle Iron Age
enlargement of the defences. This component has been sampled by excavation by Varley and
ONeil. Remains of possible building platforms have been recorded.

Vegetation and land use
Generally open unimproved grassland with some extensive spreads of bracken. Scrub is
generally sparse though there are some larger patches. Recreational use and grazed by sheep
between 1
st
January and 31
st
December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
Bracken and scrub control required. The slope is steep and is more amenable to grazing with
sheep than to other control methods.

Assessment of significance
The rampart will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the methods employed
in, its construction. Buried deposits under the rampart are likely to contain evidence of
prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort.





























Page 108 of 170


Fig 103: rampart (R3) and the natural slope along the southern and south eastern
parts of the defensive circuit
108
47
105
104
Page 109 of 170


Fig 105: dense bracken on steep outer
slope, south east side of hillfort

Fig 106: the southern slopes in c. 1995 with
willowherb, broom and incipient scrub.
Source: Thompson 1996, Pl 3

Fig 107: the southern slopes in c. 1995 with
a typical community; sheep are grazing an
area cut earlier in the year.
Source: Thompson 1996, Pl 2


Fig 108: broom growing on south eastern defences, looking south

Fig 104: bracken on natural slope along
south eastern parts of defences
Page 110 of 170

7. Pit group and the associated shelf to the north of the western
entrance corridor

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
These deep pits form part of the middle Iron Age phase of the enlargement of the defences
around the western entrance corridor.

Vegetation and land use
Six pits or hollows with variable quantities and depths of water. The ponds are surrounded by
variable vegetation including high levels of bracken and scrub. Recreational use. The pits are
ecologically important. Grazed by sheep between 1
st
January and 31
st
December, excluding 15
th

March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
The state of the pits gives cause for concern; they are very overgrown and choked with
vegetation; only one (Pit 5) has visibly clear water. The accumulation of debris will have reduced
the depth and volume of water available to aquatic life. Most of the pits are colonised by seeded
willow trees most of which should be removed (it may be prudent to leave some for wildlife). It
is apparent that there has not been any maintenance for some time.

The pits are numbered 1-6 on the survey plan overleaf.

Assessment of significance
Buried deposits within these pits are likely to contain evidence of prehistoric land use in the
vicinity of the hillfort. Their retention of water indicates that well-preserved organic remains,
including artefacts, have probably survived.



























Page 111 of 170

Fig 109: pit group and the associated shelf to the north of the western entrance
corridor
1
2
4
5
6
3
Photographs of Pits 1- 6 in
Section 4 and gazetteer:

Pit 1: 110,111,112
Pit 2: 113,114,115
Pit 3: 116,117,118
Pit 4: 56, 57,119,120,121
Pit 5: 122,123,124
Pit 6: 125,126

Page 112 of 170


Fig 110: Pit 1 viewed from the west,
March 2010
Fig 111: Pit 1 in December, 1993. Source:
Thompson & Cathersides 1994, Pl 10
Fig 112: Pit 1 in c. 1995. Source:
Thompson 1995
Fig 113: Pit 2, March 2010





Fig 115: Pit 2 in December 1994.
Source: Thompson & Cathersides 1994, Pl 11

Fig 114: Pit 2 in c.1995.
Source: Thompson 1995
Page 113 of 170


Fig 116: Pit 3 in c. 1995.
Source: Thompson 1995

Fig 117: Pit 3 in March 2010


Fig 118: Pit 3 in December, 1993.
Source: Thompson & Cathersides 1994, Pl 2
Fig 119: Pit 4 in March 2010

Fig 120: Pit 4 in c. 1995.
Source: Thompson 1995

Fig 121: Pit 4 in December 1993.
Source: Thompson & Cathersides 1994, Pl 13

Fig 122: Pit 5 in c. 1995.
Source: Thompson, 1995
Fig 123: Pit 5 in March 2010
Page 114 of 170



Fig 125: Pit 6 in March 2010
Fig 124: Pit 5.
Source Thompson & Cathersides 1994, Pl 14
Fig 126: Pit 6 in c.1995. Source: Thompson 1995



Page 115 of 170
8. Pit group and the associated shelf to the south of the western
entrance corridor

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
These pits/hollows form part of the middle Iron Age phase of the enlargement of the defences
around the western entrance corridor.

Vegetation and land use
Generally open unimproved grassland with sparse bracken although there are some more
extensive patches. Scrub is sparse and occurs in pockets. Recreational use. Grazed by sheep
between 1
st
January and 31
st
December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
Bracken and scrub growth needs control though this would be a lower priority than in other
parts of the site. There is evidence of erosion across the top of the pits, suggesting mountain
biking activity; this should be monitored.

Assessment of significance
Buried deposits within these pits/hollows are likely to contain evidence of prehistoric land use
in the vicinity of the hillfort. This component has been sampled by excavation by Varley and
ONeil.
































Page 116 of 170
Fig 127: pit group and the associated shelf to the south of the western entrance corridor
128, 129, 130
Page 117 of 170


Fig 129: pit group and the associated
shelf to the south of the western
entrance corridor

Fig 128: erosion across pit group, possibly
caused by mountain biking


Fig 130: pit group and the associated shelf to the south of
the western entrance corridor
Page 118 of 170
9. Rampart and the accompanying external ditch forming the
inner part of the outwork defining the pit group and the associated
shelf to the south of the western entrance corridor

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
This component forms part of the middle Iron Age phase of the enlargement of the defences
around the western entrance corridor.

Vegetation and land use
Generally open grassland with incipient scrub; sparse bracken, though there are some larger
patches. Recreational use. Grazed by sheep between 1
st
January and 31
st
December, excluding
15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
Some bracken and scrub control is needed but this would be a lower priority than in other
parts of the site. There is evidence of rabbit activity.

Assessment of significance
The rampart will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the methods
employed, in its construction. Buried deposits under the rampart and within the ditch are
likely to contain evidence of prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort. The ditch may
also contain contemporary and later artefacts.































Page 119 of 170


Fig 131: rampart and the accompanying external ditch forming the inner part of the
outwork defining the pit group and the associated shelf to the south of the western
entrance corridor

133
132 134
Page 120 of 170

Fig 132: view from top of rampart
towards north east above dry pits


Fig 134: rabbit activity on inner face of rampart
Fig 133: gorse and bracken on outer face of
rampart

Page 121 of 170
10. Rampart and the accompanying external ditch forming the
outer part of the outwork defining the pit group and the associated
shelf to the south of the western entrance corridor

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
This component forms part of the middle Iron Age phase of the enlargement of the defences
around the western entrance corridor.

Vegetation and land use
Generally open unimproved grassland with some incipient scrub and sparse bracken, though
there are a few larger patches. Recreational use. Grazed by sheep between 1
st
January and 31
st

December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
Some bracken and scrub control is needed, but this would be a lower priority than in other
parts of the site.

Assessment of significance
The rampart will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the methods employed
in, its construction. Buried deposits under the rampart and within the ditch are likely to
contain evidence of prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort. The ditch may also
contain contemporary and later artefacts.



























Page 122 of 170

Fig 135: rampart and the accompanying external ditch forming the outer part of
the outwork defining the pit group and the associated shelf to the south of the
western entrance corridor

Page 123 of 170
11. Ditch defining the pit group and the associated shelf to the
north of the western entrance corridor

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
This component forms part of the middle Iron Age phase of the enlargement of the defences
around the western entrance corridor.

Vegetation and land use
Mixed vegetation varying with aspects, caused by prominent earthworks. High levels of
bracken, willow herb and scrub. Recreational use. Grazed by sheep between 1st January and
31
st
December, excluding, 15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
Some bracken control needed; there is evidence of rutting in the bottom of the ditch probably
caused by past clearance using heavy machinery. It is understood that this practice has now
ceased and it should never be allowed to be repeated.

Assessment of significance
Buried deposits within the ditch are likely to contain evidence of prehistoric land use in the
vicinity of the hillfort. It may also contain contemporary and later artefacts.

































Page 124 of 170


Fig 136: ditch defining the pit group and the associated shelf to the north of the
western entrance corridor
137
138

139, 140, 141
142
Page 125 of 170


Fig 137: rutting in bottom of ditch
probably caused during past machine
cutting of bracken etc. south west side of
hillfort

Fig 138: rusty wheel lying in bottom
of ditch, south west side of hillfort


Fig 139: northern part of ditch in c. 1995.
Source: Thompson 1995
Fig 140: northern part of ditch in
December 1993 after a period of heavy
rain. Source: Thompson & Cathersides
1994, Pl 15
Fig 141: northern part of ditch in
March 2010

Fig 142: the ditch looking south; wet pits to
left
Page 126 of 170

12. Rampart and outer ditch bounding the ditch defining the pit
group and the associated shelf to the north of the western entrance
corridor

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
This component forms part of the middle Iron Age phase of the enlargement of the defences
around the western entrance corridor.

Vegetation and land use
Mixed vegetation varying with aspects, caused by prominent earthworks. High levels of bracken,
willow herb and scrub. Recreational use. Grazed by sheep from 1
st
January to 31
st
December,
excluding 15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
Bracken and scrub control is required. There is evidence of informal paths and accompanying
erosion which needs monitoring to allow prioritisation of repairs.

Assessment of significance
The rampart will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the methods employed, in
its construction. Buried deposits under the rampart and within the ditch are likely to contain
evidence of prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort. The ditch may also contain
contemporary and later artefacts.































Page 127 of 170



Fig 143: rampart and outer ditch bounding the ditch defining the pit group
and the associated shelf to the north of the western entrance corridor
145
146
144
Page 128 of 170


Fig 144: view to north east showing
path worn up rampart

Fig 146: informal path up rampart,
looking south east

Fig 145: remnant tree stump in outer
face of rampart
Page 129 of 170
13. Outer rampart and the natural slope bounding the ditch
forming the outwork to the north of the western entrance corridor

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
This component forms part of the middle Iron Age phase of the enlargement of the defences
around the western entrance corridor.

Vegetation and land use
Mixed vegetation varying with aspect, caused by prominent earthworks. High levels of
bracken, willow herb and scrub. Recreational use. Grazed by sheep between 1
st
January and
31
st
December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
Bracken and scrub control required; no other significant management concerns.

Assessment of significance
The rampart will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the methods employed
in, its construction. Buried deposits under the rampart are likely to contain evidence of
prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort.


































Page 130 of 170
Fig 147: outer rampart and the natural slope bounding the ditch forming
the outwork to the north of the western entrance corridor
Page 131 of 170
14. Rampart (R4) and the associated inner and outer ditches

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
This component forms part of the middle late Iron Age phase of enlargement of the hillfort.
It has been sampled by excavation by Varley and ONeil. Remains of possible building
platforms have been recorded in the inner and outer ditches.

Vegetation and land use
On north west side, mixed vegetation varying with aspect, caused by prominent earthworks.
On north facing slopes (ecologically significant due to presence of rare plants) there is some
bracken encroachment and pockets of scrub. On north east and east sides, more open
unimproved grassland with sparser bracken though there are some more extensive patches.
On south and south east sides, generally open grassland with sparser bracken, though there
are some larger patches, especially of gorse and broom. Recreational use. Grazed by sheep
between 1
st
January and 31
st
December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
There are a number of concerns. Bracken control is required. There is dense scrub on the
outer face of the rampart. Selective clearance is required to remove unwanted woody growth
but leaving ecologically important species such as broom. There is evidence that some woody
arisings have not been removed. There is some evidence of informal paths, which have worn
down the rampart and there is also evidence of erosion on the top of the rampart along the line
of the footpath. There is no indication that these erosion issues have been monitored over time
to allow prioritisation of repairs.

Assessment of significance
The rampart will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the methods employed
in, its construction. Buried deposits under the rampart and within the ditches are likely to
contain evidence of prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort. The ditches may also
contain contemporary and later artefacts.






















Page 132 of 170


Page 133 of 170


Fig 148: rampart (R4) and the associated inner and outer ditches

157
158

159
160
161
156
155
152
151
154 44
153
43
42
150
149
150
162
Page 134 of 170


Fig 149: looking south along Rampart 4,
south side of hillfort
Fig 150: informal path worn down outer
face of Rampart 4, south side of hillfort
Fig 151: information panel on top of
Rampart 4

Fig 153: dense broom and other woody
growth on outer face of Rampart 4, south
side of hillfort

Fig 152: looking south along top of
Rampart 4, south east side of hillfort

Fig 154: footpath erosion on top of Rampart
4 looking south, south east side of hillfort

Page 135 of 170

Fig 155: erosion on top of Rampart 4
just east of east entrance corridor,
north east side of hillfort
Fig 156: looking north west along top of
Rampart 4, north east side of hillfort

Fig 158: looking north between Rampart 4 and
rampart/counterscarp bank (Rampart 5), north west side of
hillfort
Fig 157: survey pin on footpath on Rampart 4,
north west side of hillfort



Page 136 of 170






Fig 159: uncleared arisings of woody
growths on outer face of Rampart 4, north
west side of hillfort
Fig 160: ditch below outer face of
Rampart 4, looking north east, south
west side of hillfort

Fig 161: ditch below Rampart 4, south
west side of hillfort
Fig 162: looking south west from top of
Rampart 4


Page 137 of 170
15. Rampart/counterscarp bank (R5)

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is partly in Guardianship. The parts in Guardianship
also form part of the Wildlife Site.

Archaeological remains
This component forms the outermost part of the middle late Iron Age phase of enlargement
of the hillfort.

Vegetation and land use
On north west side, mixed vegetation varying with aspect, caused by prominent ramparts
above. Some dense bracken and high levels of willowherb and scrub. Some bracken and scrub
on north side. On north east side, sparser bracken and scrub. On south and south east sides,
generally more open unimproved grassland with some dense patches of bracken and scrub.
Improved pasture lies beyond the perimeter fence. Recreational use inside the fence line, ie in
the area in Guardianship. The area in Guardianship is grazed by sheep between 1
st
January
and 31
st
December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
There are a number of concerns. Bracken and woody growth control is required. Woody
growth and bracken of varying density are in evidence in various places along the perimeter
fence/hedge and are an entrapment hazard for sheep. In places, mature hawthorns have
prevented re-growth of grass and this is encouraging rabbits. The perimeter post and wire
fence is deteriorating and becoming increasingly less stock-proof. There is some footpath
erosion; this does not require immediate action but the erosion issues should form part of a
monitoring programme to allow prioritisation of erosion repairs. The cattle track that connects
with the east entrance corridor is strewn with stone from a collapsing revetment wall; as
visitors can access this, it presents a trip hazard. The wall itself is in a serious state of collapse
and is probably unrecorded as a significant part of the defences; the same is true for its
continuation around the northern edge.

There are management implications in the fact that the track and parts of rampart
5/counterscarp bank appear to lie outside the current scheduled area as mapped (see 2.21 and
4.62 above).

Assessment of significance
The rampart/counterscarp will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the
methods employed in, its construction. Buried deposits under the rampart/counterscarp bank
are likely to contain evidence of prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort.
















Page 138 of 170


Fig 163: rampart/counterscarp bank (R5)
168
169 170, 171
172, 173
176
174
175
45
48
177
164
165
166
50
167
51
179,
180
178
182, 183
181
Page 139 of 170

Fig 164: looking south along top of
rampart/counterscarp bank (R5), south
side of hillfort
Fig 165: perimeter post and wire fence in
disrepair, south side of hillfort

Fig 166: bare soil under hawthorn
hedge looking towards west entrance
between rampart/counterscarp bank
(R5) and the outer face of Rampart 4,
south east side of hillfort
Fig 167: water trough for sheep against
perimeter fence, south east side of hillfort


Fig 169: stone exposed in footpath on
top of rampart/counterscarp bank (R5),
north side of hillfort
Fig 168: looking south from top of
rampart/counterscarp bank (R5); outer
face of Rampart 4 to left, north side of
hillfort


Page 140 of 170



Fig 170: looking south from top of
rampart/counterscarp bank (R5), north
side of hillfort
Fig 171: the same view as in Fig 170 to
left in c. 1994. Source: Thompson &
Cathersides 1994, Pl 20


Fig 172: looking south west from top of
rampart/counterscarp bank (R5), north
west side of hillfort
Fig 173: approximately the same view as in
Fig 172 in c. 1994. Source: Thompson &
Cathersides 1994, Pl 18

Fig 175: unlayed hedge on perimeter
boundary, north west side of hillfort
Fig 174: un-maintained hedge on perimeter
boundary, north west side of hillfort
Page 141 of 170

Fig 176: looking north along top of rampart/counterscarp bank
(R5), north west side of hillfort

Fig 177: mole activity, south west side
of hillfort

Fig 178: cattle track with stone from
collapsed revetment wall, north east side of
hillfort

Fig 179: detail of revetment wall

Fig 180: rabbit activity in association with
mature hawthorn trees below revetment wall
on cattle track, north east side of hillfort

Page 142 of 170


Fig 181: detail of rabbit activity


Fig 183: revetment wall on north side of
rampart/counterscarp bank (R5)
Fig 182: revetment wall on north side of
rampart/counterscarp bank (R5)

Page 143 of 170
16. Western entrance corridor

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
The entrance corridor provides access into the hillfort from the west and has been extended
throughout the Iron Age use of the site.

Vegetation and land use
The banks support coarse unimproved grass. Beyond the entrance gates there is a small area
of mown grass around the information panels. The floating path lies on short grass that is
maintained by mowing and strimming. Recreational use; this is the entrance used by visitors
to the hillfort. The corridor leads via a gate to the pasture at the top of the hillfort. Grazed by
sheep between 1
st
January and 31
st
December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st
June.

Summary of management issues
Most management issues have been addressed through the Old Oswestry Hillfort Visitor
Improvement Project (see 2.30-2.32 above). There are signs of erosion setting in along both
sides of the floating path. It is possible that there are areas of bare soil because the grass
seed sown following completion of the path was not allowed to establish properly before
access was allowed. However, some visitors do not use the path and this is undoubtedly
causing erosion. The wording on the large H information panel does not properly explain
the constraints relating to the scheduled monument (eg metal detecting). There is no
information for visitors about the ecological significance of the hillfort. There is no
information about management objectives generally (eg the integrated approach to
maintenance). There are no signs requesting dog owners to remove and bin dog waste (but
there is only one wheelie bin in the car park and some dog owners probably do not think it is
intended for this purpose). There is no sign in the small car park requesting visitors to park at
Gatacre when events are on and the site is busy. There is evidence of mole activity
immediately inside the entrance gates.

Assessment of significance
Banks forming the entrance corridor will retain important evidence concerning the date of,
and the methods employed, in their construction and later modification. Buried deposits under
these banks are likely to contain evidence of prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort.
Buried deposits and features situated within the entrance corridor may also survive.


















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Fig 184: western entrance corridor
186
190
55, 197, 198,
199, 200, 201
188
191
195,
196
185
187,
193,
194
59,
189
Page 145 of 170


Fig 185: mole activity on north side of
western entrance corridor
Fig 186: mole activity south side of
western entrance corridor

Fig 187: gates at western entrance Fig 188: wooden ornamental seat
alongside floating path

Fig 189: detail of large information panel
inside entrance gates
Fig 190: gate onto Rampart 2 from the
western entrance corridor; leaning post is
loose





Page 146 of 170

Fig 191: degradation of grass around
information panel at western entrance
Fig 192: Llwyn Road: pavement leading
from disabled car park to Gatacre car park

Fig 193: footpath and walking for life
signs on west entrance gate
Fig 194: sign on west entrance gate
warning dog owners of risks posed by dogs
to farm animals


Fig 195: sign in disabled car park opposite
west entrance
Fig 196: wheelie bin in disabled car
park opposite west entrance



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Fig 197: western entrance corridor in
2006, before installation of the floating
path
Fig 198: the same view as in Fig 198, showing
installation of the floating path in 2008. The
rubble core shown here underlies the surface
stone shown being laid in Fig 201 below.
Fig 199: unfinished floating path
proceeding towards the western entrance
of the hillfort
Fig 200: surface stone being laid on the
floating path
Fig 201: the completed floating path. After the path was installed, areas
of bare soil were grass-seeded

Page 148 of 170
17. Eastern entrance corridor

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is in Guardianship. It also forms part of the Wildlife
Site.

Archaeological remains
The entrance corridor provides access into the hillfort from the east and has been extended
throughout the Iron Age use of the site.

Vegetation and land use
The corridor cuts through ramparts which support unimproved grassland. The corridor is used
primarily as a cattle track by cattle grazed by Oldport Farm; it is their only access to the
plateau. Recreational use; gates placed along the corridor allow access to the ramparts.

Summary of management issues
The uneven surface of the track is a potential trip hazard to visitors. The signs warning of
grazing sheep do not appear to be removed or covered up when sheep are not grazing. There
is an anomalous sign pointing to the Old Oswestry Tour. Erosion has set in around the two
opposing gates at the top of the corridor.

Assessment of significance
The bank forming the entrance corridor will retain important evidence concerning the date of,
and the methods employed in, its construction and later modification. Buried deposits under
the bank are likely to contain evidence of prehistoric land use in the vicinity of the hillfort.
Buried deposits and features situated within the entrance corridor may also survive.































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Fig 202: eastern entrance corridor

206,
208
207

203,
204,
205
209
210
Page 150 of 170






Fig 203: Eastern entrance corridor
looking towards the grazed plateau
Fig 204: Eastern entrance corridor viewed
from the innermost rampart, looking north
east
Fig 205: Eastern entrance corridor in 1994.
Source: Thompson & Cathersides 1994, Pl 29
Fig 206: sign warning of sheep grazing
Fig 208: close-up view of sign shown in
Fig 206 above
Fig 207: anomalous sign inviting visitors to
the Old Oswestry Tour via Rampart 4
Fig 209: eastern entrance corridor
viewed from the plateau
Fig 210: degradation of grass around the gate
at top of eastern entrance corridor


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18. Wats Dyke, running north and south from the hillfort

Designations
It is part of the scheduled monument and is partly in Guardianship. The parts in Guardianship
also form part of the Wildlife Site.

Archaeological remains
The dyke consists of a bank and a ditch. The terminals of the dyke extend a short distance into the
outer defences of the hillfort.

Vegetation and land use
The parts of the dyke in Guardianship are managed as unimproved grassland grazed by sheep
between 1
st
January and 31
st
December, excluding 15
th
March to 1
st
June. Outside the
Guardianship area, the dyke lies within improved pasture, managed under ELS (see further
Appendix 5). Outside the Guardianship area on the north side, the dyke follows a field boundary
supporting mature hedging. Outside the Guardianship area on the south side, the dyke survives as
a plough-reduced earthwork in improved pasture. Recreational use within area in Guardianship
and also on Wats Dyke via Wats Dyke Way, which runs along the northern section of the dyke
(see further 2.27).

Summary of management issues
The parts of the dyke in Guardianship are maintained by grazing with sheep and there are no
specific concerns. The southern part of the dyke outside the Guardianship area is protected to
some extent by being unploughed and managed as improved pasture. The northern section of the
dyke is somewhat more vulnerable as it is surmounted by a hedge and is therefore susceptible to
root damage, lack of a protective grass cover and rabbit activity; indeed EH FMW reports
indicate that these are real threats and should be monitored on a regular basis. There is potential
for erosion on footpath that runs alongside the northern section of the dyke.

Assessment of significance
The bank will retain important evidence concerning the date of, and the methods employed in, its
construction. Buried deposits under the bank and within the ditch are likely to contain evidence of
early medieval land use in the vicinity of this boundary. The ditch may also contain contemporary
and later artefacts.


















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Fig 211: Wats Dyke, running north and south from the hillfort
213
212
214
215
Page 153 of 170




Fig 212: Wats Dyke on the north side of
the hillfort
Fig 213: Wats Dyke on the north side of
the hillfort
Fig 215: Wats Dyke on the south side of the
hillfort
Fig 214: Wats Dyke on the south side
of the hillfort

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Grounds Maintenance Contract
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Appendix 4: Grounds Maintenance Contract (source: EH)









GROUNDS MAINTENANCE SPECIFICATION
Old Oswestry Hill Fort
2004









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Contents
1. DRAWINGS ................................................................................................................................................ 4
2. MAINTENANCE OF GRASS AND OTHER AREAS ............................................................................ 4
3. PRE GRASS CUTTING MAINTENANCE ............................................................................................. 6
4. DISPOSAL OF RUBBISH ........................................................................................................................ 6
5. GRASS CUTTING STANDARDS ............................................................................................................ 6
5.1 NOT USED .................................................................................................................................................. 6
5.2 NOT USED .................................................................................................................................................. 6
5.3 MEDIUM GRASS ....................................................................................................................................... 6
5.4 LONG GRASS ............................................................................................................................................ 6
5.4.1 LONG GRASS (1) ....................................................................................................................................... 6
5.4.2 LONG GRASS (2) ....................................................................................................................................... 7
5.4.3 LONG GRASS (3) ....................................................................................................................................... 7
5.4.4 LONG GRASS (4) ....................................................................................................................................... 7
6. WEED CONTROL - CHEMICAL............................................................................................................ 7
6.2 JAPANESE KNOTWEED ......................................................................................................................... 8
6.3 CREEPING THISTLES ............................................................................................................................. 8
6.4 NETTLES .................................................................................................................................................... 8
6.5 BRACKEN .................................................................................................................................................. 8
6.6 WILLOWHERB ......................................................................................................................................... 9
6.7 WOODY GROWTH ................................................................................................................................... 9
7. WEED CONROL -MECHANICAL ......................................................................................................... 9
7.1 RAGWORT ................................................................................................................................................. 9
7.2 WOODY GROWTH ................................................................................................................................... 9
7.3 BRACKEN CONTROL - MECHANICAL .............................................................................................. 9
7.4 BRACKEN CONTROL HAND PULLING ......................................................................................... 10
7.5 WILLOWHERB CONTROL .................................................................................................................. 10
8. HEDGE MAINTENANCE....................................................................................................................... 10
8.1 HEDGE MAINTENANCE TOP AND TWO SIDES .......................................................................... 10
9. MAINTENANCE OF HARD SURFACED AREAS .............................................................................. 11
9.1 HIGH MAINTENANCE AREAS ........................................................................................................ 11
10. COLLECTION OF RUBBISH ........................................................................................................... 11
11. POND MAINTENANCE ..................................................................................................................... 12
12. SITE FURNITURE (including fencelines, stiles, footbridges, bins, etc.) ...................................... 12
13 PEST CONTROL ..................................................................................................................................... 12
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HISTORIC BUILDINGS AND MONUMENTS COMMISSION
SECTION 1: TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE AND SCHEDULE OF
REQUIREMENTS
Items 1 - 4 and 10 11 apply to ALL SITES
Other items apply to individual sites as indicated on drawings
1. DRAWINGS
The Contractor shall carry out all operations as specified, and in accordance
with the Contract Drawings, which indicate the various standards of treatment
required.
Drawing number: EMC/468/01

2. MAINTENANCE OF GRASS AND OTHER AREAS
2.2 Prior to mechanical operations, the contractor shall check the site to establish
the presence and location of any livestock, and shall vary his operation
accordingly to avoid disturbance.
2.3 Once grass cutting has commenced in each area it shall be completed without
delay. Grassed areas shall not be left part completed over weekends, holidays
or event days.
2.4 Grass cutting machines shall be appropriate for the size of the area being
maintained and the standards of finish specified. Inaccessible margins,
isolated rough areas of any size, corners, fence lines, hedges, buildings and the
like shall be cut by other suitable machine, strimmer or by hand at the same
time. All cutting operations, including trimming or chasing up to be carried
out in parallel and completed as part of the same operation. Chemical control,
or the use of growth retardants, is only allowed with the express permission of
the C.M.
2.5 Cutters of all mowers shall be sharp properly set and shall cut the sward
evenly and cleanly. The direction of cut shall, where possible, be varied on
each occasion to prevent tramlines or ribbing of the surface.
2.6 All growth at and around obstructions in grass areas and grass overgrowing
edges of flower beds, shrubberies, bases to trees, fire breaks and the like shall
be cut on each occasion that the grass is cut. All arisings from the operations
described in this clause shall be collected, removed and disposed of as
described in section 4. Chemical control is only allowed with the express
permission of the C.M.
2.7 Where the grass abuts a horizontal hard surface, or watercourse, the Contractor
shall cut it back to the edge without forming a channel whenever the
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overgrowth of grass exceeds 50mm, using approved equipment, cutting to
straight lines and smooth curves as appropriate. Arisings shall be collected,
removed and disposed of.
2.8 GRASS ON BANKS, TRAVERSES, SIDES AND BOTTOMS OF DITCHES
Grass shall be maintained to the same standard of finish as that on
immediately adjacent level areas. Where the machines specified for
maintaining the level areas cannot be used for the banks or sides and bottoms
of ditches, the contractor shall provide suitable alternative machines or cut by
hand to give the same standard of finish.
2.9 BRACKEN ARISINGS
Bracken can be potentially toxic to livestock. All arisings that include bracken
shall be collected and removed from site immediately.
2.10 ARISINGS ON PATHS, ROADS, WALLS, HARDSTANDING ETC.
All arisings from any grass cutting operations scattered onto paths, roads,
hardstanding, paved or similarly hard landscaped areas and beds/borders are to
be collected up, removed and disposed of as described in section 4,
immediately after grass cutting is completed. If cutting operations are
expected to take more than one day, any scattered arisings on these areas are
to be collected up at the end of each working day. Arisings falling on walls
shall be gently brushed off or blown with appropriate machinery.
2.11 ARISINGS ON GRASSED AREAS
All arisings from grass cutting operations scattered over the cut areas are to be
collected up, removed and disposed of as described in section 4, immediately
after grass cutting is completed. If cutting operations are expected to take
more than one day, any scattered arisings on these areas are to be collected up
at the end of each working day.
2.12 LEAVES
All fallen leaves, twigs, branches, flowers and fruit from trees or shrubs shall
be removed from the grassed areas at the time of cutting, and shall be deemed
to be included as part of the grass cutting operation. Any heavy build up of
leaves on grassed areas in the autumn is to be removed in accordance with
section 11.
2.13 GRAZING
An annual grazing licence is let to a local farmer for grazing sheep between 1
January and 31 December excluding the period 15 March to 1 June. All
operations on the site must be undertaken in conjunction with the grazier.
Where required, prior arrangements must be made with the grazier to ensure
the stock is not affected by any operations.
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3. PRE GRASS CUTTING MAINTENANCE
3.1 The Contractor shall inspect all areas on each occasion before commencing
grass cutting operations, and shall remove and dispose of all litter, mole hills,
and other debris which might cause personal injury, or damage to machinery,
equipment and other installations, or be deleterious to the site. All arisings
from this item to be disposed of as described in section 4 except for any debris
which may have come from fabric of the monument. Where this is the case,
the item shall be moved to the edge of the grass at their nearest point found.

4. DISPOSAL OF RUBBISH
4.1 Unless specifically excluded within the appropriate section, ALL vegetative
and non-vegetative arisings originating from work undertaken in accordance
with any section of this lump sum element are to be collected up (within the
timescales shown in sections 2.10 & 2.11), removed and disposed of off site to
a licensed disposal facility by the Contractor. The Contractor shall be
responsible for all charges, taxes, fees, transport and other expenses in
connection with tipping, unless otherwise specified, in writing, by the C.M.

5. GRASS CUTTING STANDARDS
5.1 NOT USED
5.2 NOT USED
5.3 MEDIUM GRASS
5.3.1 Grass shall be cut using approved tractor mounted or pedestrian guided rotary,
reciprocating knife type mower or brushcutter. Arisings may be left in situ
provided these are evenly distributed and not visible. Any visible lines,
clumps, piles of similar to be collected removed and disposed of as described
in section 4. Tractor mounted flail mowers shall not be used.
The contractor shall maintain medium grass areas so that the maximum height
of growth does not exceed 150mm. Machines are to be set to give a height of
cut of 75mm.
5.4 LONG GRASS
5.4.1 LONG GRASS (1)
Grass and all woody and other growth shall be cut using approved tractor
mounted or pedestrian guided flail, rotary, reciprocating knife mower or
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brushcutter as necessary. Arisings shall be collected, removed and disposed of
as described in section 4. No arisings are to be left in the water after
clearance.
Work is to be carried out on 1 occasion per year during September. Machines
are to be set to give a height of 75mm.
5.4.2 LONG GRASS (2)
Grass and all woody and other growth shall be cut using approved tractor
mounted or pedestrian guided flail, rotary, reciprocating knife mower or
brushcutter as necessary. Arisings shall be collected, removed and disposed
of as described in section 4. No arisings are to be left in the water after
clearance.
Work is to be carried out on 2 occasions per year during the July and October.
Machines are to be set to give a height of 75mm.
5.4.3 LONG GRASS (3)
Grass and all woody and other growth shall be cut using approved tractor
mounted or pedestrian guided flail, rotary, reciprocating knife mower or
brushcutter as necessary. Arisings shall be collected, removed and disposed
of as described in section 4. No arisings are to be left in the water after
clearance.
Work is to be carried out on 3 occasion per year during late June, late August
and late October. Machines are to be set to give a height of 75mm.
5.4.4 LONG GRASS (4)
Grass and all woody and other growth shall be cut using approved tractor
mounted or pedestrian guided flail, rotary, reciprocating knife mower or
brushcutter as necessary. Arisings shall be collected, removed and disposed of
as described in section 4. The Contractor shall additionally ensure that at no
time shall any vegetation overhang the pavement alongside this area.
Work is to be carried out on 4 occasion per year during the first week of April,
June, August and October. Machines are to be set to give a height of 75mm.

6. WEED CONTROL - CHEMICAL
6.1 GENERAL
Weed control by chemical shall only be undertaken with the express
permission of the CM. No chemical applications shall be allowed within the
areas identified as sensitive. Any chemical application shall be arranged so
that sheep or other livestock are not affected by the chemical application, or
dead or dying plant material.
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Spraying to be carried out by certified operators only. C.M. will require to
inspect certificates of competence before spraying commences. COMPLY
WITH ALL LABEL INSTRUCTIONS.
C.M. must be advised 5 days in advance of each intended date for spraying
and must approve intended date before commencement of works.
Any changes to chemicals specified MUST be approved in writing by the
C.M. in advance of the commencement of work.
6.2 JAPANESE KNOTWEED
Spot treat all Japanese Knotweed using agricultural grade Glyphosate based
systemic herbicide, Roundup Biactive or equal & approved, taking care not
to affect non-target species. Use a guarded sprayer nozzle to avoid spray drift.
6.3 CREEPING THISTLES
Spot spray creeping thistle using foliar translocated picolinic herbicide
(clopyralid sold as Dow Shield or equal & approved) taking care not to
affect non-target species.
Work to be carried out on 2 no. occasions firstly during early spring when
Creeping Thistles are at the rosette stage, followed by a second treatment
approximately 3 - 4 weeks later. C.M. must be advised 5 days in advance of
each intended date for spraying and must approve intended date before
commencement of works.
6.4 NETTLES
Spot treat all nettles using agricultural grade Glyphosate based systemic
herbicide, Roundup Biactive or equal & approved, taking care not to affect
non-target species. Use a guarded sprayer nozzle to avoid spray drift.
6.5 BRACKEN
Spray all bracken using Asulox or equal & approved, taking care not to
affect non-target species.
Any changes to chemical MUST be approved in writing by the C.M. in
advance of the commencement of work.
Spraying to be carried out by certified operators only. C.M. will require to
inspect certificates of competence before spraying commences. COMPLY
WITH ALL LABEL INSTRUCTIONS.
Work to be carried out on one occasion during late July, to be completed by
the end of July. C.M. must be advised 5 days in advance of each intended date
for spraying and must approve intended date before commencement of works.

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6.6 WILLOWHERB
Spot treat all Willowherb using agricultural grade Glyphosate based systemic
herbicide, Roundup Biactive or equal & approved, taking care not to affect
non-target species. Use a guarded sprayer nozzle to avoid spray drift.
6.7 WOODY GROWTH
Spot treat all previously cut woody growth with a triclopyr based herbicide,
taking care not to affect non-target species. Use a guarded sprayer nozzle to
avoid spray drift. Spraying must not be undertaken within 25m of water.

7. WEED CONROL -MECHANICAL
7.1 RAGWORT
7.1.1 Hand pull all Ragwort growing on site before flowers open. Ensure all basal
parts are removed.
7.1.2 Work is to be carried out on 2 no. occasions each year the first during June to
be completed by the end of June and the second during late July to be
completed between 20th - 31st July
7.1.3 Arisings shall be collected immediately after pulling and placed into airtight
plastic bags, which should be sealed when full and then removed and disposed
of as described in section 4.
7.2 WOODY GROWTH
7.2.1 Woody growth shall include all tree and shrub species, EXCEPT Gorse,
Broom, heather, Bilberry and honeysuckle. Growths shall be cut to ground
level using handsaws to ensure that no trip hazard is left. Seedlings less than
25mm in diameter may be pulled providing no damage occurs tot he
monument. If close cutting to the ground is not possible, the growths shall be
cut to 300mm above ground level.. All debris shall be removed from site.
Bonfires will not be permitted on the site. No excavations to remove stumps,
and the use of stump grinders, are permitted.
7.2.2 Works shall be undertaken during the period January to March.
7.2.3 Treatment of regrowth from woody plants is included in specification clause
6.7.
7.3 BRACKEN CONTROL - MECHANICAL
7.3.1 Bracken shall be cut using approved tractor mounted or pedestrian guided
flail, rotary, reciprocating knife mower or brushcutter as necessary and set at a
height of 100mm to reduce damage to other species. All arisings shall be
collected, removed and disposed of as described in section 4. Cutting of
woody growth and willowherb is also permitted under this clause where the
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two are growing together. Damage to other vegetation by cutting at this time
must be avoided. Where bracken is growing amongst desirable vegetation, it
must be hand pulled.
7.3.2 Cutting operations shall be undertaken in Mid June when the bracken is 50-
75cm high, and again six weeks later. The second cut shall be included in the
cut for Willowherb control as specified in 13.3. These timings are critical to
ensure effective treatment.
7.3.3 In sensitive areas, bracken shall be pulled by hand to ensure minimal damage
to the important vegetation. Pulling shall be undertaken at the same time as
cutting.
7.4 BRACKEN CONTROL HAND PULLING
7.4.1 Bracken shall be pulled by hand in sensitive areas. All arisings shall be
collected, removed and disposed of as described in section 4. Damage to other
vegetation must be avoided, with the exception of willowherb and tree
seedlings that may be removed at the same time.
7.4.2 Pulling shall be undertaken in Mid June when the bracken is 50-75cm high,
and again six weeks later. These timings are critical to ensure effective
treatment, and to preserve the sensitive underlying flora.
7.4.3 The use of volunteer labour such at British Trust for Conservation Volunteers,
Shropshire Wildlife Group, or similar organisations will be permitted with the
agreement of the CM.
7.5 WILLOWHERB CONTROL
7.5.1 Willowherb shall be cut using approved tractor mounted or pedestrian guided
flail, rotary, reciprocating knife mower or brushcutter as necessary and set at a
height of 100mm to reduce damage to other species. Cutting shall be
undertaken prior to seed setting. All arisings shall be collected, removed and
disposed of as described in section 4. The second cut of bracken shall be
undertaken as part of willowherb control. Damage to other vegetation by
cutting at this time must be avoided.
7.5.2 Where willowherb is growing amongst desirable vegetation or in areas
identified as sensitive areas, it must be cut by hand, or pulled to prevent
damage.

8. HEDGE MAINTENANCE
8.1 HEDGE MAINTENANCE TOP AND TWO SIDES
The Contractor shall cut with approved implements all hedges to even level
and true vertical sides and horizontal top. Both sides and top of hedges shall
be cut back to the base of current seasons growth, immediately above
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previous seasons growth and without tearing to the old growth, unless
otherwise directed by the C.M. Clean out, dead and dying wood and rubbish
at base of hedge on each occasion. Lines must be used to ensure the correct
and precise shape of the hedge is maintained. Flail type cutters will NOT be
used.
Arisings shall be collected, removed and disposed of immediately as described
in Section 4.
Work is to be carried out on 2 no. occasions each year during late March to be
completed between 20th - 30th March and during mid September to be
completed between 10 - 20th September.
C.M. to be given 7 days notice of action to be taken under this clause.

9. MAINTENANCE OF HARD SURFACED AREAS
9.1 HIGH MAINTENANCE AREAS
All hard surfaces shall be maintained free of weeds and debris. Sweep up and
remove all litter, twigs, branches and any other extraneous debris, from the
surface of all roads, car parks, paved and gravel areas. Ensure all debris is
removed from kerbs and gutters to prevent a build-up of material.
Maintain areas free of weed, including between any paving slabs, cracks in
tarmac and from gravel areas. Translocating herbicide, or non-chemical means
may be used providing the surface is not damaged.
Arisings shall be collected, removed and disposed of as described in section 4.
Works shall be undertaken on each and every visit to the site during the
summer months, and monthly during the winter.

10. COLLECTION OF RUBBISH
10.1 On each maintenance visit, the contractor shall pick-up all litter and other
extraneous debris from the whole site including grass areas and hard surfaces.
This operation shall be over and above any clearance required prior to
mowing. Any debris that may have come from fabric of the building shall be
moved to the edge of the grass at their nearest point found.
10.2 Arisings shall be collected, removed and disposed of as described in section 4.
10.3 During the winter months where a visit is for other maintenance is not
required, litter picking shall be undertaken during the first week of each
month.

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11. POND MAINTENANCE
11.1 On each visit, the Contractor shall check the ponds for debris and remove any
visible rubbish.
11.2 One two occasions during the summer months in June and August, the
quantity of Duckweed shall be reduced by from the ponds by raking.
11.3 On one occasion per annum, during February, the Contractor shall dragfork
the pond specified in the Bills to remove any sunken debris, dead plant
material, and other unwanted material. Natural deadwood shall remain in the
ponds as habitat. The CM will advise on the amount and type of vegetation to
be removed from each pond. The Contractor shall also cut back any
herbaceous plant material growing in the pond to water level. All arisings
shall be removed from site.

12. SITE FURNITURE (including fencelines, stiles, footbridges, bins, etc.)
12.1 On each visit, the contractor shall carry out visual inspection of gates and
fences. Where gaps in fences may result in the egress of stock, the Contractor
shall notify the grazier immediately. All damage shall also be reported to the
Contract Manager or his representative by telephone, while on site or as soon
as possible thereafter. Where the damage could cause a risk, the Contractor
shall make safe or cordon off any damaged item immediately.

13 PEST CONTROL
13.1 On each visit, the Contractor shall check for the presence of moles or rabbits
on the site. If evidence is found, appropriate measures are to be taken to
eradicate the pest from the site.
Where mole hills, runs or holes are visible, the Contractor shall allow for
replacement of excavated soil to remove any trip hazards from the grassed
areas.
All pest control measures are to be approved by the CM prior to works being
undertaken.


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Fig 216: area managed by Oldport Farm under ELS. Source: Natural England
Page 167 of 170
Appendix 5

Entry Level Stewardship prescriptions for Oldport Farms holding (Agreement ref
number AG00180648 GF Kempster and Son)
Scheme runs from early 2006 until early 2011
ELS area shown on attached map
http://naturalengland.etraderstores.com/NaturalEnglandShop/NE226


ELS Prescriptions
Do not apply more than 50 kg/ha nitrogen per year as inorganic fertiliser. Where animal
manures are applied, either alone or in addition to inorganic fertiliser, the total rate of
nitrogen must not exceed 100 kg/ha nitrogen per year. Only apply during the growing
season, provided no birds are nesting in the field, and ground conditions are dry enough to
prevent soil compaction. If your current manure and fertiliser application rates are less than
this, you must not increase applications. You may find it useful to refer to the table in
Appendix 4 of the ELS handbook (3rd Edition) showing average total nitrogen supplied by
various manures.

Do not harrow or roll between 1 April and 31 May.
Supplementary feeding is allowed, but move feeders as often as required to avoid poaching.
Do not feed on or next to archaeological sites, steep slopes, footpaths or watercourses.

Manage by grazing and/or cutting, but do not cut between 1 April and 31 May. You must
remove any cuttings

Only apply herbicides to spot treat or weed wipe for the control of injurious weeds (ie
creeping and spear thistles, curled and broadleaved docks or common ragwort); invasive
non-native species (eg Himalayan balsam, rhododendron or Japanese knotweed); or
bracken.

Maintain a sward with a range of heights during the growing season so that at least 20 per
cent of the sward is less than 7 cm and at least 20 per cent is more than 7 cm, to allow plants
to flower and to provide a more varied habitat. You do not need to maintain this height
variation when the field is closed or shut up for a cut of hay or silage.

Do not top at any time, except in patches to control injurious weeds (ie creeping and spear
thistles, curled and broad-leaved docks or common ragwort); invasive non-native species
(eg Himalayan balsam, rhododendron or Japanese knotweed); bracken or areas dominated
by rushes.

You may continue adding lime, where this is your regular practice.
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Where scrub is present prevent further encroachment by grazing, mowing or topping.
Maintain as grass. Do not plough, cultivate or re-seed.

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