Public consultation for Ham Hill's National Lottery Heritage Fund project set to begin with activity filled week
As the National Lottery Heritage Fund project, ‘Uncovering Ham Hill’s past for its future’, progresses, the countryside team at Ham Hill are looking forward to sharing their initial concepts of the £1.6 million project during a week-long consultation starting on Saturday 19th February 2022.
We are kicking off the consultation with a week packed with information and activities at Ham Hill this half term. Visit the Ranger’s centre to find detailed information about plans, proposals and to have your say. Then stop by the Wildwood Play Zone for clay pot making and marshmallow toasting.
You can also view all our information and take part online by visiting www.visitsouthsomerset.com/listings/countryside-nature-and-wildlife/ham-hill-country-park.htm. The links to the consultation can be found under the ‘Project’s section.
Ham Hill is an Iron Age hillfort with Scheduled Monument status and is one of the largest in Europe. With amazing views, a wealth of history and an abundance of diverse wildlife it attracts visitors from many miles away, as well as being a popular destination for local families, dog walkers, historians, wildlife enthusiasts, runners and more.
However, the popularity of the site comes at a cost. The wildlife is more disturbed and the footpaths are eroding, damaging the ancient ramparts beneath. In 2019, Historic England listed Ham Hill on its ‘At Risk’ register, meaning that the archaeological features that define the site are in danger of being damaged beyond repair. Littering and dog fouling are another problem that the small ranger team have to contend with every day.
Some of the facilities and infrastructure at Ham Hill dates from 1975 when the site was one of the first to be designated as a County Park. Whilst it has grown in popularity since that time, the team haven’t had the resources to properly address the lack of information about the site and lack of visitor facilities that could have the potential to enhance a visit. Better paths and way marking will help more people explore with a smaller impact on the site.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project, ‘Uncovering Ham Hill’s Past for its Future’, seeks to reverse these declines and make the site better for visitors, improve habitats for wildlife, conserve archaeological features and increase volunteer and staff numbers.
During the week of February half term, there will be activities and information daily about the project, with a member of staff available to answer any questions. Visit the Ranger’s Centre at Ham Hill from Saturday 19th February until Friday 25th February, anytime between 10am – 4 pm for more information.
There will be a series of panels that explain the objectives and proposals of the project. Residents and visitors are invited to feed back their thoughts on the project in a range of ways.
Each day there will also be free drop in children’s activities run by our Community Heritage Officer at the Wildwood Play Zone on Ham Hill. Join Edd anytime between 9.30am and 1pm to toast marshmallows and make your own clay pot. You will find the play zone at the bottom of the steps in front of the pub.
SSDC Portfolio Holder for Environment Councillor Sarah Dyke said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for residents to have their say about the proposals to protect our special hillfort at Ham Hill. I would encourage everyone to go along to the Ham Hill consultation over the half term break and have their say on the new plans; you can also view the project on our web pages and complete an online consultation response. It’s important we hear how people feel about the proposals and tell us what they love about Ham Hill and be reassured that the plans are sensitive and appropriate to the natural greenspace and heritage monument. “
Countryside Ranger Paul McNeill says “Everyone that is and has been involved at Ham Hill over the last 20 years and more, have worked really hard to make it a fantastic place to visit. However, we are finding it increasingly difficult to keep on top of the repairs of the ageing infrastructure, as well as protect the archaeology, wildlife and provide facilities and experiences for our visitors. We need the extra resources now to make sure the site is sustainable in its management, to ensure visitors can find their way around and discover more about why Ham Hill is such a special and treasured space. The works that we carry out will be sensitive to the site to ensure that these special qualities are not lost.”
If you can’t get to Ham Hill during the week but would like to know more about the project and to give your feedback, please visit www.visitsouthsomerset.com/listings/countryside-nature-and-wildlife/ham-hill-country-park.htm and scroll to the ‘Projects’ section. Here you will find the panels in an online format and a link to a survey so that you can give your comments on the proposals.