Clayhanger Roman Fort

©Devon County Council/Francis Griffiths

Region: South West

Owner Type: Private

Funding Body: Private; Countryside Stewardship Scheme

Year of Intervention: 1999

Summary: Clayhanger Roman Fort- protection of the historic environment in a rural farming environment through agri-environmental schemes.

Description: Clayhanger Roman fort was discovered in 1987 through aerial photography followed by ground survey that revealed excellent survival of the enclosing ramparts as earthworks standing about 0.5m high
Issue: The field was under arable cultivation, and the ramparts, at the top of the slope surrounding the site, were considered under significant threat from erosion.
Strategy: The site was subsequently scheduled. An application for a Countryside Stewardship agreement was received in 1999 for the holding that included management works on the boundaries, margins on arable fields and the reversion of the fort to permanent grass from arable which, by that time, was under ‘set-aside’. This was a considerable commitment on the part of the farmer since the area of the fort was his most productive arable land. The application was notable for the emphasis it placed on archaeology, possibly following a drive by the Farming and Rural Conservation Agency (now DEFRA) to raise awareness of the historic environment among partners who routinely submit applications to the Countryside Stewardship Scheme
Outcome: The fort at Cudmore has now been reverted to permanent grass, to be managed under a sustainable stocking regime with no application of fertiliser. For the duration of the agreement, the threat of arable cultivation has been receded, and continued agreements could ensure the long-term survival of the site. This example reinforces the fact that farmers and landowners may undertake archaeological management works for reasons other than financial; in this case the farmer wanted to ‘do the right thing’ with an archaeological site which had gained an interest through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

Keywords: Management Plans, Preservation and Maintenance ,Sustainability

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