Sunday, 7 September 2014

Holes on Malvern Hills blamed on rogue metal detectorists

"It was the rabbits/badgers/
gophers wot dunnit!
Not us!
Baz Thugwit

About fifty holes, bearing the characteristics of havingh been dug with a spade or a similar tool, have appeared  on protected land on the Malvern Hills on the ridge-line between Perseverance Hill and Black Hill in recent weeks.
Malvern Hills Conservators, the 'guardians of the hills', describe the holes as "reckless destruction". They say the holes [...] are seriously damaging the characteristic acid grasslands of the hills. They also threaten the Shire Ditch [...] designated as a Scheduled Monument, which means that it is an offence to destroy or damage it, or to use a metal detector there. [...] Similar holes have also been found on the Link Common. "We know what natural holes look like, such as rabbit holes or horse hoof prints and these are different," [conservation officer Beck] Baker said. "We know that no-one has been using metal detectors there with our permission." Under the Conservators' by-laws, it is an offence to remove or displace turf or soil, or to use a metal detector without prior permission.
The Shire Ditch runs along the spine of the Malvern Hills at the boundary between Herefordshire and Worcestershire. It is thought to date back to the Bronze Age, and was fortified in the 11th century.

It seems these artefact hunters did not replace the turf, and I bet that's going to be loudly commented upon on the forums tonight ("we fills our 'oles in don't we, wot about the bait diggas, eh"?). The problem lies elsewhere, in regarding archaeological sites as places to be gone over to see if there is anything collectable still left for hoiking.  

Robert Hale, 'Mystery holes on Malvern Hills are blamed on rogue metal detector enthusiasts', Worcester News 6 September 2014

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