Fragile archaeology protected

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Working with the National Trust and English Heritage, the Chilterns Commons Project has completed important practical work on Pitstone Common to protect the Scheduled Monument called Moneybury Hill, close to the Bridgewater Monument at Ashridge.

Moneybury Hill is scheduled as a bell barrow which is a type of Neolithic burial mound.  It was plundered hundreds of years ago.  Today the common is wooded, but it used to be open sheepwalk with extensive views so the barrow would have been seen from the Vale, perched above the village of Aldbury.  This postcard, posted in 1914, indicates how quickly the trees have grown.


Tree surgeons have cut back the branches of trees growing on the mound making them less likely to blow over in strong winds which would damage the fragile archaeology.  The mound has also been damaged by mountain bikers so a fence, made at the National Trust's sawmill on the Ashridge Estate, has been put up.  As well as protecting the archaeology, the fence will allow the delicate woodland plants to regrow on the mound. 

Work was carried out with Scheduled Monument Consent and under Section 29 of the National Trust Act 1907.  Access on foot remains via a gate in the fence by the main footpath.


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