PRESS RELEASE: Hillfort upkeep benefits from volunteer effort

Volunteers organised by the HOOOH community group recently took to the slopes of Old Oswestry in a new initiative to support the hillfort’s ongoing maintenance.
Under the guidance of English Heritage and consultant Turnstone Ecology, the team worked alongside landscape contractor, SJL Landscaping, to clear overgrown vegetation.
Neil Phillips of HOOOH said: “We made a great start on cutting down some of the overgrown vegetation in the pits to the left of the western entrance, but there is much more to do. Work is being planned carefully not just to preserve the heritage but also in the interests of the hillfort’s ecology.”
Part of an on-going programme, volunteers completed tasks across three days ahead of the breeding season for newts.
“We now have an improved view of the pits and ramparts,” said Mr Phillips. “We built several hibernacula from some of the cuttings to provide a warm habitat for birds, small animals and invertebrates.”
English Heritage and Turnstone Ecology were very appreciative of the work of the volunteers who will continue to work closely with them throughout the year to monitor the site and to help control scrub.
HOOOH’s volunteering effort comes as the group prepares for a weekend of events celebrating and promoting the 3,000-year-old monument. A seminar exploring the hillfort’s diverse role, from heritage icon to wildlife haven, takes place at Oswestry Memorial Hall on Saturday 11 February. The following day is the annual hillfort hug when an attempt will be made to encircle the hillfort with a chain of 650 people and 1km long bunting made from 1000 hearts.
A scheduled monument since 1934, Old Oswestry is in the guardianship of English Heritage.

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