Work on Castle Hill starting soon!
ESSENTIAL improvement works on Castle Hill will start within days.
Contractors will be on the hill – a protected Ancient Monument – to begin improvements to footpaths and to create a wheelchair-accessible pathway.
But there are no plans yet to replace the former pub, the centre of a controversial planning saga for the past five years.
To minimise disruption to visitors the work will be done in two successive phases, each lasting about six weeks.
Kirklees Council officials have promised to work closely with conservationists and archaeologists to protect the history of the landmark site.
The new footpaths will generally be constructed in the same position as the old ones, with some modifications to reflect existing desired footpath lines and passing places.
A new level pathway route around the perimeter of the site will improve access for disabled visitors, as well as for families with pushchairs and people who experience mobility problems.
It will be reached from the existing car park on top of the hill and will have passing points at regular intervals.
The footpaths and pathway will be constructed using low-maintenance and environmentally friendly materials that have been tested in a trial section of footpath laid on the hill last summer.
Special techniques will be used to minimise disturbance to the underground archaeology.
The work, which will also include repairs to eroded areas, will be done in two sections.
While one section is under construction the second will be accessible to the public. Section 2 will start as soon as section 1 is finished.
Seats and viewing platforms will be installed to enhance visitors' enjoyment of the spectacular views.
The work is part of a programme of improvements outlined in the Castle Hill Conservation Management Plan.
This was approved by Kirklees Council in 2006 following discussions with English Heritage and a range of local interest groups and people living nearby who continue to meet regularly as part of the Castle Hill Management Advisory Group.
Clr Elizabeth Smaje, the Kirklees Cabinet member for Leisure and Neighbourhood Services, said: "'Renewal of the footpaths and repairs to eroded areas are starting points for improving Castle Hill.
"This work will help to preserve this important site and enhance the experience for visitors to the site."
Later plans also include the installation of a bridge – subject to planning permission – leading up to the Victoria Tower. That work is expected to start in the winter.
The changes at Castle Hill, the site of an Iron Age hill fort, have been given Scheduled Monuments Consent authorisation by the Department of Culture Media and Sport.
Archaeologists will have a watching brief for the work and any finds will be immediately recorded and then taken to the Tolson Museum at Moldgreen for investigation.
Posted by moss
28th March 2008ce