A section of Hadrian’s Wall on the official at risk register is to be properly conserved thanks to a £500,000 funding boost.
The cash – which amounts to £537,185 in total – will also be used to help attract more visitors to the World Heritage Site.
The money has come from the SITA Trust and will be managed by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage. Linda Tuttiett, chief executive of Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, said the grant was fantastic news for Hadrian’s Wall.
“It means parts of the central section of Hadrian’s Wall, some of which are currently on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk register, can be properly conserved. Access to the Wall will be improved at several other locations and new signage and interpretation will be put in place to help to attract more visitors to the Roman frontier.”
Marek Gordon, chair of SITA Trust, added: “We are delighted to be able to provide the £537,185 required to protect sections of Hadrian’s Wall that are currently on the Heritage at Risk register and to improve the visitor experience at this national treasure.
“Over the past 15 years SITA Trust has been able to step in to protect such important heritage sites thanks to governmental support for the Landfill Communities Fund – through which we have been able to provide over £87m in easily accessible and vital capital funding.
“We hope that this significant grant will encourage other funders to come forward to support Hadrian’s Wall, ultimately removing all sections from the Heritage at Risk register.”
Some of the sections of Wall being conserved are on land owned by the National Trust. Andrew Poad, the National Trust’s property manager for Hadrian’s Wall, said: “The conservation techniques which will be used on the Wall are interesting in themselves and we hope visitors will gain greater understanding of these as they pass the sites over the summer.”
The preservation of two parts of Hadrian’s Wall including Cockmount Hill to Walltown by Greenhead and The Great Chesters Roman Fort (Aesica) which is just a mile west of Cawfields will be consolidated and will be maintained for many years to come.
After detailed surveys in May specialist stone masons will begin the conservation work on the Wall. The full project is expected to be completed in August 2013.
Hadrian’s Wall Heritage is responsible for the care, protection and management of the 150-mile Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site from the Roman coastal defences at Ravenglass in Cumbria north through Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport to Bowness-on-Solway, through Carlisle to Newcastle, Wallsend and South Shields. The Roman frontier was administered from Carlisle.
SITA Trust is an independent environmental funding body set up in 1997 to provide capital through the Landfill Communities Fund. It allocates funds contributed by SITA UK, one of the UK’s largest recycling and resource management companies. To date SITA Trust has supported more than 3000 projects to a combined value of over £87m.
This grant is one of two major awards that SITA Trust has made for conservation projects of ‘Heritage at Risk’ sites in the UK this year.
The other grant has been made to Wilton’s Music Hall in London, the oldest surviving grand music hall in the world which recently featured as a location in the film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
The news has also been welcomed by Northumberland National Park. The National Park has more than 4,000 recorded sites of historic interest and 424 historical monuments within a relatively small area of just 1,000km in its archaeological heritage. Fifty-five per cent of the National Park’s Monuments were considered as being medium to high risk prior to April 2011.
Funding was secured in April 2011 for a Heritage at Risk Project to train National Park Voluntary Rangers to be able to assess the condition of Scheduled monuments; The National Park is working in partnership with The English Heritage to carry out this project.
Harry Beamish, Former Archaeologist to the National Trust is leading the conservation of previously scheduled monuments considered at risk by the former project officer, Natalie Ward. At present 50% of scheduled monuments are considered to be medium to high risk.
Project Officer Harry Breamish’s work is to build upon the pioneering use carried out by the National Park for the Higher Level Scheme Farm payments along the wall, in Hotbanks and in other parts of the park such as Breamish Valley. This secures the maintenance and care of heritage sites, natural habitats and the natural habitats of the wildlife within the park.