National Park project action to save ancient moors monuments

Hundreds of ancient landmark monuments in the North York Moors National Park are being studied as part of a new initiative to safeguard them.

Monday, 15th June 2020, 10:00 am
Updated Monday, 15th June 2020, 10:13 am
There are concerns over  a number of monuments, way-markers used by pilgrims walking between the abbeys of Fountains, Rievaulx and Byland to Whitby Abbey are religious crosses, memorials and route markers.
There are concerns over a number of monuments, way-markers used by pilgrims walking between the abbeys of Fountains, Rievaulx and Byland to Whitby Abbey are religious crosses, memorials and route markers.

‘Monuments for the Future’ is a project pioneered by the Park Authority focusing on improving the condition of the vast park’s scheduled monuments, many of which date back several centuries.

There are concerns over a number of monuments, way-markers used by pilgrims walking between the abbeys of Fountains, Rievaulx and Byland to Whitby Abbey are religious crosses, memorials and route markers.

They were used to guide pilgrims across the often fog-covered moors.

Mags Waugham, the authority’s Head of Historic Environment, said they are threatened by walkers and mountain bikers, burrowing animals, some modern agricultural operations, erosion by stock, bracken encroachment and people building cairns on the historic structures.

The project provides help with conservation work such as vegetation management and erosion repair on monuments that are considered to be at risk or vulnerable of becoming so, she added.

She said: “By working with landowners, farmers and contractors we are able to care for our monuments.

“We also work in partnership with such organisations as The National Trust, Forestry England and Natural England to find the best management solution for each monument.”

The park boasts a massive 842 scheduled monuments and with the help of teams of volunteers is seeking to tackle any problems which may happen to the, said Ms Waugham.

“Some of the monuments, standing stones and crosses, have already been restored recently, said Ms Waugham. “We are scoping a couple of projects this year to work on damaged crosses.”

The monuments include single stones and piles of stones. Today the scheme has reduced the number at risk to 55.

Ms Waugham said: “Consultants and contractors repaired some of the access routes which have developed over the years. They have been removed and tidied up walkers’ cairns, which had been built by people robbing stones from the actual fabric of the scheduled monuments.”

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