UPDATE 20th October 2004

 Heritage Action Media Release - 19th October 2004

 Ancient footsteps retraced by henge protestors   A 5,000 year old ceremony is to be recreated this week as campaigners  carry an ancient ceremonial axe through Yorkshire's "Sacred Vale" to  Thornborough.

 "The area between Catterick and Boroughbridge can claim to be Britain's  first great religious and ceremonial centre" said George Chaplin of  Heritage Action. "It contains Britain's largest concentration of  prehistoric henges, vast circular earthworks that were used as ceremonial  meeting places. We are staging a march through this "Sacred Vale" to  highlight that the area is an immensely important part of our local and  national heritage and that plans to quarry the surrounding archaeology are  akin to vandalism."

 The trek will take place on Friday and Saturday 22nd and 23rd of October  and takes in all of the original ancient ritual landscape - seven mighty  henges and a giant stone row, as well as many other monuments that line  the route. The route focuses on the mile-long triple henge monument at  Thornborough, the location of a bitter battle between protestors and  quarry firm Tarmac.

The marchers will carry with them a prehistoric stone axe that last  travelled the route five millennia ago. The axe was originally brought  from Scotland, and was deposited in a ritual location close to  Thornborough.

 "We believe it's vitally important that the Sacred Vale is recognised for  what it is" said Mr Chaplin. "It's not just important to Yorkshire, it's  important to Britain. If the destruction of the surroundings of any of  these monuments is allowed to continue it would be a national disgrace,  not just a Yorkshire one. We hope that by setting up this heritage trail  people can be given the chance to explore this little known but supremely  important landscape. The more people that get to know about it the more  chance there is that it will be saved".

 The Sacred Vale trail is part of a new tourism initiative for the area -  the Sacred Vale Tourism Initiative, organised by George Chaplin and a  number of local businesses and helped by Heritage Action who recognise  that increased tourism to the region will help protect the monuments of  the area, and that a  long distance path is an ideal way to visit.

Save these magnificent Henges for future
Generations! Time is running out! 

We need your help in the ongoing struggle to save the Thornborough Henges in Yorkshire. This is one of the most significant ancient sites in Northern Europe. An important and devastating planning  application has been submitted by Tarmac, a division of one of the worlds largest mining companies Anglo American Plc, to increase their open cast mining activities right up to the borders of the Henges thus putting them in danger of erosion from the lake filled quarries that are left behind after excavation. There is also the problem that ancient artefacts etc. will be dug up and removed along with the gravel. This is your chance to make your concerns felt by signing this web petition. (See below) 


Thank you for your time and concern and I would be grateful if you could spread news around and encourage others to sign this important petition. More information is available on the web site below. 


Julian Gibsone Director/Cameraman ‘Out in the Fields 2004’

UPDATE 25/08/2004

Latest News on the Thornborough Henges

I suggest that anyone, who can find the time, could write in a letter of concern to the planning department of North Yorkshire County Council, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England.

Remember it only takes lots of small efforts to produce a one big result. This is a very important issue not just for ourselves but our great, great grandchildren. Once you have lost a major piece of our world heritage it is gone forever. I recommend you read the articles below to catch up on the latest important developments. In my opinion Thornborough is the most important ancient site between Stonehenge/ Avebury and the Orkneys.

Julian Gibsone Director/ Cameraman ‘Circle Chasers 2004’

More information can be found on: 


Objections to quarrying at Thornborough henge complex 

Heritage campaigners fighting to stop the destruction of the massive Thornborough henge complex this week delivered more than 600 written objections to the planning department of North Yorkshire County Council in Northallerton, northern England.

The letters - which were delivered in a wheelbarrow - are as a result of a local, national and international campaign being co-ordinated by George Chaplin, the Thornborough Campaign co-ordinator for Heritage Action.

Battle to preserve Thornborough henges 

by Norman Hammond, Archaeology Correspondent of The Times Online, 24 August 2004  

UNPRECEDENTED protests have been made in Yorkshire about plans to quarry the prehistoric ritual landscape around the Thornborough Henges.

Although the closing date for comments on the proposals is still more than a month away, North Yorkshire County Council has received more objections than for any other planning application, according to the magazine Current Archaeology.

 Thornborough — sometimes called "the Stonehenge of the North" although the monuments consist of three huge earthen banked circles without stones — has long been a scheduled ancient monument in recognition of its importance.

 But protesters say that the problem is that, as at Stonehenge, the visible monument is just the core of a densely packed ritual area of other ancient sites. "The quarry has already eaten 40 per cent of the ritual landscape of the henges, we cannot afford to lose more," Current Archaeology says.

 English Heritage stated this year that Thornborough was "the most important ancient site between Stonehenge and the Orkneys", but quarrying so far has come within yards of the henges. Although Tarmac Northern Ltd, the company involved, has responded by announcing that it will hold off plans to quarry Thornborough Moor, one of its potential gravel sources that is closest to the henges, it has applied to expand at the Ladybridge Farm site to the north. 

"If permission is granted to quarry there, it will cause the loss of a further 111 acres of archaeology that is of critical importance", Current Archaeology says. More than 10,000 people have already signed a petition against the development, organised by Heritage Action, which claims that the Ladybridge site "is potentially the most important remaining area of archaeology in the ritual landscape of the henges".

 George Chaplin of Heritage Action said that Ladybridge included the remains of a settlement between the henges and a dried-up glacial lake to the north which may have been used by those attending rituals. "Current quarrying in this general zone has already turned up large amounts of archaeology: smaller investigative excavations indicate even more lies within the Ladybridge area. It is a tragedy that despite knowing this, Tarmac is intent on going ahead," Chaplin told the magazine.

 The landscape includes settlement, alignments of pits creating avenues to structures no longer visible, and burials covering three millennia of ceremonial activity. "Much of this archaeology is extremely rare and nationally important in its own right," Current Archaeology says.   

24th August 2004


Hit Counter