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Stairs being constructed on Thetford’s Castle Hill cause a stir

The stairs being built on Castle Hill in Thetford. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

The stairs being built on Castle Hill in Thetford. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Archant

A set of stairs which are being constructed on a 12th century motte in Thetford has caused quite a stir with some people labelling them “horrid” and “horrendous”.

The stairs being built on Castle Hill in Thetford. Picture: Rebecca MurphyThe stairs being built on Castle Hill in Thetford. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Thetford’s Castle Hill, thought to be the tallest motte in England, is popular with both residents and visitors and is one of only five Iron Age hillforts in the county.

But a set of steps which are being constructed to help preserve the ancient site have not pleased some people in the town.

Some have taken to social media to voice their displeasure and a petition has been set up on Change.org to stop the “travesty” being completed.

The petition currently has 340 supporters.

Castle Hill in Thetford.Castle Hill in Thetford.

On the petition site it states: “The steps and handrails that are being put in place have completely destroyed the look and feel of this ancient monument.

“The steps IF needed should be made using sympathetic materials such as solid wood sourced locally in Norfolk. NOT the metal scaffolding that is currently being put in place.”

Thetford Town Council took over the ownership of the site in 2008 and have said due to its “previous lack of management” and erosion, the site was put on the national monuments at risk register.

A spokesman for the town council said: “In agreement with Natural England, Historic England and Norfolk Historic Environmental Services, a plan was agreed to install a stairway to the top to prevent further erosion of this main access route, provide safe access for the public, and to reduce the use of other routes, leading to further erosion, in other areas.”

Some people have complained about the look of the stairs and how they do not fit in with the look of the ancient site.

But the council have said design of the stairs means they will be durable for many years and because they are made out of composite fibre glass, there will be no corrosion and no scrap value.

Many residents have reacted positively to the stairs.

People have said the stairs will give better access for people who find it hard to climb the hill, that they can be used as a training aid for fitness purposes, and that it will help to protect the site.

What are your thoughts on the stairs at Thetford’s Castle Hill? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

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