Sites in Cornwall at risk of being lost forever

Almost 20 sites across Cornwall have been added to the official list of monuments and historic places at risk of disappearing forever.

Historic England today (October 15) revealed the historic sites most at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

The new ‘Heritage at Risk Register 2020’ provides an annual snapshot of the critical health of England’s most valued historic places.

Over the last year, 53 historic buildings and sites in the South West have been saved thanks to the determination of local communities, charities, owners, local councils and Historic England, who together want to see historic places restored and brought back to life.

However, 71 sites in the region have been added to the register because of concerns about their condition.

Over the past year, Historic England has offered £1.58 million in grants to help some of the region’s best loved and most important historic sites.

This year has been challenging but looking after and investing in the historic places that help to define our collective identity is key to the country’s economic recovery. The buildings and places rescued from the Heritage at Risk Register can help level up economic opportunity, support skilled local construction jobs, build resilience in private and public organisations and boost tourism.

Helland Bridge is ask risk of being lost, partly because of careless driving
(Image: Historic England)

Our historic places have also provided an anchor for local communities during these uncertain times. Heritage has a proven positive impact on people’s quality of life and 80% of residents believe local heritage makes their area a better place to live. It can also help support community resilience, instil pride and build confidence that communities can ‘build back better’.

Rebecca Barrett, Historic England’s regional director in the South West said: “In challenging times such as these, heritage can provide a sense of continuity and bring us solace. We also know that investing in historic places can help boost our economic recovery.

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“The 53 places rescued from the register this year show us that real progress is being made – sites lovingly rescued and brought back into use as new homes, businesses and community spaces. But there is still a long way to go and many more historic buildings and places which need the right care and attention, funding, partnerships and community support to give them a brighter future.”

Here is a list of all the sites across Cornwall which have been saved or, on the contrary, added to the register.

Sites rescued and removed from the Register in 2020:

Hall Rings, Pelynt

Hall Rings is a hillfort dating to the transition between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (8th – 5th centuries BC), and an important monument for understanding how prehistoric communities functioned. The site has been removed from the Heritage at Risk register after it was included in a farming scheme to revert the land from arable crops to grass. Recent geophysical work on the site, by kind permission of the landowner, has improved Historic England’s understanding of the site.

Sites at risk added to the Register in 2020:

Cornish Bridges

This year, 17 sites in Cornwall have been added to the Heritage at Risk Register. Three of these are historic bridges, distinctive features of Cornwall’s landscape.

Trekelland bridge. Detail of the damage following a vehicle strike

Multi-span bridges – of two or more arches supported on piers – were built throughout the medieval period. Once commonplace, most have been rebuilt or replaced and fewer than 200 are now known to survive in England. Helland Bridge is one of them, built in the 15th century, spanning the River Camel. Its carriageway is less than three metres wide, and not built for modern traffic such as caravans, horse-boxes, tractors with trailers and lorries.

Damaged parapet. Trekelland bridge is vulnerable to vehicle damage

Trekelland Bridge, another late medieval example, carries the main road between Launceston and Liskeard over the River Inney, and has been hit by multiple vehicles.

The Grade II* ornamental carriage bridge serving Chyverton House was built in 1780. It crosses a narrow stream that leads to a small lake. Recent ivy and shrub clearance has revealed problems with the walls which are unstable and leaning dangerously.

King Arthur’s Hall

The monument has been added to the Heritage at Risk Register as it is overgrown with damaging vegetation and at risk from grazing animals

King Arthur’s Hall on Bodmin Moor is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in a county famed for its wealth of ancient monuments. It stands on open moorland, overlooked by Cornwall’s two highest hills of Brown Willy and Roughtor.

Although it has been recorded since the early 16th century, the Hall’s origin is a mystery, with theories ranging from an early medieval animal pound to a Neolithic funerary enclosure. Despite its association with the legendary king, the Hall has recently been added to the At Risk register because it is heavily overgrown with gorse. The poor condition of the surrounding fence is also a concern, at threat from grazing animals – a serious problem in the past.

Volunteers clearing damaging vegetation. Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is developing a project to help many at risk monuments in the county including King Arthur’s Hall. A local community group, the TimeSeekers, is involved in researching and helping to manage the site

Volunteers have cleared some of the vegetation but on-going management is difficult in this remote moorland location. Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is developing a project to help many at risk monuments in the county and it is hoped that King Arthur’s Hall will benefit through this. A local community group, the TimeSeekers, is involved in researching and helping to manage the site.

Cornwall Live