Restoration of Castle Field starts at Wicksteed Park Nature Reserve
03 Sep 2010
Work has now started to restore the Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) at Castle Field in Barton Seagrave. This work is funded by Natural England's Higher Level Stewardship Scheme. The site is nationally important and has had little relevant management for many years. Castle Field SAM is not actually a castle but two moated manor houses, fishponds and associated ditches, and part of the shrunken medieval village of Barton Seagrave. The site was abandoned in the 15th century and in recent times the earthworks have become overgrown with scrub and become a dumping ground. Three day of clearing by volunteers and staff from the Wildlife Trust have now changed the whole look of the site but far more work is still required. Large amounts of elder scrub have been cut down from one of the moated sites and many bags of rubbish collected.
Dr Robin Field said 'the restoration work at Castle Field is in line with the protection of the site as required by English Heritage and Natural England and should provide an interesting historic site to visit when completed.' The work will take up to a year to finish and includes new gates, grassland restoration, a new culvert over a stream, fencing, interpretation and the return of stock to graze.
This site forms the second part of the Wicksteed Park Nature Reserve, the Water meadow being the other, which was taken over by the Wildlife Trust from Wicksteed Trust earlier this year. The project to create the reserve is led by Dr Robin Field, the Revital-ISE Project Manager and Jane Pearman, Reserves Manager for the Wildlife Trust.
Jane Pearman said 'as well as being a SAM the site is also a Local Wildlife Site for its vegetation and we hope to encourage a wide range of wildflowers to spread over the whole site. To this end the site will be grazed by the Wildlife Trust's rare breed sheep which tend to favour eating the scrub rather than the wildflowers.'
Access to the site has already been improved as an old difficult to climb stile has been replace by a new gate provided by Rights of Way. Castle Field can be found just off Barton Road to the east of Wicksteed Park.