Volunteers needed for Hillsborough

Volunteers sought to clean up Hillsborough Hillfort

A new volunteer group has been established to help clean up and maintain the local nature reserve and scheduled monument, Hillsborough Hillfort in Ilfracombe, and it is appealing for new members to join the efforts.

The Friends of Hillsborough group will meet for the first time on Wednesday 20 April, and then on the third Wednesday of each month. Volunteers will be helping to look after all aspects of the local nature reserve, from protecting the Iron Age ramparts, keeping them clear of bracken and scrub, to managing wildflower meadows to help pollinators and keeping paths open and walkable.

Funding to buy the tools for the group has been provided by the government’s Farming in Protected Landscape Programme through the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, administered by the North Devon Coast AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

North Devon Council’s Lead Member for Environment, Councillor Netti Pearson says: “We are thrilled to have set up the Friends of Hillsborough group, which will serve to give the reserve the attention and care it needs. This is a great opportunity to get involved in cleaning up and maintaining an area of huge historical and environmental value whilst having fun and meeting like-minded people. The first day the group meets will be spent spring cleaning the reserve through litter picking, cleaning the interpretation panels and generally having a tidy up before the summer.”

North Devon Coast AONB Project Officer, Dave Edgcombe says: “The AONB Partnership is pleased to support the establishment of a new Friends of Hillsborough volunteer group. This very much builds on the goodwill and support offered by local volunteers when the AONB Partnership delivered its Coastal Heritage Project and recent Monument Management Scheme on the site of the Hillfort. It is pleasing to think that a new group has finally been established, following in the footsteps of the town’s previous commitment to nature conservation on the edge of Ilfracombe.”

Friends of Hillsborough Volunteer Co-ordinator, Bob Schick says: “I have been doing volunteering work for the North Devon AONB for the last few years and can thoroughly recommend anyone to join in. Hillsborough Hillfort is a major scheduled monument in our area and I have helped many times to improve, preserve and document its special features. I feel it is a very interesting and worthwhile task indeed. Of equal importance is that the volunteering days provide a great opportunity to meet people, all whilst enjoying the stunning views from Hillsborough.”

Hillsborough is home to the remains of an Iron Age hill fort, the largest cliff castle in the south west, which is around 2,000 years old. Though the wooden defences of this scheduled ancient monument have long since vanished with age, the high banks which formed the ramparts guarding the entrance of the fort can still be seen. Hillsborough was created a “Public Open Space” in the 1890’s and is very much a part of Ilfracombe’s cultural heritage.

Anyone interested in joining the group should contact the Parks team by email to parks@northdevon.gov.uk or by telephone on 01271 388326.

Ilfracombe Town Council