A survey has been taking place at Trevelgue Head Cliff Castle, Porth Island, Newquay to assess erosion on the site from both visitors and storm damage.

The survey will provide a comprehensive record of the current areas of erosion, which can be monitored in the future and will enable recommendations to be made on how to deal with the eroded areas.

The work is being funded by Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, following recommendations for this work by Cornwall Council’s Countryside Archaeologist and the Heritage at Risk Project Officer for English Heritage.

As part of the work, local members of Newquay Old Cornwall Society will be trained on how to carry out future monitoring of the site, building on their current and much valued on site recording and scrub clearance work.

Trevelgue Head is an impressive Iron Age promontory cliff-castle, defined by a spectacular series of large earth and stone ramparts which defended an east-west headland 700m long and protecting, on its south side, the excellent natural harbour of St Columb Porth.

Two Bronze Age barrows survive on the headland, along with the remains of an extensive Late Iron Age/Romano British settlement. It is designated by English Heritage as a Scheduled Monument.

Cornwall Council Senior Archaeologist Ann Reynolds said: “It is one of the most heavily defended headlands in Cornwall but as a result of natural erosion and visitor pressure it is probably also one of the most heavily denuded. Last winter’s storms have also caused significant areas of erosion and minor landslips, exposing fragile archaeological layers and features.”

Sheila Harper of the Newquay Old Cornwall Society Archaeology Group said: “We are really excited at the opportunity to take part in this project, which will help look after an important part of Newquay’s past. We would also welcome anyone who would like to join the society and join in with the training day next year”.

Trevelgue Headland is a public open space owned and maintained by Cornwall Council.

A second stage of work, likely to take place next spring, will see priority consolidation repairs and recording taking place. The work is being led by PWH Conservation Surveyors Ltd, from Barnstaple.

Story posted 17 November 2014