Especially at famous, obvious, I'm-deliberately-visiting-it sites like Silbury and Stonehenge. You don't climb up Silbury thinking it's an ordinary hill. You don't stand on the lintels at Stonehenge without knowing where you are.
Does anybody know of anyone who was actually taken to book over climbing Silbury! What actually would they be charged with? You can't claim trespass as I believe by law you have to state this on signboards - Silbury's don't say that do they! And how could they claim that you damaged the site just by walking up it. A good lawer would have it thrown out after naming all the official bodies, TV crews and archo's that had walked up there in the past. What did they do, wear slippers?
This is TIC by the way (g)
This isn't about the law. If Silbury was impervious to the human foot I would fight for the right of everyone to stand on her summit.
I agree that one peron walking up Silbury will have virtually no effect, but multiply that by potentially thousands per year and you have serious erosion problems.
Let me explain properly, from example. Take a mountain in the Lakes, North Wales, or Scotland. Many are experiencing serious erosion problems due to the amount of people walking up them. Many involve quite a bit of effort to get up, unlike Silbury, whose top is of easy access from the road.
Now consider the effect of a path worn into the hill, lets say around six inches deep into the top soil and chalk, which is small compared to the mountain areas I've quoted. This isn't only a path for feet. It's also a path for water, and ,when it rains, the water will take the line of least resistance, like it does in the mountains, and will erode the path up Silbury at an alarming rate. I have witnessed this first hand many times in the hills, and the rate of erosion is quick. If this was to happen at Silbury it would potentially erode the archaeology under the top soil, and get deeper with the years.
I hope this explains the concerns of Rhiannon, et al, who have challenged your post.
Regards and best wishes,
Yes of course I understand all that. I've studied Silbury Hill long enough and pretty much agree with what all has been said but tried not to get paranoid over it. Silbury is in the limelight at the moment and naturally it will draw people to it like a moth does to a flame but I think the amount of people who climb it these days is greatly reduced compared to when I first visited it (and climbed it) donkeys years ago when it was part of the day out to climb it...I don't think that happens any more. What I did notice the last time I was there two months ago though was the 'sneaky' way more people go straight up now from the north face after tramping through the fields leading off the path from Avebury alongside the Winterborne Stream. The disturbance to the surface you speak of was noticable there and maybe that could be directly connected to them no longer feeling 'safe' from prying eyes (good) on the road side. I'm not saying it is right, but as you know there has always been an 'accepted' path/route up to the summit and it is well defined by the way it has formed a solid path into the surface over the years and has not allowed water to penetrate quite enough to cause damage. Personally I think if people are intent on walking up then that is the way to go to cause least damage. Not agreeing with it, just passing comment. They have, if you like, been driven off the south face only to re-appear on the north where a distinct straight furrow is appearing in the hitherto unprotected surface. This needs dealing with.
I've said enough now on this subject and won't discuss it further, so I will leave it there, but I will say that Silbury Hill means a great deal to me and my personal beliefs and I would fight tooth and nail to protect it, but let's just not get too paranoid about it. It will be here for a long time yet because things won't be allowed to get out of hand you can be sure of that. That's it I'm done permanently!
Well put TE, tis true people are taking the "sneaky" way up, seen quite a few people doing so myself, the barbed wire next to the Winterbourne bridge is badly damaged due to people taking this route.
As i said earlier i'm not going to preach to people either way, if people wanna go up silbury they will find a way regardless.