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Trespass on SSSI sites
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tjj
tjj
3314 posts

Edited Sep 01, 2012, 22:01
Trespass on SSSI sites
Sep 01, 2012, 21:53
Oh! The Silbury thread has been locked - I thought the discussion was productive. I had something to add about 'trespass' so I'll just add it here as a little addendum (as Silbury is a SSSI).

Criminal Trespass
People who cause damage while trespassing may, in the process, commit a criminal offence
(e.g. of criminal damage of property under the Criminal Damage Act 1971) but trespass is per se not normally a criminal offence. Trespass is a criminal offence in some cases, for example on railway land or where military byelaws are in force.
Another example of criminal trespass is where land has been notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest; a trespasser may, in the process of trespassing, commit a criminal offence under Section 28P of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, if they (without reasonable excuse):
- intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage any flora or fauna or geological or physiographical features by reason of which the land is of special interest;
- intentionally or recklessly disturb fauna; and they knew what they had destroyed, damaged or disturbed was within a SSSI. Indeed, any person, whether a trespasser or not, who intentionally causes the damage noted above is also likely to be committing a criminal offence.
Sanctuary
Sanctuary
4648 posts

Re: Trespass on SSSI sites
Sep 01, 2012, 22:04
tjj wrote:
Oh! The Silbury thread has been locked - I thought the discussion was productive. I had something to add about 'trespass' so I'll just add it here as a little addendum (as Silbury is a SSSI).

Criminal Trespass
People who cause damage while trespassing may, in the process, commit a criminal offence
(e.g. of criminal damage of property under the Criminal Damage Act 1971) but trespass is per se not normally a criminal offence. Trespass is a criminal offence in some cases, for example on railway land or where military byelaws are in force.
Another example of criminal trespass is where land has been notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest; a trespasser may, in the process of trespassing, commit a criminal offence under Section 28P of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, if they (without reasonable
excuse):
- intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage any flora or fauna or geological or physiographical features by reason of which the land is of special interest;
- intentionally or recklessly disturb fauna; and they knew what they had destroyed, damaged or disturbed was within a SSSI. Indeed, any person, whether a trespasser or not, who intentionally causes the damage noted above is also likely to be committing a criminal offence.


You beat me to it June as I was about to post the full trespass law when the topic was locked.
The only problem I see with it if it reached the courts is that the accused would cite all the film crews and commercial enterprises that also climb the hill causing damage along the way but are welcomed with open arms when the wallets come out!
The Eternal
961 posts

Re: Trespass on SSSI sites
Sep 02, 2012, 00:13
Hi June,

Thanks for re-opening the debate on Silbury Hill. I hate censorship.

I climbed up Silbury once in the mid to late 90s. Can't remember exactly when, but there was nowt to stop you then. I found it a great experience in that it gave a great view, and one that helped the viewer, me, to place Silbury within her landscape. Also, at that time, I can honestly say that I didn't notice any significant damage through people going on it. Yes, there was some flattened and worn grass, but that was it. Maybe it's different now, but I haven't set foot on it since.

On the previously locked post someone wrote: "Silbury from the top is a dreary disappointment (ask anyone who's been)". I disagree, as I have said above. If only I had been asked.

However, if it is now a tresspass offence, and against the law to climb Silbury Hill, then I will respect that. I hope there is a good reason. I can't comment on whether Silbury Hill is now being damaged by people climbing it, as I haven't been on it for years.

I know that we all love Silbury Hill, and don't want to see it damaged, but I feel that the authorities often go the wrong way about stopping people - they just rub them up the wrong way, and it ends in conflict, and some people see it as a challenge to disobey the wishes of the powers that be.

All the best,
TE.
nigelswift
7401 posts

Edited Sep 02, 2012, 06:13
Locking and Climbing
Sep 02, 2012, 05:54
On the old thread, someone said "you'll get people like someone who commented above wanting ALL of us to not be allowed to visit the places". If that refers to me perhaps I can make it clear on this thread I said no such thing.

(BTW, peremptorily locking the thread without obvious justification or explanation looks much the same as someone jumping the fence at Silbury - "because I can"! Ironic or what!)
VBB
557 posts

Re: Trespass on SSSI sites
Sep 02, 2012, 06:56
The Eternal wrote:
I can honestly say that I didn't notice any significant damage through people going on it. Yes, there was some flattened and worn grass, but that was it. Maybe it's different now, but I haven't set foot on it since.

Thanks TE, you have made an important point - we here are not likely to forget the terrible collapse of 2000 but who would know visiting it now? The Hill seems perfectly OK so why the fences and signs?

Silbury Hill was closed to the public in 1974 following a leap in visitor numbers after the M4 opened resulted in serious erosion. Photographs reveal new lines of ascent created and the repair section reveals not just a top up to the path but a massive lozenge shaped repair on the south front and a section of the summit. The erosion has had to be tackled twice since, both demonstrating the amount of continuing erosion despite the ban and the fences, and highlighting the difficulties in sourcing the right sort of chalk. Moreover let's not overlook that the monument is covered in archaeology vulnerably located near the surface.

As I said elsewhere, if visitors knew the story they might think twice.
Sanctuary
Sanctuary
4648 posts

Re: Trespass on SSSI sites
Sep 02, 2012, 08:28
VBB wrote:
The Eternal wrote:
I can honestly say that I didn't notice any significant damage through people going on it. Yes, there was some flattened and worn grass, but that was it. Maybe it's different now, but I haven't set foot on it since.

Thanks TE, you have made an important point - we here are not likely to forget the terrible collapse of 2000 but who would know visiting it now? The Hill seems perfectly OK so why the fences and signs?

Silbury Hill was closed to the public in 1974 following a leap in visitor numbers after the M4 opened resulted in serious erosion. Photographs reveal new lines of ascent created and the repair section reveals not just a top up to the path but a massive lozenge shaped repair on the south front and a section of the summit. The erosion has had to be tackled twice since, both demonstrating the amount of continuing erosion despite the ban and the fences, and highlighting the difficulties in sourcing the right sort of chalk. Moreover let's not overlook that the monument is covered in archaeology vulnerably located near the surface.

As I said elsewhere, if visitors knew the story they might think twice.


To be fair though VBB much of the 'modern' surface defacing of the monument has been created since the ban and the new lines of ascent created by those who seem hellbent on climbing it away from public gaze, particularly those 'paths' created on the northern section out of sight of official eyes. Also I believe during the 2007/8 tunnel backfilling various sympathetic testings were undertaken to the sides of the hill which in itself would have caused damage to the surface not by penetrating radar but by the feet involved there moving equipment about. But as has been much mentioned the greatest danger to the hill has been the official digging into it which cannot be blamed on the public who are now taking the blame it would seem. A decision has to be made at some stage as to the permanent future of this monument by serious legislation. If the public are to be banned for set reasons i.e.damaging the surface archaeology or the fauna, then it has to be a blanket ban to be effective unless it is for scientific purposes only which will create no further damage whilst being undertaken. JP only needs to see officialdom breaking its own laws for a precedent to be set and off we'll go again. The present 'law' is not working so steps have to be taken to harden everything up.
Just as an 'aside' I have been up the hill twice as I've mentioned before and would like to go again and have tried the official way as you know without even the courtesy of a reply. I would still like to reach the top again because I agree with TE, it is a wonderful view where the builders of the Complex no doubt looked down from at some stage to admire much of what they had accomplished with great pride. And if I ever did manage to get permission I'd like it to be up a purposely constructed path so that both myself and those undertaking scientific work could walk up and no longer cause further erosion or damage to the surface elsewhere.
VBB
557 posts

Re: Trespass on SSSI sites
Sep 02, 2012, 09:32
Sanctuary wrote:
VBB wrote:
The Eternal wrote:
I can honestly say that I didn't notice any significant damage through people going on it. Yes, there was some flattened and worn grass, but that was it. Maybe it's different now, but I haven't set foot on it since.

Thanks TE, you have made an important point - we here are not likely to forget the terrible collapse of 2000 but who would know visiting it now? The Hill seems perfectly OK so why the fences and signs?

Silbury Hill was closed to the public in 1974 following a leap in visitor numbers after the M4 opened resulted in serious erosion. Photographs reveal new lines of ascent created and the repair section reveals not just a top up to the path but a massive lozenge shaped repair on the south front and a section of the summit. The erosion has had to be tackled twice since, both demonstrating the amount of continuing erosion despite the ban and the fences, and highlighting the difficulties in sourcing the right sort of chalk. Moreover let's not overlook that the monument is covered in archaeology vulnerably located near the surface.

As I said elsewhere, if visitors knew the story they might think twice.


To be fair though VBB much of the 'modern' surface defacing of the monument has been created since the ban and the new lines of ascent created by those who seem hellbent on climbing it away from public gaze, particularly those 'paths' created on the northern section out of sight of official eyes. Also I believe during the 2007/8 tunnel backfilling various sympathetic testings were undertaken to the sides of the hill which in itself would have caused damage to the surface not by penetrating radar but by the feet involved there moving equipment about. But as has been much mentioned the greatest danger to the hill has been the official digging into it which cannot be blamed on the public who are now taking the blame it would seem. A decision has to be made at some stage as to the permanent future of this monument by serious legislation. If the public are to be banned for set reasons i.e.damaging the surface archaeology or the fauna, then it has to be a blanket ban to be effective unless it is for scientific purposes only which will create no further damage whilst being undertaken. JP only needs to see officialdom breaking its own laws for a precedent to be set and off we'll go again. The present 'law' is not working so steps have to be taken to harden everything up.
Just as an 'aside' I have been up the hill twice as I've mentioned before and would like to go again and have tried the official way as you know without even the courtesy of a reply. I would still like to reach the top again because I agree with TE, it is a wonderful view where the builders of the Complex no doubt looked down from at some stage to admire much of what they had accomplished with great pride. And if I ever did manage to get permission I'd like it to be up a purposely constructed path so that both myself and those undertaking scientific work could walk up and no longer cause further erosion or damage to the surface elsewhere.


As one wag put it: the state guardianship of monuments can be likened to a soggy toilet roll - from a distance it looks like it can do the job, but ripples are evident in close contact and the experience unsatisfactory!
tjj
tjj
3314 posts

Edited Sep 02, 2012, 10:05
Re: Trespass on SSSI sites
Sep 02, 2012, 10:00
I know lots of people who have been up Silbury at some time or other - there was an experiment with musical instruments up there a few years back. The reason I likened climbing Silbury to our societies attitude to smoking in public places was to illustrate that what was acceptable and normal a few years back is now almost taboo. Attitudes change with the wisdom of hindsight.

I agree with the person who said Silbury is best viewed from afar - when it suddenly appears almost mysteriously in the landscape and sometimes creates an illusion of moving with you as you walk along somewhere like the Wansdyke. I also recommend (for those who can) a walk up to Harestone Down Stone Circle which can be accessed along the White Horse Trail. Whether this actually was a stone circle is questionable but I personally think it was. If you stand there and look back you will see in front of you West Kennett Long Barrow with Silbury perfectly aligned behind it. You can even see Windmill Hill. And to one side sits East Kennett Long Barrow suddenly taking on a prominence maybe not noticed before. Whatever Silbury was constructed for it seems to be a pivotal focal point in an archaeologically amazing landscape.
scubi63
445 posts

Re: Trespass on SSSI sites
Sep 02, 2012, 11:48
A nice barbed fence hidden within a good deep ring of natural thick prickly brambles and nettles will keep almost everybody off the hill.
Oh yes, and maybe a sniper hidden on Waden Hill to catch the rest ;o).
tjj
tjj
3314 posts

Re: Trespass on SSSI sites
Sep 02, 2012, 18:53
scubi63 wrote:
A nice barbed fence hidden within a good deep ring of natural thick prickly brambles and nettles will keep almost everybody off the hill.
Oh yes, and maybe a sniper hidden on Waden Hill to catch the rest ;o).


I know your post is tongue in cheek Scubi - barbed wire is nasty though. I had to negotiate electric fencing and barbed wire while out trespassing the other day - tricky. I went past Silbury today and had a good look from the top deck of the 49 bus; there is a clear and very defined path going up on the side visible from the Beckhampton Road. So, lots of people must go up there, and think its ok to do so if they stick to the trodden path. VBB's suggestion that the information boards explaining clearly why people shouldn't go up there seems to be the only realistic short term solution (in more than one language). It would be good if the information included details of why Silbury is a SSSI too.
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