Another hurdle has been cleared! Smiths Gore, who manage Brighton & Hove City Council’s farmland portfolio (including Castle Hill Nature Reserve), have obtained formal permission for me to go ahead with my excavation project.
There is now only one more permission to be obtained – namely that of being able to dig on a nature reserve of European significance. Luckily the reserve manager, Malcolm Emery, is dealing with this on my behalf. Because the site used to be a residence and farmyard, it is an area of high fertility (lots of poo and pee!), and therefore has become colonised by nettles and brambles. In the early 1950’s the area was bulldozed to make the site safe. This has very much reduced the biodiversity and ecological significance of this small corner of the reserve. Therefore further digging should not threaten the nature reserve’s conservation status in any way.
I have also started receiving offers of help from volunteers interested in being involved in an archaeological dig. This is excellent news! I need to decide on a fixed day once a month for volunteer days to be able to happen – sometime in March.
I was on site yesterday and it was good to see it again – without its earlier blanket of snow! I didn’t take any photos, but I did clean up a few fragments of wall that are visible – so it is now easier to show visitors the approximate ground plan.
The next clearance day may possibly be next Thursday – though this hasn’t been confirmed yet – it depends on the forecast, and whether Malcolm Emery has any higher priority jobs that need doing.
Yesterday was a very good day!