In collaboration with English Heritage and other partners, the Forestry Commission wanted to protect two of the five worst-affected historical and archaeological features – Scheduled Archaeological Monuments (SAM)s – on the Open Forest from burrowing animals, by installing a rabbit-proof mesh.
Although the Forestry Commission has a duty of care to ensure no deterioration of a SAM, it has no statutory right to maintain a SAM or any designated budget for these type of works. English Heritage has jurisdiction over SAMs, but its funding for restoration is ineligible on Crown lands and therefore HLS funding was seen as a good alternative to fund the restoration of these sites.
SAM No. 20287 (SU281025). A bowl barrow located in Whitefield Moor on grassland overlooking Brockenhurst village. It measures roughly 15m in diameter and up to 1.1m high.
SAM No. 20256 (SU398047). A bowl barrow located on Hill top Beaulieu Heath. It measures roughly 11m in diameter and up to 1.2m high.
Initially geophysical work (magnetometry and resistivity) surveys took place in August 2012 at both SAM sites by Archaeological Surveys Ltd in advance of rabbit netting. The report was forwarded to the English Heritage Regional Scientific Advisor to seek further advice and to make a site visit before work commenced.
Due to the unseasonal wet weather that occurred during the summer months of 2012, no further work took place at either site as ground conditions were too wet. Naturally-occurring hoggin material was supplied to both sites during the start of 2013, but it was not until late Autumn of this year that the actual tumuli restoration and protection works took place. At both sites, temporary fencing was erected to help vegetation establish quickly and for infilled material and soil to stabilise.