Did you know that Yorkshire hosts the largest group of prehistoric earthworks in Britain ~ and that their setting is rapidly being destroyed by open-cast mining?

Stretching from the standing stones at Boroughbridge in the south to the cursus already destroyed at Scorton in the north are the remains of dozens of monuments constituting a landscape that was sacred to our prehistoric ancestors. Considered together, these monuments are an archaeological record equal in importance to the World Heritage Sites of Stonehenge, Avebury and Orkney ~ yet they remain virtually unknown to the wider public.

The centrepiece of this impressive array is formed by three massive henges, each 240 metres in diameter, uniquely laid out in a straight line near the village of Thornborough and mirroring the celestial alignment of Orion’s Belt. They attest to an exceptional level of planning and a mobilisation of labour on a par with the construction of the pyramids. Much more data, including photographs and maps, can be accessed at the website of the University of Newcastle http://thornborough.ncl.ac.uk

Open-cast mining has already been allowed to bulldoze the landscape immediately to the west and north-west of these spectacular monuments, even taking bites out of two henges and destroying buried archaeology including half a cursus and several pit alignments. Now Tarmac has submitted an application to mine Ladybridge Farm, the site of a Neolithic settlement, and has announced plans to quarry all the unscheduled land surrounding the three henges, leaving the monuments perched on “islands” in a huge water-filled pit!

English Heritage, which is supported by the CBA and YAS in objecting to the current application, is not confident that archaeological arguments alone will preserve the setting of these sacred monuments. So the nearby villagers have banded together under the banner of “The Friends of Thornborough Henges” to argue for rejection on the additional grounds of adverse impact upon the local ecology and environment.

Lacking the appropriate knowledge and skills, we need to quickly raise £2,000 to commission a lawyer experienced in European environmental law. To make it possible for anyone, however poor, to join our group, we have made membership free and rely solely upon donations for funding.

If you think Yorkshire’s threatened heritage is worth saving,
take action now by:

The Friends of Thornborough Henges thank you