VOLUNTEERS are being to help restore and protect the ancient Iron Age hill fort at Hillsborough in Ilfracombe.

Local people are being asked to help with tasks such as clearing vegetation and bracken as part of a project called Unlocking the Coastal Heritage.

The project is being led by the South West Coast Path team and aims to restore archaeological remains and explain how they are linked to the coast path.

Those working on it include the North Devon Council parks team and members of North Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Biosphere Service.

“This project is the perfect opportunity to get involved and discover one of the more unusual sites in the area,” said Councillor Eric Ley.

“We believe it was built as an area for local people to retreat into at times of attack or as a status symbol built by one of the local chieftains. The work on the site is vital to allow people to see the monument more clearly and to preserve it for future generations.”

Around 30 people have already signed up to get involved following a recent open day at the Ilfracombe Centre. It was a chance for visitors to find out more about the project and tour of the site.

Chairman for the AONB Rose Day added: “The open day was extremely successful, with the high point of the day being a guided tour of the hill fort itself. The descriptions provided by our guides brought Hillsborough’s history to life for us and the panoramic views over Ilfracombe and the North Devon coast were quite breathtaking.

“Hillsborough is a fascinating site and it was really heartening to see so many Ilfracombe people volunteering to help conserve the heritage of this important part of the North Devon Coast AONB.”

Funding for the project, which includes updating information panels on the site, was secured by the AONB and Biosphere team from Rural Development Programme England (RDPE.)

For more information or to get involved contact Andrew Moulton at North Devon Council on (01271) 388326, email andrew.moulton@northdevon.gov.uk. Or call Dave Edgcombe from the AONB on (01237) 423655, email dave.edgcombe@devon.gov.uk.