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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 March, 2004, 06:20 GMT
Talks on future of historic site
Thornborough Henges
The site has been called the 'Stonehenge of the North'
A new group has been set up to look at the future of one of Britain's most important archaeological areas.

Thornborough Henges near Ripon in North Yorkshire is a concentration of late Neolithic and Bronze Age sites.

But there are fears it could be under threat if an application is made to extend sand and gravel quarrying.

Now the county council has set up a consultation group including local people and representatives of English Heritage and English Nature.

Mineral working

The members will meet about every six weeks to exchange information and views on the future of the henges.

County Councillor Peter Sowray, who chairs the group, said: "The county council recognises the importance of Thornborough Henges both locally and nationally.

"The group has been set up to reflect the county council's role in dealing with the henges.

"Further mineral working would have major implications not only for the henges and surrounding archaeological landscape but also in terms of the impact on local communities at Thornbrough and Nosterfield."

In October 2003, North Yorkshire County Council was criticised by Dr Mark Horton from the University of Bristol for not doing enough to protect the site against damage from quarrying.

Construction company Tarmac currently extracts more than 500,000 tonnes of sand and gravel each year from Nosterfield Quarry.

Tarmac says nothing it is planning would damage the henges.

Quarry threatens prehistoric site
27 Oct 03  |  North Yorkshire

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