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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 June, 2004, 09:09 GMT 10:09 UK
Neolithic hill to be protected
Silbury Hill, Wiltshire
Silbury Hill dates back to the Neolithic period
Walkers will not be given access to an ancient Wiltshire monument dating back nearly 5,000 years, it is reported.

The Countryside Agency wanted to classify Silbury Hill in Avebury as "unimproved chalk grassland", which would have opened up some access.

Lord Avebury, who owns the freehold on the land, campaigned against the classification, made under the Countryside Rights of Way Act.

Maps of the area will now show that Silbury Hill is not open countryside.

'Ancient pyramids'

Ramblers, who have not been allowed on the hill since 1974, welcomed the decision.

Ron Moore, area chairman of Wiltshire and Swindon Ramblers' Association, told BBC News: "It is an important historical monument and we weren't much in favour of opening it up."

The Agency had said it made the decision because the 4,700-year-old hill is a "man-made structure".

Lord Avebury argued that it was "comparable with the ancient Pyramids of Egypt or the Great Pyramids of Mexico" and needed to be protected.

Silbury Hill is thought to date back to the Neolithic period.

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