Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

'King Arthur' hill nature plans

Castle Hill, Knucklas
The view of Castle Hill, where legend places King Arthur's marriage

Four villagers who bought a hill which, according to local legend, is where King Arthur married Guinevere want to turn it into a nature reserve.

The four paid 86,000 for woodland at Castle Hill at Knucklas, near Knighton, Powys, and intend to allow archaeologists to excavate the site.

Folklore says that Guinevere married Arthur on the hill's grassy slopes.

It was also the site of a 13th Century Norman castle before it was destroyed by Owain Glyndwr's forces.

The four locals bought Castle Hill, and four acres of nearby fields, at auction after raising 86,000 between them.

The hill was formerly private land and owned by a farmer.

Warrior leader

One of the four, Kevin Jones said that while Arthur is said to have wed Guinevere there, that was not the reason why they bought it in November.

He added: "It unexpectedly came on the market and people thought it should be in public not private ownership.

"Four of us got together and decided to bid for the hill at auction. It's a temporary arrangement because there are plans to set up a land trust which will eventually pay us back."

The hill is recognised by the historic monuments agency Cadw, and it has allowed permission for people to excavate the castle site, Mr Jones added.

"The four acres we bought along with the hill will be opened up for allotments and animal rearing - we want local people to have the benefit of the land," he said.

"The woodland area will be opened as a nature reserve."

The castle was built by the Norman knight Roger Mortimer to help keep the Welsh population in check, but it was later overrun.

Legends and myths about Arthur have seen him cast as a king who held court in Wales, a Scottish politician and a Cornish warrior.

It is generally believed, however, that he was an actual historical figure, probably a warrior leader.

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