Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

New stage of conservation work begins at Ring of Brodgar stone circle at the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site


The next steps are underway to conserve the 4,000-year-old Ring of Brodgar, one of the largest stone circles in Britain, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced.

The low lying position, exposed terrain and proximity to two major bodies of water have long posed drainage challenges at the site, with the combination of wet weather and soft turf paths resulting in boggy conditions and wear to the turf.

To tackle this, HES began a programme of improvements in 2016, which are now nearing completion, with replacement of some areas of turf and the temporary restriction of the inner circle path. To help keep the locally cultivated turf healthy, £10,000 is to be invested in new equipment for the Kirkwall-based Monument Conservation team.

What conservation work will be carried out?

Stephen Watt, HES District Architect, explained how the work will be carried out: 'We’ve examined techniques used at other Neolithic sites, such as Stonehenge, to create a hidden system that allows natural drainage without disrupting the important archaeological layer.

'By layering with a geotextile membrane, gravel, sand and perforated pipes topped with wear resistant turf, water can be drawn away from the pathways, without the need for deep excavation. We are now working to replace some areas of worn turf, while we allow all of the recently laid turf to bed in over winter and spring.'

Inner path restrictions

Restrictions to the inner path has now begun and signage and fencing will direct visitors to the outer pathway, which affords a clear view across the site.

From spring 2018, restrictions on the inner circle will be lifted and a new management plan implemented. This will see alternating routes round the circle introduced to allow parts of the pathways to rest and the addition of temporary raised walkways over the access causeways, where footfall is concentrated.

Guided walks at Ring of Brodgar

Orkney World Heritage Site Ranger Sandra Miller explained how the new access will work: "The Ring of Brodgar combines a stunning natural beauty with the archaeological legacy left by Orkney’s Neolithic society. We want to make sure that people can keep enjoying it year round, with continued access to the inner ring path. The work that’s been done over the last two years and the new management plan will make sure that visitors can continue to experience the full thrill of the site.

"Our free guided walks will be continuing on through the winter months, with walks on most Thursday afternoons. I'm looking forward to being able to tell our visitors about the latest work.

For more on Ring of Brodgar, visit the Historic Environment Scotland website.

(images copyright Historic Environment Scotland)

Back to "Scottish archaeology" Category

23/11/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

New Highland Games Centre in Braemar to be completed by September 2018

Work is continuing on a new Highland Games Centre at the site of the Braemar Gathering, which will chart the ...

Moray student awarded scholarship for ground-breaking archaeology research

A Moray student is to undertake new research into the fate of farms which were set up on marginal land after ...

Two Scottish visitor attractions pass 2 million visitors landmark

Two of Scotland's most popular visitor attractions each welcomed more than 2 millions visitors during 2017, ...

The Tempest Database - exploring five centuries of extreme weather in Scotland

A new website which allows users to browse five centuries of weather data for Scotland and the rest of the UK ...

Other Articles

When is Tartan Day?

Find out when Tartan Day is, and how this special day is celebrated in Scotland, the original home of tartan, ...

Artefacts recovered from the Castle Midden and Back Walk in Stirling - Scottish archaeology news

A range of artefacts recovered from two sites on the edge of the medieval burgh and castle at Stirling sheds ...

New research uncovers the story of the first Chinese Scotsman

As the world prepares to celebrate Chinese New Year, new research has been released which reveals the ...

Spotlight on Abertay Historical Society

Founded in 1947, Abertay Historical Society exists to promote interest in, and the study of, interest in the ...