The sign is pretty clear, isn’t it ?
There are 3 such signs ~ one at each of the entrances/exits to Hunsbury hillfort. Each sign measures about 2m x 1.5m in size, so they cannot be missed, yet back in March, within a few metres of these signs, some miscreants dug into the ditch surrounding the hillfort to construct a number of dirt jump bike ramps. This is criminal damage and the perpetrators can be prosecuted and taken to court.
Luckily, a concerned park user saw the ramps being built and informed us. We contacted the Park Ranger, who removed the ramps within a couple days.
Whilst bike riding in the Parks is not in itself illegal, the damage caused to the hillfort environs by dirt jumpers making ramps is. Although the most popular dirt jump track in the Country Park, known as Red Hills, has been used as such for many, many years, the constant use does not help preserve the hillfort, rampart or ditch, even if no digging or new-ramp-building takes place.
There are plans to build a purpose-designed dirt jump & pump track in the old Hardingstone 9-hole golf course grounds which will be free to all. The plans were debated at Northampton Borough Council’s last Cabinet meeting on 25th March (before morphing into West Northampton Council) when it was unanimously agreed that the authority will support the scheme. It is hoped that construction might start as early as July this year and be ready for use by January 2022.
This is great news, as bike riders can easily get from West Hunsbury to the ‘Hardingstone 9’ (as it currently being called) without getting off their bikes, by using the Drovers Road through our Country Park and the Norbital Cycle Route alongside Mere Way to Hardingstone.
So please, if you know someone who is a Red Hills user, ask them to bide their time until the purpose-built facility is available and, in the meantime, not to do any damage to our Iron Age hillfort so as to keep it safe for many more generations to come.