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Work at Mavisbank reveals long-forgotten paths to Iron Age Earthwork

14 April 2014

A series of historic paths which have been hidden for decades have been revealed in the grounds of Mavisbank House, thanks to the careful removal of harmful shrubs.

For generations the ‘Rhododendron ponticum’ has covered the hill at the rear of the historic Mavisbank House. The pathways underneath lead to an Iron Age earthwork, the existence of which is thought to be  part of the reason that Sir John Clerk chose this particular site for his house in the first place.

Peter Ranson, District Architect for Historic Scotland  said: “although the rhodendrons are considered by some to be an attractive feature, it is an invasive species, which can cause serious damage to the underlying archaeology. Their removal has ensured the preservation of a very old earthwork, which John Clerk named as a 'Roman Fort', while revealing a little bit of history which has been hidden for some time.”

The shrubs were carefully cut down by hand by Historic Scotland’s Monument Conservation Unit, to ensure as little disturbance to the ground as possible. It was done as part of a wider programme of work being conducted by HS in the Mavisbank Policies area, which also includes stabilisation works to buildings and retaining walls and investigations to identify the hydrology across site and to identify sources of drainage problems. The work does not include the house itself.  

For further information on Historic Scotland’s work on Mavisbank, please see our Landscape Management Plan.

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

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For further information

Alan Bannon
Historic Scotland Media Office
0131 668 8588 or 07854 366 805