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Prince Charles checks in on his Duchy

Prince Charles was in South Somerset on Tuesday to visit Ham Hill Country Park and meet with the South Somerset District Council Ranger team who manage the land on behalf of his duchy.

SSDC countryside Katy Menday said that it was ‘a huge privilege for us to accompany HRH on a visit to Ham Hill. This is a very special place for many people, and it was a wonderful experience to explain about the wildlife, geology and history that make Ham Hill and the country park a treasured location for local people and visitors to the area.’

The Prince of Wales spent an hour touring the popular recreational land of which 25 hectares is owned by his Duchy of Cornwall.

Countryside ranger Paul McNeill spoke with the Prince about the land management undertaken by SSDC’s countryside ranger team who look after the land on behalf of the Duchy of Cornwall. The team is supported by a group of dedicated volunteers who are on site weekly to offer assistance as needed.

McNeill said: ‘A huge majority of the Duchy’s land is part of the Scheduled Ancient Monument of Hamdon Hill, designated to protect the massive Iron Age and later Roman earthworks that make Ham Hill so important. Our role is to manage the habitats on top of the ancient monument and protect the archaeological remains that lie beneath our feet.’

Of Prince Charles’s visit, McNeill continued: ‘We walked through one of the busiest areas of the site on a lovely day, and the small herd of Red Devon cattle behaved impeccably – coming to meet HRH just as we explained about their conservation grazing of the site and how this encourages wildflowers on the calcareous soils.

‘HRH is patron of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and seemed pleased to see the Duchy land being managed so appropriately. It was a pleasure to present him with two jars of Ham Hill honey, made by bees in hives on Ham Hill, which forage flowers like birds foot trefoil and scabious in the summer grasslands on the hill.’

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