Anger at threat to historic hill forts

Plans have been lodged to obliterate an entire hill, famed for its archeological heritage and geological significance, to make way for a quarry.

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Sheep Hill, in the Kilpatrick Hills on the Clyde, is the site of Bronze and Iron Age forts that experts say will be destroyed by the quarry's expansion.

A proposal to revise mineral permission for an existing quarry run by a local firm near Sheep Hill is due to be discussed by West Dunbartonshire Council on Wednesday and has provoked fierce opposition from local groups.

The hill features in a painting by the 19th-century Scottish artist John Knox, and is used by geology teachers to show how the landscape has been shaped by volcanoes and ice ages.

Allowing it to be wiped off the map would be "an act of wanton destruction of our environment and inheritance", according to Clydebelt, a local environmental group, which is calling for Scottish ministers to intervene to save the hill.

Archaeologist Dr Euan MacKie, who has studied the hill since the 1960s, said: "It would be an act of appalling vandalism to destroy it."

He accused the quarry company of having little concern for the area's rich archaeological heritage, and the local authority of failing to capitalise on it.

Scottish Natural Heritage has previously expressed concern that quarrying would damage the local landscape.

A West Dunbartonshire Council spokesman said: "Scheduled ancient monument consent for the removal of Sheep Hill fort was granted in 2002."

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