History in the making at Buckland Rings


Published Tuesday 4 April 2017

An exciting new interpretation project is coming to fruition at Buckland Rings Iron Age Hill Fort on the outskirts of Lymington.

Buckland Rings is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and historically important as it is rare to find such a well preserved hill fort so close to the coast in the South of England.

To bring alive the site's Iron Age past, a Heritage Lottery Grant (from the Young Roots programme) was secured by SPUD Youth, a local arts charity, helping to commission artists to work with young people to make ideas become reality. After months of planning, workshops and professional support the young people settled on three ideas from three artists, which have now been installed on site:

  • The Guardians of the Rings - Forming the eye-catching centre-piece of the project, the Guardians are a trio of sculptures created by London based artist Katie Surridge and located by the main pedestrian entrance to the site alongside the A337 Lyndhurst Road. Based on the Iron Age imagery discovered on other artefacts and developed in conjunction with the SPUD Youth youngsters, they make an a real statement at the entrance to Buckland Rings and the gateway to Lymington. Made out of rusted core-ten steel with plasma cut leaf details, beaten copper hearts and cast metal antlers, these statues blend in beautifully with the site and are significant pieces of permanent public art for Lymington - meaning that they are already a little piece of history in the making.
  • 'Hilltop Benches' - Atop a grassy knoll overlooking the hill fort are new carved wooden benches, created by Brockenhurst based artist Nicola Henshaw. Their sweeping curved design reflects the outline of the hill fort ramparts, and the backrests are shaped like the heads of the tools and weapons that would have been used by the Iron Age people who created Buckland Rings.
  • 'Self-Guided Walk' - Two waymarked walks are being set up - 'The Ramparts Walk' and 'The Meadows Walk', with waymarking discs. To accompany the trails are a series of interpretation panels designed and illustrated by Christchurch based artist Harrison Alcock along the route to help highlight the historic and natural features of this special site. There’s even an incredible tactile 3D metal plan of the site, created from LIDAR data and which reveals the site hidden beneath the trees.


Interpretation and Outreach Manager, at New Forest National Park Authority, Jim Mitchell said: ‘The young people from SPUD Youth were very committed and I was impressed with their thoughts about how to interpret Buckland Rings for the local community. Their energy and ideas really shine through in the finished artwork and installations and they should be proud of what has been achieved in helping raise the profile of this site and its heritage.’

Mark Drury, Co-Director of SPUD and Project Manager said: ‘The Buckland Rings project has been an amazing opportunity for the young people to work with a wide range of professionals and project partners.  Their interest and enthusiasm for the project has resulted in the creation of some fantastic new public art for Lymington along with much-needed visitor information for this important site.’

There will be a grand public opening of the project on Saturday 22nd of April from 12noon to 3pm, along with a small reenactment team and displays from Hampshire County Council Countryside Service, New Forest National Park Authority and St Barbe Museum and Gallery. There will also be an opportunity to take part in a guided walk around the site and learn more about a geophysical survey of the site (being undertaken on the same day).

For more information on the whole project, please visit www.spudyouth.org/buckland-rings


The project has been funded by Heritage Lottery Fund Young Roots programme, with additional support from New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire County Council (Countryside Services) and St Barbe Museum and Gallery.

SPUD Youth is a an award winning workshop programme run for young people aged 12 and upwards who are interested in architecture, urban design and public art. It is a weekly free programme run in term-time at SPUD’s office in Artsway, Sway. SPUD is a local charity and creator of the Exbury Egg project and the Observatory (www.lookinlookout.org).

For more details on SPUD please go to: www.spudgroup.org.uk

Buckland Rings is owned and managed by Hampshire County Council.  The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

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