The chop for sycamore trees to protect historic site

The Mount is a Scheduled Ancient Monument
The Mount is a Scheduled Ancient Monument

A selection of sycamore trees are to be removed at the edge of The Mount in Lewes to protect the historic site from invasive roots and improve views of it.

Roots from these trees are in danger of damaging The Mount - a Scheduled Ancient Monument that dates back to the 15th or 16th century - while the heavy shade provided by their branches will cause the top layer of ground beneath to die off, leading to erosion of its steep slopes.

Historical England (formerly English Heritage) acknowledges the trees are causing problems to the integrity of the earthen monument, which is 47m in diameter and reaches 13m high.

Contractors from Lewes District Council, which owns the site in Mountfield Road, will be carrying out the tree felling for a maximum of four days this month. No disruption will be caused to the Dripping Pan car park next to it.

Several trees have been identified to be retained long-term including two large sycamores and a pair of copper beech trees. These will not be felled. Invasive scrub on the site will also be removed as part of a grass cutting regime for the monument.

The Mount is in the grounds of the former Priory of St Pancras. Its alternative name, The Calvary, illustrates strong religious connotations reflected in the tradition of erecting a crucifix at Easter. Explanations put forward for its origins include a religious symbol built by the monks of the Priory of St Pancras; a spoil heap, by-product of salt production; site of an earlier fortification or even a garden feature-cum-viewing platform.