Row breaks out over access to historic Derbyshire castle site
A heritage trust says the new owner of an historic Derbyshire landmark is acting correctly by preventing access to the site.
Walkers have been protesting on social media after the owner of Codnor Castle, near Ripley, started objecting to them passing through fields close to its picturesque ruins, which date back to the 13th Century.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Walkers, ramblers and visitors are being chased off by the new owners who are not allowing visitors into adjacent fields to view the castle, although at least four stiles lead directly to it.
"Dozens and dozens of families are being shouted at although this has been open to the public for years and footpaths run very close to it.”
On the Spotted Heanor Facebook page, another resident posted: “On Bank holidays and warm sunny days hundreds of families usually storm the ramparts.”
Another said: “It's a lovely spot and quite sad people won't be able to enjoy it in the same way.”
However, Codnor Castle Heritage Trust said people were often mistaken about right of access to the site.
Chairman Rokia Brown said: “The trust is currently working with the new owner who is presently developing the site.
“There is only one right of way across the field which is a good distance away from the ruins.
“The ruins sit on a large ancient scheduled monument, and that area is protected.
"The land which the castle sits upon has always been private land and the area around the site has always been protected.
"Over many years, the site has had absent landowners which meant the public wandered where they felt like it with no one to tell them otherwise.
"Historic England, which visited the site on Friday, agreed with the new owner that it should be fenced off which the owner will be doing shortly.
"Derbyshire County Council will be putting signs up to let the public know where the rights of way are.
“The new owner is right in what he is doing as the site suffered much vandalism and trespassing during lockdown.”
Rokia says sites like Codnor Castle are ‘protected for a reason’ to preserve ‘the archaeology just under the ground for future excavations’.
The trust’s long term aim is to see the site open to the public.