A KEEN walker is “desperate” to save a prehistoric monument being damaged by off-road motorcyclists.

Chris Tonge, 69, said he was horrified to discovered tyre marks at the Bronze Age chambered cairn in Little Hameldon on a recent country walks.


The retired industrial chemist from Darwen said riders are using a “rare” Bronze Age chamber tomb as ramps for their scrambling practice.

The cairn is one of only three of its kind across Lancashire and is the mound situated at the northern edge of a plateau north of Great Hameldon.

Mr Tonge said: “They ride over it as if it is a pile of quarry spoil. There are tyre tracks all over the mound. It could become a desperate situation.

“This rare prehistoric monument is in danger of being destroyed by motorcyclists who have taken to using it for scrambling practice.

“It is obvious that they are riding right over the top of it and particularly in wet weather, it is going to erode.

“They have already worn a broad muddy scar up the northern side of Great Hameldon that is clearly visible from the M65.

“It would not take much to fence off the area.”

The prehistoric monument sits between Great Hameldon and Hapton Quarries and is marked on ordnance survey maps dating back to the 1840s.

Historians Alan Ormerod and John Dixon previously marked the 5m high, 60m long and 30m wide site as a Bronze Age burial mound.

It was visited in 1997 by Lancashire County Council Archaeology Department, who believed it to be a chambered cairn, similar to Pike Stones, near Bolton.

Halfway along each side of the mound, areas have been excavated, or have slipped, to form steep sections.

Stone protrudes from sections of the mound, and there are some indications of the remains of a kerb on the southern side.

Mr Tonge said: “I walk over the moors a lot and the mound is quite distinctive. It has been recognised by various archaeologists and being a very important historic monument.

“There are believed to be several burials underneath the site.

“This is an ancient burial site with a prehistoric cemetery and I think we need to try and protect our heritage.

“People would not be very pleased if motorcyclists were riding around a modern cemetery. We need to have respect for the people of the past.

“My hope is for people to promote council action so they can find money to save it and make it known.”

Police have previously said the motorcyclists are causing criminal damage and destruction to the site.