VOLUNTEERS and landowners are playing a key part in helping the North York Moors National Park Authority and English Heritage to save the park’s 840 historic monuments.

And now, English Heritage has said it wants to extend its funding for a management scheme beyond March next year. A report says extensive bracken and scrub control has been carried out at 16 monuments, with 41 historic environment volunteers working on a catalogue of them.

Today of the 840 scheduled monuments in the park, 99 are “at risk”, with 240 described as being “vulnerable” and 501 at “low” or “no risk”, said Mags Waughman, park monument management scheme officer.

She said the scheme had been set up five years ago by English Heritage and the national park to reduce the risk status of its scheduled monuments. English Heritage provided £100,000 over three years.

Ms Waughman said: “The initial target was to reduce the risk to 50 monuments. The scheme is having a huge positive impact on the scheduled monuments, in terms of improving their condition and management, and in increasing the potential for visitor enjoyment.”

The grant was doubled to £200,000 to increase the number on the “at risk” register and tackle coastal erosion, arable ploughing and badger activity.

Among monuments treated for bracken control has been a group of medieval mounds near Kirkbymoorside. Other monuments for protection include seven on the Dawnay Estate, and Moors Dykes, in Wykeham Forest, a group of prehistoric earthwork features, among them burial monuments from Bronze and Iron Ages.