A researcher is calling for an historical Bronze Age settlement "unlike any other in Britain", to be protected from plans which would see polo pitches built on it.

An application to turn Cromer Hyde Farm in Marford Road, Lemsford, into a polo facility with three pitches, a viewing mound and parking for visitors and horse boxes was submitted last November, and has received more than 250 objections.

The application was called in by James Broach, Labour councillor for Hatfield Villages, while residents have raised a number of issues relating to the proposal.

But, researcher Tony Rodway believes the plans must be stopped in order to protected an historical Bronze Age site that he thinks is "unlike any other in Britain", and could have been the "most important place in all of pre-Christian Britain".

Tony, who previously worked at Verulamium Museum in St Albans, has studied the site extensively, aided by aerial photographs from the Historic England website and LiDAR data from DEFRA, which has helped him see what lies below the ground.


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He claims the site was once a flint mine dating back to the Bronze Age, and that geoglyphs, rock art similar to the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset, could be present too.

"The land at Cromer Hyde Farm, is, I believe, the site of an important Bronze Age flint mine, part of a landscape likely regarded as being the most important place in all of pre-Christian Britain, after Stonehenge," he said. 

"The place retained its high-status all the way from the Neolithic period right up until the Roman occupation, even achieving a brief resurgence in the Dark Ages.

"The western edge of the Cromer Hyde forms part of a unique Bronze Age geoglyph, unlike any other known monument from the period anywhere in Britain.

"In the Iron Age, the geoglyph was expanded, taking the form of a holly leaf, and encompassing a green man’s head, a woman’s head, and a bird’s head. 

"This was just part of a complex narrative image composed of many elements, that evolved throughout the period leading up to the Roman occupation."

Tony research as led him to believe that the woman depicted in the geoplphys is Blodeuwedd, a key figure in Welsh mythology.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Part of the proposed polo plans.Part of the proposed polo plans. (Image: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council)

He also called on the land to be protected, continuing: "Frankly, none of this land needs polo pitches. It needs archaeology.

"This place needs to be understood. This is our Troy. This is where our myths began. This is where our roots have their beginning, and from where they still draw sustanance.

"And even though this ancient wonder has been lost for many centuries, we can still find unique, amazing and important things here."

Tony does believe there is one key issue. If the plans for the polo facility are approved, then much-needed further research and excavation of the site would take place. But, this would be unlikely if the proposal is rejected.

He does, however, have hopes that the owner of Cromer Hyde could allow access and an archaeological dig.

"If they decide to deny the planning permission then nothing gets done. There is no geophysical survey, and it will just be left," he said. 

"Obviously, that’s better than having polo pitches built on it, but we need to get some proper idea and look at what is there.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Geoglyphs that Tony believes could be at the sight.Geoglyphs that Tony believes could be at the sight. (Image: Tony Rodway)

"If the pitches don’t get built, I do have some small hope that the owner of the land would let myself or others at least come and have a look.

"There needs to be an archaeological investigation done, and there isn’t much done in this part of the UK anyway, but I have my hopes."

As for what might be discovered if a dig took place, Tony continued: "I believe we would find a lot of shafts leading down to Bronze Age flint mines, which would open up once you reached the bottom.

"And I’m talking hundreds of them. In total, I’ve counted 203 spots where I think a shaft could be present."