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Halliggye[512 x 384 jpg]
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|Description ||August 2004. Possibly the 'original' entrance to the fogou. As with many of the large fogous, the main entrance was added in modern times to allow easy access for curious visitors. This opening is the only way that daylight can enter the main, banana-shaped chamber of the fogou. There does not seem to be any evidence of a 'creep passage' akin to the one at the Carn Euny fogou.|
|Actually this is the 'Antiquarian' entrance - and was the entry point for those such as Polwhele and Blight where part of the stone walling had fallen into the long passage. Excavations in the 1980's indicate that the now blocked north passage was an original entrance into the fogou, opening out into the enclosure ditch of the 'round'. The rising floor of the long southern passage suggests that an entrance may also have been present here, prior to post-medieval robbing and backfilling (16th/17th century) - this is now the location of the modern (not Victorian) stepped entrance. A possible entrance at some point in antiquity may have existed beyond the 'stumbling block' at the end of the southern creep chamber.
It is hoped that the excavation report will be published in the near future.|
|The 'Antiquarian' entrance has now been blocked on behalf of English Heritage and under the direction of local archaeologists. Although for a long time the only entrance to the fogou there is no historical significance to the opening - its function as an entrance for important antiquarians has been recorded. The opening had previously been fitted with a grille to protect hibernating horseshoe bats (an important and protected species), but this had been removed, thus endangering the bat population through visitor access during these hibernating periods. Continued access though the hole, often by local children was not only endangering these visitors but was compounding erosion of the fogou at this point. The infill was carried out with sensitivity and respecting the construction techniques evident in the rest of the structure, with the result that the fogou is now more 'original' in appearance once again.|
|I'll inspect English Heritage's handiwork next time I'm in the neighbourhood. It will be a very different experience in the long chamber with no natural light entering. I did think it was a bit odd that the stepped modern entrance has an iron gate to keep people out, when you could just (in principle) pop round the corner and enter through this hole. For the record, during my visit no one passed through this opening (for fear of causing damage): we used only the main entrance. Didn't see/hear any bats, guess that was because we were there in the summer.|
|You may be right, though I was down last week and didn't see any either. I think most people would agree that the iron gate is pretty ugly and out of keeping. The blocking work's pretty good though. Of course it could be argued that the Antiquarian hole was of historical significance in itself, but EH's position was one of conservation above all else. |
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