Construction work has begun at Pontefract Castle as part of the HLF-funded Key to the North Project, which will see the improvement of the site as a visitor attraction with the addition of two viewing platforms, a new visitor centre and a café. The works will also see the site taken off Historic England’s At Risk register, opening up of parts of the castle to the public for the first time since the end of the Civil War, including the Sally Port and the Swillington Tower, and the restoration of paths established in the Victorian period when the site was first used as a park.

Wessex Archaeology has been appointed by Wakefield Council to monitor the ground works being undertaken at this important Scheduled Ancient Monument. The work is expected to take around 16 months to complete and an archaeologist will be attendance to record any archaeological features uncovered and to collect any finds that are disturbed. Our work has already uncovered some interesting items, including later post-medieval pottery sherds, glass and a large number of clay pipe fragments. 
Additional funding has been provided by Historic England, Wakefield Council, the Wolfson Foundation and EPaC.
By Alexandra Grassam, Senior Consultant