Beds, Herts & Bucks

'Rolling stone' in Soulbury car crash claim will not be moved

Boulder in road Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The road was constructed around the ancient rock

A large boulder which has sat in the middle of a road for decades is to stay where it is despite a car crashing into it, a council has said.

The stone is thought to have been in Soulbury, Buckinghamshire for 11,000 years. The road was built round it.

Residents said they would chain themselves to it when the council said the stone may have to be moved.

The council has now said it would be "lunacy" to move it, but was looking for ways to make the road safer.

Local legend claims the rock, known as the Soulbury Boot, appeared on Chapel Hill after villagers fought with the devil and cut off his foot.

Some people also claim it rolls down the hill as the church chimes midnight.

More rolling news from Buckinghamshire as it happens

Image caption The Soulbury Boot was a feature of the village for thousands of years before the road was built around it

It is not known how the boulder gets back up the hill, but it was in its usual place when a motorist allegedly hit it, damaging her car and later claiming compensation, according to the Leighton Buzzard Observer.

A Buckinghamshire County Council spokesman told the BBC it had been discussing the future of the stone with the parish council "following the alleged incident".

Removing the stone was "an option" but the council was aware it would not be a popular choice.

'Heart and soul'

A Facebook community group launched a Save our Soulbury Stone (Soss) campaign calling for residents to reject any proposal to move it, with some vowing to chain themselves to the rock to protect it.

However, Conservative councillor Mark Shaw has now told the BBC that "to move it, or even discuss moving it... would be absolute madness".

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Residents have volunteered to chain themselves to the boulder to prevent it being moved

He described it as the "heart and soul" of Soulbury.

"What we want to do is clearly make the road safe and secure for all drivers but actually it would be absolute lunacy to move that stone," Mr Shaw said. "Let's bear in mind this is about one person who's crashed into this stone in over 11,000 years."

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