How To Train Your Dragon author joins Shropshire housing row

Cressida Cowell with 'Toothless' from the How To Train Your Dragon films Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dragon author Cressida Cowell has her sights trained on a housing development

The author of How To Train Your Dragon says an ancient spot in rural Shropshire that inspires her fiction should be protected from development.

Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell has lent her support to campaigners battling plans for housing near Oswestry's 3,000-year-old hillfort.

The fantasy writer called it a "truly magical place".

Developers want to build 120 new homes within 300m (984ft) of the site.

It has been dubbed the Stonehenge of the Iron Age.

Ms Cowell said: "As an author, places like Oswestry have inspired me both as a child and as an adult.

"Sites such as Old Oswestry Hillfort are an irreplaceable part of our history, and part of the shared cultural heritage of generations to come."

Image copyright Hooh
Image caption The How to Train Your Dragon author on the "inspirational" hillfort

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the site is classed as a scheduled monument and as such is legally protected from development deemed harmful to its setting and heritage.

Shropshire Council has invited comments on the plans as part of a consultation exercise.

A spokeswoman for campaign group Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOOH), said: "Old Oswestry within its setting is both an archaeological icon and cultural asset, loved for its heritage, ecology, scenic beauty and impressive presence in the landscape, which all rely on its current separation from the town."

She said "northwards creep of the town" would "erode this fragile but vital detachment".

Image copyright Hooh
Image caption The 3,000-year-old hillfort has been dubbed the Stonehenge of the Iron Age

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