AN archeological site near Kirkburton has been declared to be of national importance by English Heritage.

Inspectors made a two-hour tour of the medieval site of Myers Wood at Storthes Hall, which is being excavated.

The 700-year-old iron-making site has been the subject of investigations by Huddersfield and District Archeological Society and Bradford University experts over the past two years.

Neil Redfern, English Heritage's York-based inspector of ancient monuments for West Yorkshire, said Myers Wood was a site of national importance.

Bonwell Spence, the archeological society's joint director of the project, said: "We were able to show the inspectors evidence of mining, quarrying, ditch and wall building and a complex system of water management.

"The archeology extends far beyond the iron-making site. It has shaped the whole landscape."

The site is said to be the most complete ever excavated in the north of England and contains unique features.

Furnaces, charcoal platforms, ore- roasting areas and a raised hearth have all been excavated and carefully recorded.

Any pieces of medieval pottery have been extracted and classified.

Evidence from the site suggests work on the site was carried out by Cistercian monks, who were renowned iron-makers and known to have land near Myers Wood.

English Heritage and the landowners, Huddersfield University, will now agree a policy for the long-term protection of the wood and its archeology, while still allowing public access to.

A full landscape survey of the site will now be completed for English Heritage and explorations will then continue.

The full story of the discovery and investigation of the Myers Wood site will be discussed during a one-day lecture at the university on Saturday, March 6.

It is open to the public and anyone interested should contact the society's secretary at 72 Moorside Road, Kirkheaton, Huddersfield HD5 OLP or from the society's website at www.ichud