THE icy onslaught of winter has taken its toll on Colchester’s Roman walls.

Sections will be patched up in the spring after the freezing conditions caused them to crumble.

Colchester Council regularly inspects the fortifications for winter damage, caused by water seeping into cracks and expanding as it freezes.

Paul Smith, councillor responsible for heritage and culture, said: “We have been paying attention to Balkerne Hill and Priory Street and will be doing patching-up operations there when weather conditions are more favourable.”

Philip Crummy, director of Colchester Archaeological Trust, said the walls always suffered in the winter. He added: “There’s not a lot anybody can do about it, without putting a skin over the top of it, which has been done, in places, in Castle Park.

“The choice is to protect the wall so it is never seen, or keep it on show and do never-ending repairs. But it’s been there 2,000 years and with no repair work it would be there for another 2,000 years before it fully crumbled away.”

Mr Smith blamed the Normans for stripping away the walls’ facing to build Colchester Castle in the 11th century.

A £115,000 project in the summer to repair part of wall beyond Roman Road, had “held up well” Mr Smith said.