WILLING weeders are hoping to raise thousands of pounds to buy a tractor to help tidy an historic wartime fort.

Volunteers have been tackling the overgrown weeds, trees and brambles at Beacon Hill Fort over the past few weeks.

Despite making progress, they are now trying to raise £10,000 for a tractor or mini digger which can help clear the rest of the site and maintain the fort’s future.

The fort, which overlooks the mouth of the Stour Estuary, has fallen into disrepair over the decades.

It is a scheduled ancient monument of national importance and is on the Historic England Heritage At Risk register.

It has stood derelict for decades, with part of the site owned by Tendring Council.

But 3.7 acres of the site was bought last year by Barry Sharp and Paul Valentine who want to make it a tourist attraction.

To restore the fort, work is needed to clear up the site, clear vandalism and get surveys done on the buildings.

Tony Poston, who set up the Justgiving fundraising page, said: “The whole town is behind its preservation. Not as a static museum, but as a space the everyone can use.

“We have such wonderful plans but all of that costs money - a lot of money.

“The buildings under the guidance of English Heritage will be restored externally to look how she was in the 1940s but the interiors will be for local groups to use.

“The reason we are asking for help is to buy a tractor or mini digger to help clear the site and maintain her in the future.

“A team of volunteers have been working incredibly hard but it would be so much easier with a machine.

“£10.000 is a drop in the ocean for what we have already raised and spent, but it will be a great step forward.”

To donate, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/beaconhill fortharwich.