LONDON: The cliff-top ruins of an ancient castle long claimed as the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur is “at risk of being lost forever” as climate change quickens the pace of coastal erosion, a UK heritage body warned on Friday (Sep 23).
Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, southwest England, attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, fuelled by the legend of King Arthur and his fabled Round Table.
But the structure is now among six important historic coastal sites at risk “as a result of accelerating coastal erosion”, charity English Heritage said.
“Erosion along England’s coastline is nothing new but the rate of land loss that we have seen over the past few years is alarming, and some scenarios indicate that sea levels could increase by up to a metre by the end of the century”, said English Heritage Estates director Rob Woodside.
In the last century sea levels rose by 14cm along the southern coast of England, according to the body.
“Climate change is accelerating the issues faced by our coastal heritage. Rising sea levels and more regular storms pose a real risk to the future of many of our sites”, Woodside added.
The legend of the ancient English king and his Round Table of knights has inspired numerous filmmakers over the years.
Although researchers have never established if King Arthur was a real person or a mythical hero, some historians believe there was an important English leader called Arthur around the fifth century, although not necessarily a king.