Burrowing badgers and neglect are among the threats facing the dozen Swindon buildings and monuments to feature on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register this year.

The 12 Swindon entries include nationally-important landmark the Mechanics’ Institute and the remains of Toman town Durcornovium.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Old Town’s Corn Exchange does not feature on the list. The crumbling High Street building was given a Grade II listing in 1951.

The Mechanics’ Institute, Railway Village

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Mechanics' Institute, Railway Village Picture: DAVE COX

The Grade II* listed Swindon landmark was built in the 1850s as a place for GWR workers to meet, learn and watch plays. The building boasted a theatre and library.

It has been derelict for several decades, despite efforts to turn it into a luxury hotel in the noughties.

The building is at priority B on the Heritage at Risk register – at immediate risk of further deterioration or loss of fabric.

Swindon Borough Council served an Urgent Works Notice on the owner in 2009 and carried out works in 2010 to secure the building.

Work is underway by Historic England, the council and the Mechanics Institution Trust to ensure the building’s survival.

Read the entry on the Heritage at Risk register.

Durcornovium, Swindon’s Roman town near Covingham

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A pot found at Durcornovium Picture: DAVE COX

Durocornovium was a once bustling Roman town, believed to have started life almost 2,000 years ago as a fortress some four years after the Roman Invasion of AD43. By the third and fourth centuries AD it was home to around 1,500 people. Although a minnow compared to Corinium Dobunnorum – now Cirencester – it was the most significant Roman settlement in the Swindon area.

Archaeological digs in the 60s and 70s proved the existence of the town. But Roman artefacts – from coins to pottery - had been discovered long before that. In 1688, two workmen digging a ditch unearthed 1,600 to 2,000 silver denarii concealed during the reign of Commodus (AD180-193).

Much of the site has been lost to building work: the A419 bypass, the flood lagoon and parts of Covingham built out in the 1960s and 70s.

The Heritage at Risk register lists its condition as “generally unsatisfactory with some localised problems”.

Bowl barrow 1km west of Sheppard's Farm Dairy, Chiseldon

Burrowing badgers are the biggest threat to this 4m high barrow, which could date to the late Bronze Age - roughly 3,000 years ago.

The barrow has “extensive significant problems”.

The site is a scheduled archaeological monument. Historic England says: “The Sheppard's Farm barrow is important as it survives comparatively well and has potential for the recovery of archaeological remains.”

Field system and earthwork enclosure on Burderop Down, Chiseldon / Ogbourne St. George

The condition of the archaeological site is generally satisfactory, Historic England says. However, there are significant localised problems. The main threat is vehicle damage and erosion.

Three Highworth circles 600 metres east of North Leaze Farm, Highworth

These three Highworth Circles, an earthwork enclosure possibly used to keep-in animals and dating from the Middle Ages, have all been levelled by ploughing. But Historic England say they may still contain important archaeological remains.

There are around 40 such monuments left in the country, almost all of them dotted around Highworth.

The North Leaze Farm circles have “extensive significant problems”, with the principal threat coming from ploughing.

Remains of Holy Rood Church, The Lawn, Old Town

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Inside Holy Rood Church, Lawn Picture: SIOBHAN BOYLE

This church, situated in what used to be the Goddard family’s parkland - now the public park Lawns Woods - dates back to the 13th century, with additions made throughout the middle ages. All but the chancel was destroyed in 1852.

The main threat to the church is vandalism, Historic England says.

Four Highworth circles 150 metres north east of Pickett's Copse, Highworth

Historic England says there are “extensive significant” problems with the Pickett’s Copse Highworth Circles. Its condition is worsening with its main vulnerability arable ploughing.

Bowl barrow 700 metres south west of Liddington Warren Farm, Liddington

This Bronze Age barrow may contain further archaeological remains. Historic England says its condition is “generally satisfactory” although there are significant localised problems. You can read its listing on the Heritage at Risk register here.

Long barrow 700m north of Liddington Warren Farm, Liddington

This 42m-long barrow is oval-shaped. It was partially excavated – probably in the 19th century – when Historic England say three human skeletons were found.

It’s one of 180 long barrows in Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire; the densest concentration of the pill-shaped Neolithic monuments anywhere in the country.

The Liddington barrow is special because it remains relatively untouched by archaeologists. Historic England says: “It survives comparatively well and has potential for the recovery of further archaeological remains in addition to environmental evidence relating to the period in which the monument was constructed.”

It’s on the Heritage at Risk register because of its declining condition. The main threat to it is “arable clipping”.

Disc barrow on Burderop Down, 1km north-east of Upper Herdswick Farm, Chiseldon

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The disc barrow near Barbury Castle Picture: GOOGLE

The flying-saucer shaped barrow was probably built in the early Bronze Age 3,500 years ago as a monument to bury the dead.

Saucer barrows are among the rarest in the country – with around 60 known examples nationwide, the bulk of which are in Wessex.

The Burderop barrow was partially excavated in 1977, when archaeologists found Bronze Age pottery.

Historic England describes the condition of the monument as generally unsatisfactory. Its main threat is from vehicle damage.

Bowl barrow 280 metres north of Downs Barn, Bishopstone

Another late Bronze Age barrow, this example has a 27m diameter and Historic England says it has the potential to contain archaeological remains. Its biggest threat is from “arable clipping”.

Bowl barrow on Hinton Downs, Bishopstone

Burrowing animals are the main problem for this Bronze Age monument. The site was partially excavated by Cannon Greenwell in 1889. Among the artefacts uncovered then were a cremation burial in an oval grave accompanied by a dagger and a later Saxon burial with a spearhead shale bead.