IT is a monument to one of the most important moments in history.

But at the moment you could be forgiven for driving or walking past the impressive structure to the iconic ship The Mayflower and miss it altogether.

Heritage enthusiasts say the structure is being “neglected” and have called on the council to cut back the trees that are obscuring it and make more of the monument.

The grade II-listed limestone and copper column was built in 1913 to commemorate the voyage of The Mayflower when it carried the Pilgrim Fath-ers to America in 1620.

But Ronald Fitzger-ald, a photographer from the city, who is capturing all South-ampton’s major memorials on camera, said he was unable to photograph it as it was hidden behind trees.

He said: “For a city that prides itself on its heritage and deeply associates itself with one of the most historic moments in history it neglects the memorial raised to commemorate its role in the founding fathers of America.

“I was surprised by the condition and obscurity of such an important memorial that seems to have been forgotten.”

Local maritime historian Captain Stephen New said: “It is important and I think it should be cleaned up.

“There isn’t enough emphasis made of the relationship between Southampton and The Mayflower and we should do because there would be a lot of interest in America and from the many Americans who come into Southampton on cruise ships.”

Local historian John Avery said: “It’s a very important monument, particularly with it being the 400th anniversary of it setting sail in 2020.”

A city council spokesman said discussions are already underway about the anniversary, adding: “We inspect the condition of our monuments and memorials on a regular basis and are pleased to say that The Mayflower memorial is in a good condition considering it is over 100 years old, although there has been some loss of lettering on one of the inscriptions, which we will look at in due course.

“We have scheduled works to the trees next to the Mayflower memorial for autumn.”