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Binsey (Cairn(s))

17/09/2015 - Binsey is one of the last humps and bumps of the Lake District going north. Good parking and access from the west, track all the way to the summit. Cairn on top is pretty trashed but must have been a good one when first built. The walk up is fine and not too steep. The view from the top is very good and probably the better reason to go then the cairn. Nice view of the north side of Skiddaw and looking north Dumfries and Galloway looks almost touchable. thelonious Posted by thelonious
23rd September 2015ce

Forvie (Stone Circle)

Forvie is a wondrous place with its beautiful nature reserve, medieval church/village, ever changing sand dunes, the Ythan estuary and prehistory. There are a lot of various cairns and hut circles. Reasons to go this place are endless but an important reason to return, for me, was the constant mention by the folks of Newburgh of the circle under the sea. I teach in the area and learned about most of the local sites purely by listening. (on most occasions the music was good as well!!!) This site will also feature in book I'm writing about the Ythan's prehistory once I get back to that project. (still going to happen GC and SC the mojo is back)

As for visiting the cairns amongst the dunes park just north of Newburgh and the Waterside (Ythan) Bridge. (narrow entrance to car park!). On my first hike to the circle on the 10/9/2015 I followed the track following the river Ythan towards its meeting with North Sea. However after going thru a section that looks like deep swimming pool the path runs out. Sand dunes are in front so with my best Lawrence Of Arabia impersonation I ploughed on eventually reaching the dunes overlooking the beach/sea. From here I headed south spying a pillbox and a few hundred seals basking in the warm sun. Near the pillbox there was a deep pool with a rock, the recumbent, poking its head above the water. However the tide was coming quickly in so back I headed to the Waterside Bridge complete with my Peter O'Toole impersonations.

Tide times are variable but a good guide so one week later I ventured to the same spot but this time kept to the rivers edge until its entry to the North Sea, Man From Atlantis impersonations on way back!!. Various birds of can be seen waders, gulls, herons, cormorants, plus birds I hadn't seen and hundreds upon hundreds of very friendly seals.

The site is to the north of the river mouth and this time the pool was empty of water. The circle was revealed, several stones which had once stood had been toppled by the sea or attempts to destroy it. Smaller rocks probably part of some washed about cairn and chokes. The previous week, seals were sitting on top of these and they watched closely as I explored. Flankers are minus their bigger friend and sadly the reason is close by. Further to the north the recumbent had been hauled away and left for some pointless reason. I have reason to back this up as a stone circle, like a few others. There are no rocks anywhere else this side of the Ythan and a collection like this on land would have people gleefully jumping up and down like at Stonehenge. But this is Scotland, the North East we move at our own pace, there is no rush and in Forvie time stands still except for the ever moving dunes.

After soaking the atmosphere both prehistoric and present nature it was time for a wee hunt around the pillbox (note the jaunty angle) and a look for an elusive hut circle. Scarily after this the site had gone, the tide was rushing in. With that it was to retrace my steps back along the Ythan, but they were under water. So hugging the bank I headed back to the path rejoining it as the bridge comes into view far away in the distance.

For nature, both on land and aquatic, the Ythan Estuary is hard to beat. Good footwear needed for this and please take note of the tide times.

Visited 17/9/2015.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
23rd September 2015ce

The Great Circle, North East Circle & Avenues (Stone Circle)

Drove from Hetty Peglar to Stanton Drew, still a sunny Sunday. It felt like we were driving through a posh private housing estate to the site itself. I think it was my headspace being off kilter but I found this place difficult.
The stones glittering pink & hoary are lovely. The earth here is a great rust colour; it looks so rich & fecund!
Unfortunately fecundity; "she", "mother" & "healing" was all I heard for the next hour as a group of people pranced about with flowers & bongos in the smaller circle. Oh dear what do I sound like? Each to their own, peace & love & all that! Can't we have designated days!
Some huge stones; odd rectangular shapes. Seems to have a henge? Benevolent cows everywhere, I even petted one! Hurrah.
Overheard a comment that we weren't in the vibe cos we were taking photos on a mobile phone; better than a conversation we heard from a female group member telling "Jemima" that she'd better use the rotivator on that particularly awkward part of the garden! Right Carol, shut up.
Really it's a fantastic place, we'll pick a better time on our next visit.
The Cove is lovely.
Posted by carol27
22nd September 2015ce

Leven's Park (Ring Cairn)

From the junction of the A590 and the A591 roundabout near Sedgwick, take the Sedgwick exit and once over the river turn right, after going over the A591 a parking place appears on the right, stop here and proceed on foot through the stile, you wont be able to take the car over it's far too heavy.
The path will attempt to herd you left, ignore it and go straight on towards the river. Look for a large mound, hillock, knoll, bump, the ring cairn is between you and it.
The ring cairn is now more grassed over than in Greywethers photos, less distinct, but still large and obvious. A small cairn like thing is close by to the north east, it is a good place to look over the ring cairn. But not as good as the small hill, large mound, average sized knoll, and indeterminate sized hillock that is to the south. From up here the ring cairn looks like something from down south, some kind of flat barrow, a splash in the grass. I like it it. I didn't like the wooden cage on the hillock, clearly what ever was in there has escaped, unless the grass round here has some evil plans.
Reading Fitzcoraldo's misc note you get an inkling that this might be a complicated site to appreciate, it is. Strange linear bumps at odds with the overall circularity of it, inexplicable large stones randomly placed, it has a juicy history.
The river Kent is close by down a grassy slope, some men were hunting, I presume for fish, they were actually in the water waving sticks at them, damnedest thing I ever saw.
postman Posted by postman
22nd September 2015ce

Hetty Pegler's Tump (Long Barrow)

Seeing stars at Hetty Peglars tump! Tump must be one of my most favourite words ever. "Stars" courtesy of a hefty wallop to the head when crawling out of said tump. Mother used to call me Lizzie Dripping as a child, I haven't changed ( banging into talking to witches etc!)
Visited Hetty on the way down to Cornwall, our first monolith of the trip. Got there early on a warm sunny morning. Lovely mound with dips in the earthwork at the sides & the top. She has one chamber off to the left. Quiet & clean inside, though some man made scratching inside, why?
Led down on top of entrance stone to recover from head spinning & pain! Soon healed up & feel batteries charging up for neolithic journeying.
Posted by carol27
22nd September 2015ce

Boscawen-Un (Stone Circle)

Oh my! How beautiful is this place? My favourite so far. Strolling along the paths through the gorse, obviously now a lot easier to access; blackberrying all the way, hands & lips stained purple.
Glimpsing the circle in between gaps in the hedges & from the top of Creeg Toll. Stones all over the place. Boscowan un flits in & out of view teasing us. Looking on it from above, on the Toll made me think of the scene from Stephen Kings / Stanley Kubricks The Shining ( of all things!) when Jack's watching his family moving about in the maze from the model in the Overlook Hotel (there were a couple of people walking round the circle.)
However, nothing sinister to me about this place. I did the Julian thing & led on my back in the shadow of the angled stone & gazed round the circle seeing the stones from the ground up under the dome of a glorious blue sky. I dozed there, feeling protected & held.
We had this unreal place to ourselves. We were bathed in sunshine, warm & calm, peaceful & still. Forgot the rush to the other Lands End monuments & soaked it up. Heavenly.
Posted by carol27
22nd September 2015ce

Castlerigg (Stone Circle)

14/09/2015 - I don't think I've been as excited for ages as I was when walking to this circle. Having seen so many lovely photos on TMA of Castlerigg before I went, I couldn't wait to see it for myself. A nice walk from Keswick along good footpaths set the scene before getting there. I know I shouldn't have been, but I was still surprised to see it was as lovely in real life as on the screen. A wonderful circle of stones, with a near unparalleled backdrop of hills. The setting is just perfect. Yes, it's busy with people, but they come and they go and we did manage to get the circle to ourselves for a few precious minutes. A megalithic must visit. thelonious Posted by thelonious
22nd September 2015ce

Long Meg & Her Daughters (Stone Circle)

12/09/2015 - Not much to add to everyone else's fieldnotes apart from to say I've been here and you know, I thought it was just great. Weather was a bit dull and rainy on the way there but luckily it stopped just as we arrived. I don’t know why but I wasn't that excited about this one beforehand. Really went because it is so well known and I liked the name. A few people there when we arrived but we soon had the circle to ourselves. The longer I spent just dawdling around the stones, the more the place grew on me. Long Meg is a lovely big stone and some of the stones that make up this massive circle are just great. There is one big dobby stone on the west side near to where we parked that I really liked. All in all, a great visit and a fantastic circle. thelonious Posted by thelonious
22nd September 2015ce

Boghead (Cairn(s))

This is a difficult cairn to find being situated in the Whiteash Hill Wood (forest would be a more apt title). Heading east from Fochabers on the A98 park opposite the first minor road south, signposted Clochan. This is easily spotted as there is a brightly red coloured wooden house next to the road.

From here walk along the track heading back to Fochabers for approximately 1.5 miles until a fork in the track. The southern track track leads down a small valley, whilst the northern track remains following but on top of the valley. I walked between the two tracks with the cairn finding dog who promptly did his duty and walked straight into the cairn.

The possibly Neolithic cairn, skeletons of a man and child were found along with an urn and charcoal, is over 16 meters wide and 1 meter tall. Traces of sand and the rounded stones mentioned in Canmore are also evident. As is usual the cairn has taken a houking and is covered in trees. However it is a very atmospheric place on a sunny quiet day.

With that it was time to head back sampling in more of the vibe by taking an alternative route back. Emphasis on alternative i.e. lost.

Visited 7/9/2015.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd September 2015ce

Barflats (Rhynie) (Hillfort)

This site is slightly to the south of Rhynie on the east side of A97 (road to Strathdon, Deeside) near the impressive Pictish Craw Stane. It is surrounded by prehistory, 4 forts, 5 circles, 5 cairns, numerous rock art and the henge at Mytice. Tap O Noth, of course, dominates the whole area.

The fort is on an east facing slope with the River Bogie at the bottom of the hill. From the dig an enclosure can be clearly seen along with an entrance. The archaeologists from the dig have promised me a copy of the findings which I will post here in due course.

Lovely site, fantastic area.

Visited 7/9/2015.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd September 2015ce

Arbory Hill (Hillfort)

11/09/2015 - Started from the car park in Abington. A fine walk up the old roman road to visit Castle Hill then onto Tewsgill Hill before making our way across to visit the fort on Arbory Hill. A great place for a walk. As others have mentioned the straight up the hill approach is a steep one, it was tough enough on the knees on the way down. It does give you a good idea of how good a location the fort has. I wouldn't have wanted to have been part of any attacking group from this side. The fort is a good one, great walls, but for me the location is what makes this one special. Well worth a visit. thelonious Posted by thelonious
21st September 2015ce

Rusland (Standing Stone / Menhir)

It must be ten years since I last saw this standing stone, and not one modern antiquarian has been here in the intervening years, I'm saddened and disappointed, a bit. Ok, there are bigger stones in the Lake district this ones just over five foot, and the view is agreeable but it's no Castlerigg and the many other stone circles are much more interesting. But really ? no one?
There is parking for two by the gate with the no parking sign, the stone is less than two hundred yards from the road, no problem. This end of the long field has lumpy bumpy moraine type mounding in it, the stone stands defiantly at the edge of one of these lumpy bumps, not far away is a seemingly buried stone.
It is a good stone, not far up the off the beaten track, why not make a quick detour when visiting any of the sites in south Lakeland, poor stone, and poor me for feeling sorry for a rock in a field.
postman Posted by postman
21st September 2015ce

Creag Nam Meann (Stone Fort / Dun)

Visited: September 6, 2015

There's a much easier approach to Dun Creag nam Meann. About 50 metres north of the turn-off to the village of Kingsburgh is a metalled farm track that connects with a section of old road, 100 metres roughly east, at a hairpin bend. There is ample space to park a car without blocking this exit. I was prompted to seek this alternative route because the sheep mentioned by Carl had been replaced by a bull and a number of cows. No point tempting fate!

Walk up to the sharp bend, then head to your left (north) along a rough path for 130 metres before ascending easy grassy slopes to a col. Turn left here and continue on to the fort.

The ascent in no way prepares you for the size of the fortification beyond: Canmore states it to be 91 metres long, with a width of about half that figure. The most notable features are a massive but completely tumbled wall along almost the entire eastern boundary, and a well proportioned hut circle. Two more hut circles will be encountered as you explore farther into the fort.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
20th September 2015ce

Dun Bernisdale (Stone Fort / Dun)

Visited: September 7, 2015

For several years, I have been stopping briefly in the village of Bernisdale, three km north of Skeabost on the A 850, to search for the small dun listed by Canmore. But I could never find it. This year, instead of parking in the village, I stopped in the lay-by on the main road: and there it was, staring me in the face, as a neat mound clad in purple heather, mid-way between the main road and the old road through the village.

Dun Bernisdale was a small fortification, even in its heyday: Canmore attributes it with a width of just three metres and an area of ten square metres. Very much a 'pocket' fortification.

Walking round the site I could understand how it proved so elusive. So little remains that, from almost every direction, the dun simply blends anonymously into the landscape. Only from the lay-by had it sufficient profile to be instantly recognisable. It was fortuitous that I chose to stop there.

Stone robbing has left very little remaining structure, save a few large foundation blocks to the south where the dun rises to its maximum height. In all other directions, the dun simply tapers gradually into its surroundings.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
20th September 2015ce

Dun Chlo (Stone Fort / Dun)

Visited: September 9, 2015

Dun Chlo is prominent as a cliff-girt promontory in the seaward view from Tormore, about 3 km south of Armadale on the A851. On its summit stand the very scant remains of an Iron Age dun. RCAHMS describes these as "a discontinuous grassy bank enclosing a roughly circular area 9 to 10 metres in diameter".

In truth, there is almost nothing remaining, just a few kerbstones on the southwest. But the views from this eyrie are well worth the effort of the short walk from the road, past Tormore, and flanking the outhouses on the left to gain the slopes.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
20th September 2015ce

St. Lythans (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Visited 19.9.2015

No, it wasn't the equinox but as close as I could get as I am in work tomorrow and the weather forecast for today wasn't great. In fact it was 50/50 for yesterday but for once the weather gods were smiling.

I awoke at 6.00am to a grey morning but with most of the sky clear of any obvious cloud. I had wanted to see if my theory that the burial chamber lined up with the equinox was correct? I jumped into the car whilst everyone else slept and by 6.45am was stood inside the chamber.

It was very atmospheric. Low mist blanketed the surrounding fields while the sky above was becoming increasingly blue. A rabbit scurried across the field, geese noisily flew overhead and in the distance a cockeral was doing its thing. The herd of cows in the same field as the chamber came out of the mist and made their way towards me.

I scanned the horizon hoping that I would be able to see the sun clearly through the mist and any cloud. I wasn't to be disapointed. At 7.10am a bright dark orange orb rose up over the horizon and through the far trees. As it rose it changed to light orange and then a bright light too strong to look at.

I stood inside the chamber and the sun rose perfectly in line with the entrance - I was right! This was the first time I had seen the sunrise from inside a burial chamber - what a feeling!! Magnificent! It was soooooo worth getting up for..........

By now the cows had surrounded the chamber (with me inside) and one was having a good old scratch against one of the side stones. This didn't bother me as I have been in many fields with cows in so I just shooed them away when it became time to leave. Cows are nothing to be afraid of although they are large so you do need to be careful and use common sense.

On the way back to the car I bagged up a good pile of cow manure. That will do may veggie plot a bit of good next year. All in all a highly successful and rewarding morning. Something I intend to repeat at sometime. You should try it too.
Posted by CARL
20th September 2015ce

Dun Arkaig (Broch)

Visited: September 7, 2015

Starting point was at Caroy, taking the 2 km road (boasting a recently tarmacked surface) to Balmeanach, and parking up at the start of the forestry road. One kilometre along this wide avenue through the woodlands, a path branches to the right, taking you out of the trees after 300 metres.

Ahead, grassy flats with patches of rushes in the damper areas slope gradually down to the River Ose. The going is very easy and there is only one wire fence to be straddled. Dun Arkaig is visible on the slopes across the stream, but quite difficult to discern unless you know exactly where to look.

The meandering River Ose is still quite broad, even this far up the valley, but it is, deceptively, very shallow, and is easily forded where, a short distance into its major meander, a shingle bank takes you most of the way: the remainder was no more than 5 cm deep, and I walked through it without water getting into my boots. This route of attack is very much easier—and shorter—than my attempted boggy tramp up the other side of the glen.

Dun Arkaig stands about 30 metres above the river beyond the far bank, and can be difficult to see. The broch itself is invisible as it sits beyond the brow of the convex slope ahead. Just head uphill to the obvious broad grassy area with a small outcrop of rock in it. The dun stands on top of the the rising ground beyond. The first thing you are likely to see is the small cairn built on its southern boundary.

There's lots of good external masonry remaining at Dun Arkaig, with enough evidence to confirm it as a broch. The remains of one intramural chamber stand out and in several places two courses of neatly positioned large stones can be seen.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
16th September 2015ce

Dun Garafad (Broch)

Canmore names this site as Garafad School and describes it as a 'Galleried Dwelling'. It is situated at the foot of the cliffs east of Staffin. It is best visited in conjunction with the better known Cadha Riach chambered cairn. After following the footpath from Staffin to the cairn, the path continues down to the coast in a series of easy zig-zags. Dun Garafad sits on a low grassy mound about 150 metres from the shore.

Only a few scattered stones remain to mark the boundary of the Dun which, from its position in open, low-lying terrain, was hardly likely to have been a fort. A comparison with the location of the Glenelg brochs suggests that it may have been a broch, but there is little visual evidence to support this.

Nevertheless, on a fine day, the walk down the cliffs to Dun Garafad opens up stunning vistas towards Staffin Island in the north, and towards the mountains of Scotlands northwest, to the east.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
15th September 2015ce

Churchill Village Stones (Standing Stones)

A number of my paternal grandmother's ancestors were baptised and then buried at this church, so I feel I'm sort of entitled to a guess on all this. It has the fingerprints of wealthy church benefactor all over it. Maybe they were originally in the wooded site and got moved.........some of those holes may be a clue! Posted by tomatoman
15th September 2015ce

The Twelve Apostles of Ilkley Moor (Stone Circle)

The mistaken impression I got from most of the previous fieldnotes is that (a) it's a bit of a slog getting to the stones and (b) they're not that easy to find. As someone famous for misreading even the simplest of maps/directions and blithely walking past circles standing in plain sight I thus approached my visit to this one with some trepidation. Well, all I can say after my visit is that this was one of the easiest I've made so I thought I'd set out my directions in the hope they'll inspire others to follow because the Twelve Apostles are well worth spending half an hour with, almost for the views alone; were those really the dishes of the Fylingdales early-warning (or whatever they're used for now) station gleaming whitely in the far distance off the the north-east?
So; if you're coming by car, drive into Ilkley town centre then follow the sign for 'Ilkley Moor' which leads to a turning signposted 'Cow and Calf Rocks.' Follow this all the way to the cafe sited under said rocks where you can park. Unless you want to mingle with all the sightseers on the rocks, take the rougher left-hand path which goes behind them and stay on this until you reach the Backstone Beck. On crossing, again take the rougher left-hand path; although this climbs more steeply it cuts a large corner off the route you would otherwise follow in taking the lower, smoother path until it intersects with the Dales High Way. When you reach the High Way by the higher path you simply turn left on to it and keep going until you reach the stones; after crossing another small beck the path is laid out in large flagstones so your feet won't even get wet. I reckon it's a mile/mile and a half at most.
It's a very evocative spot, unusual in that you can see urban areas to north, south and east yet you're still in the sort of seclusion that only a moorland site can offer. Don't expect to have the stones all to yourself especially at weekends, judging by the number of walkers about on the Sunday afternoon of my visit though I still got twenty minutes; it's probably less busy during the week.
They're a quirky little group, sitting in their clearing surrounded by gorse and heather. I imagine it could get quite dark up there on a day when the clouds are low and the rain horizontal but on a pleasantly bright mid-September afternoon the moor was a fine place to be and I left the stones uplifted and ready for the two-hundred-mile drive back to London.
ironstone Posted by ironstone
14th September 2015ce

Dun Boreraig (Duirinish) (Broch)

Revisited: September 9, 2015

Returning to Dun Boreraig on a fine sunny day, the broch immediately appeared much more interesting than last time, when the sky was leaden and views practically non-existent.

Sitting atop a conspicuous mound, the broch immediately impressed me with external walling that stood five courses high in places, the individual blocks still nestling tidily against oneanother. Some of the stones in the foundation course were impressively large.

Though much of the original masonry has collapsed into the centre of the structure, significant stretches of fine internal walling still stand, and the original entrance passage is well preserved.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
14th September 2015ce

Dun Ela (Stone Fort / Dun)

Visited: September 9, 2015

I am mystified reading Carl's fieldnotes: I cannot imagine an easier site to visit. Perhaps he mistook where he was. There are neither trees nor cliffs to trouble the visitor.

From the coastal car park (at NG646057) about 800 metres past Ostaig House, simply descend to the beach and follow the coastline (a sandy beach in the main) northwards for about 400 metres. Dun Ela is obvious as a small, rugged headland from the moment you step out of your vehicle. If the stream proves an obstacle, walk up the road past the bridge before descending to the beach.

The 8 metre tall dun, which stands right on the shore about 400 metres SSW of Ostaig House, is a flat-topped rock, broadest nearest the sea where the actual dun was located, and which tapers into a narrow ridge towards the shore. On my visit it was a very low tide, and the dun was surrounded by seaweed covered shingle. Clearly, at high tide, it is surrounded by the sea.

As to the site of the dun, little can be said because it is thickly clothed in vegetation, including a number of semi-mature trees: no significant detail can be discerned. But it would clearly have been an ideal defensive location, surrounded by cliffs on all sides and with only the narrow neck of the ridge to defend.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
13th September 2015ce
Edited 16th September 2015ce

Cuidrach Stone Setting (Stone Circle)

Where is it? - Mystery solved!

As documented below by Kammer, this putative stone circle in the Snizort Parish has consistently defied the efforts of those searching for it. The reason for this is a long standing error on the RCAHMS/Canmore website, and elsewhere, its Grid Reference having been erroneously quoted as NG386596.

Earlier this year, the Canmore website was upgraded and the 6-digit Grid Reference replaced by a more accurate 8-digit one (NG38755962). Additionally the site is now renamed, more accurately, as the Cuidrach Stone Setting. The map below shows the incorrect 100-metre grid square (large shaded rectangle) and the correct 10-metre grid square (small green square). It is clear that the true location is well outside the originally assigned OS reference.

The original notification of this megalith in Discovery and Excavation in Scotland (1989, page 44) is replete with errors.

• The OS reference was incorrect
• There are no telegraph poles here: only wooden power line posts
• The megalith stands a mere 130 metres SW of a layby (pink marker), 150 metres down the Cuidrach road (nothing like the third of a mile originally reported)

In fact, the Stone Setting is actually clearly visible from this layby, adjacent to the 2nd powerline post to the SW.

Read more about this on the Canmore website.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
12th September 2015ce
Edited 13th September 2015ce

Visited: September 6, 2015

The Cuidrach Stone Setting, a possible stone circle, has been extensively quoted at an erroneous location, and incorrectly termed "Snizert [sic] Stone Circle".

This monument has at last found not only a more appropriate name, but also location, in a 10-metre square at NG38755962, somewhat east of the erroneous position quoted by its discoverers.

Once you know where to look, Cuidrach Stone Setting is dead easy to locate: it can actually be seen from the roadside, just 130 metres southwest of a lay-by on the Cuidrach Road.

From the A856 from Portree to Uig, follow the Cuidrach road from NG390597 for about 150 metres where you find a large lay-by/passing place, just a few metres before the point where a power line crosses the road. The wooden poles of this power line were mistaken for telegraph poles in the original Discovery and Excavation in Scotland report.

From here, look for the second wooden post in a roughly southwesterly direction. The stone setting can be clearly seen just a short distance to its left. It's just a few minutes walk across rather boggy terrain to reach it, a distance of only 130 metres (stout shoes or boots required).

There are four upright stones and one toppled one, laid out on an obvious semi-circle. A sixth stone lies prostrate and almost completely hidden in the boggy terrain enclosed by the setting.

It may well be that these are the remains of a stone circle, since the original report stated that probing had identified buried stones in the gaps.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
12th September 2015ce
Edited 22nd September 2015ce

Cadbury Castle (South Cadbury) (Hillfort)

Visited Cadbury Castle a couple of days ago while driving back from the Somerset/Dorset area. The sun was sinking as we climbed up the steep stony track from the village of South Cadbury. When we reached the top everything was bathed in the glow of the setting sun. Fabulous views of the surrounding landscape, quite easy to imagine this may have been the site of a the mythical city of Camelot. Back down in the small car park, I tried to read the information board - the light was failing by now so I photographed it and have reproduced the text below. A fascinating potted history of England from the time of the Neolithic up to the 15th Century.
(Information based on the work of Leslie Alcock and the excavations at Cadbury Castle 1966-70).

From the Neolithic Age (3,000BC) to early 11th Century, the fortress of Cadbury Castle was in turn military stronghold, centre of trade and culture, and probably focus of a religious cult; by the early 16th Century folklore identified it with Camelot of Arthurian legend.

Iron Age Town – A modest Bronze Age settlement on the summit grew into a large and spectacular hill fort town, a centre of craft, trade and religious worship. The place was probably a ‘capital’ of the Durotriges whose territory included central and southern Somerset and Dorset. Dwellings within ramparts were wood, wattle and thatch. At first left alone by the Roman government, the town was forcibly cleared around 70AD by the Romans, an action which left some of the inhabitants dead and which removed others to settlements in the surrounding countryside.

The Dark Ages and Camelot – People returned to the site towards the end of the Roman period and by 500AD there was a massive refortification on the hill top. Defences of timber and dry stone walling replaced the earlier banks and posts of the new south-west gate were embedded in solid rock. Within the defences stood a large, aisled timber hall. The scale of the work and precious pottery found from the eastern Mediterranean imply a wealthy, sophisticated and highly organised military society.
The only surviving written record of the 5th Century shows Britain divided into tribal ‘kingdoms’ and later Celtic tradition tells of a series of battles against invading Saxons under the command of a figure called Arthur. Cadbury, strategically placed to defend south-west Britain, could well have been the base from which Arthur led his troops to the final victory of Mons Badonis, whether that was fought in Dorset, near Bath, or in north Wiltshire. Cadbury was first linked to Arthur by Leland in 1542:
“At the very south ende of the Chirch of South-Cadbryri standeth Camallate, sumtyme a famose toun or castelle … The people can telle nothing ther but they have hard say that Arthure much resortid to Camalat” (sic)

Saxons and Vikings – The threat of Viking invasion during the reign of Ethelred II (the “Unready”) brought the hill top into use again as an emergency administrative and commercial centre in place of Ilchester. Coind were minted at Cadanbyric between 1009 and 1019 in the safety of new defences, and a church may have been begun but the ramparts were again destroyed. Soon after the mint returned to Ilchester."
tjj Posted by tjj
10th September 2015ce
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