|This hill fort has been on my list to visit for some time. Today I received the opportunity via a friend who wanted to make an autumnal visit to the New Forest - Danebury was on the way.
Surprisingly easy to find as well sign-posted from Andover - we left the car in the first parking area at the bottom of the hill, although there was another one further up the hill next to a small discreet roundhouse-style toilet building (with information boards).
Its a relatively gentle walk up to the hill fort where there is yet another information board explaining that the eastern entrance once had a timber gate which had been destroyed and rebuilt several times. Originally the fort had two entrances but the west gate was filled in and only the east gate used.
It appears to be a trivallate fort, at least in parts; 2500 years old and occupied for 500 years until the Romans arrived. Excavations by Professor Barry Cunliffe of Oxford between 1969-1988 found evidence of 73 roundhouses and 500 rectangular buildings - roundhouses for the people and the rectangular store houses and pits probably for grain.
180,000 pieces of pottery and 240,000 bits of animal bone and stone objects such as querns and bone implements for weaving were found. There are still dips in the ground where grain stores used to be and a high spot in the centre which is thought to have been a focal point for religious gatherings and important meetings.
Its a massive and impressive hill fort, the lower ramparts now quite densely wooded in places with beech and yew trees. The paths have had sand gravel, rather than chalk laid down, which slightly detracts from the ambience, as do the wooden steps up one of the higher ramparts. Both these measures protect the hill fort from erosion so no complaints from me.
The wild flowers which appear to grow in profusion have gone with the onset of autumn; a 'must go back in the summer' sort of place with panoramic views over Hampshire and towards Wiltshire.
Posted by tjj
17th October 2011ce
Edited 18th October 2011ce