The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Widbury Hill Camp



English Heritage has this very obscure 'fort logged as 'the remains of a probable Iron Age univallate ridge-end hillfort, partly destroyed by quarrying' (English Heritage, National Monuments Record TL 31 SE 20). Guess I'd more or less agree with that... with the additional caveat that the site lies within woodland and barbed-wire. Consequently I found it by no means as easy to locate as it first appeared from the map. Assuming I did in fact locate it. But there you are. Perhaps it was a case of me making the evidence on the ground fit the preconception, of 'seeing' what I wanted to see? Perhaps.

Whatever does remain of the enclosure occupies a fine defensive position, protected by steep slopes falling away to the River Ash to the east, the river executing a wide loop at this point, and by a lesser, although still significant, drop to the south and west toward the artificially manipulated River Lee. The only feasible direction of attack - as you may have gathered, from the north - was defended by a curving bank and ditch. This still exists (I think, but happy to be corrected if you know better and my images are spurious!!) although it is now very denuded, overcome by woodland, riddled with rabbit warrens, littered with accumulated rubbish, bottles discarded by feral teenagers and winos. In short, it is in no way impressive. Hey, but at least it still exists. I think.

By contrast the naturally defended flank overlooking the River Ash is a joy to behold, lying beneath its canopy of trees... worth the diversion from the B1004 in itself, to be honest. Better still, combine a visit here with a sojourn at the impressive, nearby Easneye Wood round barrow and you'll have little cause for complaint (however bear in mind there is no official access to either monument, although public footpaths will get you close). Parking was a bit of an issue, so I left the car just outside of Ware at the Hollywood Road junction with the B1004 and walked the short distance back. There are worse things to do on a Sunday afternoon....
29th February 2012ce
Edited 29th February 2012ce

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