Take the A4151 west from Elton towards Cinderford. Then take the minor road north signposted Pope’s Hill. When you arrive at Pope’s Hill go west past the impressive Flaxley Abbey (why is there an Abbey stuck out here on its own?) and keep an eye out for the public footpath sign on your left. This is opposite a small farm outbuilding and has a convenient parking space for one car next to it.
Karen, Sophie, Dafydd and little Ella-May (granddaughter) stayed in the car whilst I trudged up the path towards the Hillfort. The ‘path’ is popular with horse riders judging by the amount of muck and mud and it was with some difficulty I skirted around the worse of it. However, the higher up the path I got the less mud/muck I encountered.
The ‘path’ skirts around the north / west of the Hillfort I was looking for a way to come off the path and strike out for the summit. This was proving to be very difficult due to the dense undergrowth. Luckily enough I found an area of brown, collapsed ferns which looked like my best bet (this would also have been difficult to access if I had come in the middle of summer).
I made my way up the steep sided hill with the warm spring sunshine on my back. Now, either I am getting older or these hills are getting steeper? Either way the sweat was soon dripping off my forehead and it was time to take the top off – steady girls!
As I said it was a steep old climb but when I got to the top it was worth the effort. I only had time to explore the northern defences which consisted of a single ditch / rampart still a stunning 5 metres high in places! Had it not been for the trees it would be a tremendous view from this commanding of positions.
On the way back down to the car I noticed a slow worm sunning itself on the dry bracken. I had a quick look but didn’t want to disturb it.
All in all worth the effort although this site would only be accessible to those who are mobile and fairly fit.
Posted by CARL
13th March 2012ce