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

Woodbury Castle



As Mr Cane states, this excellent, deceptively small - yet powerful - hillfort is easy to find.... simply follow the B3180 heading south from the A3052 a little way east of Exeter, the enclosure well sited overlooking the estuary of the beautiful River Exe. Can't miss it (he says). Providing you refrain from following a turn-off to Woodbury and getting hopelessly lost. Stupid is as stupid does...

Anyway. Having (eventually) parked up in the large car park the scale of the defences of this hillfort are immediately apparent. It is also clear (from the information board plan) that the aforementioned B3180 is perhaps not as intrusive as I first thought, utilising the original north and south entrances to traverse the enclosure. How thoughtful. For once. The main body of the fortress is shaped roughly like a back to front capital B... with a squashed top bit beyond the road. There's also a further rampart covering the approach from the north. But enough of this technical jargon!

The southern section of the enclosure, easily accessed from the car park, appears univallate, the massive single bank complemented by a counterscarp beyond a very impressive ditch. Unfortunately ease of access is causing conservation issues here, the bank clearly suffering from the moronic attentions of 'mountain' (ha!) bikers, this despite numerous signs pointing out their endemic idiocy. No excuses, then. I block the passage of one upon the counterscarp and note the immanent lack of expression in his face. In short, Woodbury Castle is a local recreational amenity, albeit one I think (or at least hope) is substantial enough to cope. In common with the wondrous Blackbury Camp not too far to the east, Woodbury is lightly wooded (as you no doubt guessed from the pragmatic name), it being necessary to traverse the roots of some rather splendid trees in order to walk the rampart.

However, for me, the true joy of Woodbury lies across the busy B3180 [take care when crossing, please... it's rather dangerous] in the form of the 'squashed bit of the B' overlooking the estuary. This arc of the defences appears multi-vallate (I think) and is completely overgrown, fallen trees overlying the overwhelming inner bank. It seems very few come here.... the perfect spot for lunch, then.
6th May 2012ce
Edited 6th May 2012ce

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