Take the A49 north, out of Hereford, and then the minor road on the right signposts Moreton On Lugg then Sutton St Nicholas. You will come to a posh house on your right called Pool House and a yellow grit box. The track leading to the Hillfort is directly opposite – between two houses. There is a public right of way up the track although no sign indicating this.
I passed a dead badger on the verge – no doubt knocked over by a car? This was the third dead badger I had seen next to a road today.
The track is well made which makes walking up it easy. There is a locked gate you walk past to prevent vehicles being driven up the track. It is only a 5 minutes walk to the Hillfort from the main road.
As you approach the very large defensive rampart the track becomes less well maintained and increasingly muddy. The track cuts right through the rampart and you get a good appreciation of how substantial it is. It is at least 3m high – possibly 4m. The whole of the rampart is covered in trees and bushes.
Once inside the Hillfort it is difficult to get an idea of the layout due to the entire interior being overgrown with trees, bushes, brambles etc. Although it is obvious that this is a very large site. ‘Paths’ criss/cross the interior of the Hillfort. Whilst walking up the track the rain had turned to hail and now sleet – it was a bit nippy and unsurprisingly I had the site to myself. Only TMAers would be daft enough to visit in this weather!
Due to the trees surmounting the rampart and the low clouds, rain/hail/sleet it wasn’t possible to appreciate the view although it was clear that the Hillfort occupies a very prominent position in the surrounding flat landscape and would have made an ideal location.
In his ‘Guide to Prehistoric England’ (page 150/151) Nicholas Thomas states that the Hillfort encompasses an area of 29 acres. Adding that the ‘massive’ single ditch rampart has two original entrances (E+W) and that the (N+S) entrances are modern. Interestingly Mr Thomas adds that shortly before the Roman invasion the defences were strengthened although this did no good as the site was attacked in AD48 and a slaughter followed with 24 defenders being thrown in the ditch suffering from battle injuries / decapitation. The site continued to be used throughout the Romano-British period and a large iron anvil was found which is now in the Hereford Museum. Apparently this is one of the largest Pre-Roman cast iron objects ever found in Britain.
All in all this site is well worth a visit when in the area although other than the formidable rampart don’t expect to make much else out due to the vegetation.
Posted by CARL
23rd March 2013ce