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

Cold Slad On Crickley Hill

Causewayed Enclosure

Fieldnotes

My last visit to this fine site was in falling snow and a black and white world. Not so today. The walk through the woods of Crickley Hill Country Park to the northeast is lovely, sun streaming down. I stop at the Visitor Centre briefly, it’s usually been closed when I’ve been here before and it’s worth a look to see the information boards, together with some prehistoric finds and a model reconstruction of the site.

The site itself is quite magnificent, probably the best hillfort encountered so far along the Cotswold Way as, unlike Cleeve Cloud and Leckhampton Hill, it hasn’t been so badly damaged by quarrying (although it hasn’t entirely escaped). The Way passes through the impressive Iron Age ramparts that cut off a large wedge-shaped promontory. Inside this, various hut circles are marked out by concrete posts, although there’s nothing else remaining of them. The main features of the view today are Robinswood Hill and Churchdown Hill, two conical outlier of the Cotswold escarpment. The Malverns are but dimly seen through a haze more reminiscent of summer.

The most enigmatic part of the site is the circular feature at the northern end of the Neolithic earthwork, although little remains of it now. The circle, 8 metres across, was enclosed by stones and had a central hearth. “Ritual” purposes abounded, no doubt. From the western tip of the promontory, my route ahead comes into view for the first time, Barrow Wake across the steep-sided valley that now houses the A417, with Birdlip Camp, Witcombe Wood and Cooper’s Hill beyond. The Mother River, the Severn/Hafren, lies broad and glinting to the southwest.

It’s busy here today, as you’d expect on such a lovely day, and before long the impulse that pushes me onwards, away from the crowds, comes back. The Cotswold Way turns back along the southern edge of the promontory, where the ground falls away most steeply, before leaving the fort into yet another delightful beech wood.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
6th May 2013ce

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