|I decided to walk out here from Bath, and since it was raining (I couldn't stand to stay indoors any more) I had all the footpaths to myself. It was quite a trek, so I expect most visitors would rather park their car in Stanton Prior, the hamlet south-east of the hill, and walk up from there.
It's an imposing hill really, dominating the local landscape. Next to it is a smaller rounder hill, Winsbury Hill. I tried without much success to see some 'sleeping figure' significance to the two hills. Looking back, a ridge forms the skyline on the opposite side of the valley, and I could just imagine a lookout visually scouring it for sneaky attackers (just a flight of fancy). Speaking of defence, I was amazed on the way here by the extreme steepness and depth of the combe? containing the little stream between Stanton Prior and Newton St Loe. Wansdyke doesn't seem to be fazed by it, but frankly for quite a while I wondered how I was going to cross the gap and felt like I was being funnelled further along than I wanted to be - I could see the hillfort but was basically walking parallel to it.
As I climbed the stile into the wood I was struck by the swathes of bluebells - their vivid blue a shock to the eye after the miles of green I'd walked through. Also there was lovely yellow-flowered archangel - both plants are indicators of ancient woodland. The wood is mostly oak trees. I hastened up to the flat top hoping to get a view of the surrounding countryside - maybe up to Kelston Round Hill and the fort near there. But with it raining, and the not particularly treeless hilltop, I can't really say what is/was visible and what wasn't.
I haven't yet been able to find out much about the prehistory of the site. 7Spring appears to know a lot about the Wansdyke aspect of course. The other side of the hill seems to be a recent spot for crop circle art - ooh and this faces a main road, what a surprise. If you were just passing through this part of the world you'd doubtless want to spend your valuable time at the nearby Stanton Drew or Stoney Littleton: but this place had a special 'vegetationy' calm, as I found as I strolled/slipped down the path between the bluebells on the far side.
It's been raining all afternoon, the sun was really low in the sky and everything was as full of colour as a Jane Tomlinson original, and all contrasty - it looked almost surreal. I've discovered the best way to arrive at Stantonbury - from the Keynsham road. It heads straight for the hill and you see it broadside - much better than sneaking up on it from one end because you appreciate its true size. Er, just a recommendation. None of the photos so far do it justice; it's just smothered with trees and looks rounded and fat.
Posted by Rhiannon
1st May 2003ce
Edited 13th September 2009ce