|With regard to the pits or pock-marks at the top of the hill.....
I was a student at Hurstpierpoint College in the early 1970's, and was fortunate enough to have an excellent history teacher in the shape of one Mr Holloway.
Mr Holloway had been an officer of the Home Guard based from the college during WWII; Hurst college providing much of that 'Home Guard'.
When we managed to get him to recount some of his wartime experiences one of the things that he told us about was the firing range that was established on Wolstonbury hill (aka DANNY) - this was on the 'Plateau' which faces towards the A23 - firing therefore was towards the hill, where there are some convienient earthworks for those manning the targets to keep out of the way.
Regarding the pockmarks at the top of the hill; many of these may well be historical in origin, but so too do many (towards the North, Steep face) originate from WWII - for the simple reason that the top of Danny was used as the target zone for mortar bomb practice.
These facts I can corroborate, because after being given the exciting news (above) yours truely and one other, manufactured a home-made metal detector from a malfunctioning transistor radio and went prospecting.
From the plateau ( is that the scene of ancient sacrfice?) we extracted .303 bullet cases (an abundance of) metal ammunition clips, and from the chalk face, a number of spent bullet heads.
From the top of the hill, and from several of the deeper craters - for that is what they are, we extracted shards of rusty bomb casings and a number of bits of tail-fin.
I agree, that my actions at that time, measured by todays sensitivities and awareness of historical matters, were abhorrent and probably foolish too - however, my weak defence is that I was only 13 at the time and of course it was a great adventure.
Incidently - the steps cut into the north face: - there have been 150 years of boys (and girls) from Hurst College making their annual pilgrimage en masse to the Ascention day service on the top of our hill. This, and other casual climbers probably have more to do with those 'steps'.
Finally. What a spiritual place!! As strong as any Church or Cathedral !
For me it has been the place to 'ground' when life just becomes too much. It has been, literally, a life saver, both for myself and at least one other. Simply by helping you expell your angst, woes and intellectual pain. A true place of reflection and soul-cleansing.
There is a strength and power about 'Danny' which is tangible yet inexplicable. She is always there, but in your hour of need, as a good friend has said, She will wrap her arms around you as if wrapping you in a cloak.
If you wanted a comment from the heart and the soul, I would say that I believe that Wolstonbury hill was a place of great spiritual and religious significance; the proposals of it having been a henge reinforce this belief.
I welcome any sensible contact on this post; email@example.com
Posted by MarkIIa
31st January 2006ce