|It seems curious that this large site so close to Stonehenge had not been already added to TMA? I guess it's fairly incognito.
But the scheduled monument record on Magic says Vespasian's Camp is the only Iron Age fortification in the Stonehenge area. They call it 'an outstanding example of its type' (ie a univallate hillfort) - probably because it's not been disturbed much. It was even fashionably incorporated into the grounds of the local big house in the 18th century, so it has got a few tracks across it. It's wooded now. There are older barrows inside its banks, that the later inhabitants must have deliberately preserved (or ignored).
The bank on the west (Stonehenge) side is huge, at 6.5m from the bottom of the ditch. Look on the map and you'll see how the fort on its hill nestles nicely in the 'neck' of a meander of the River Avon. The main road runs immediately to the north (where one of the entrances was) so if you've been to Stonehenge you may have seen the fort even if you didn't realise it was there. I don't think you can see the stones from the fort though. Might be wrong.
Why it should be attributed to Vespasian particularly is anyone's guess. The Stonehenge World Heritage Site website says that it was William Camden, in Elizabethan times, "that gave the hillfort its rather romantic name." Romantic?? Perhaps that's just a euphemism.
(this web site also has some tiny maps / photos).
Posted by Rhiannon
18th January 2008ce
Edited 24th March 2008ce