Mount Scylla Settlement Earthwork, Ford - June 8th 2008
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 157 - Scale 1:25000
Chippenham & Bradford-on-Avon inc. Trowbridge & Melksham.
Saw this site listed on TMA and checked it out.
Not the easiest too easy to view. No public footpath and parking problematic.
The nearest lay-by is at ST 83032 74297 on the B road between Ford and Colerne.
It's not marked on the OS map, but lies over the road from the footpath style.
You either walk down the road until you get to the gate at ST 83165 74455, on the right hand side,
or you make your way through the field along the hedgerow.
WARNING - the road is very narrow, steep and has a blind bend at this gateway. In fact the road runs very straight until it gets to the edge of the earthwork. Maybe it was driven through it on purpose, to make the earthwork less defensive. The hillfort in the next valley, Bury Wood Camp may have been sacked by the Second (Augusta) legion of the Roman army, on their advance to Gloucester.
I cycled down the road until I out to the gate and left the bike by the hedge.
Walking into the field, I was struck by the natural beauty of the area. The site sites halfway up the side of a hill overlooking the Bybrook valley.
The earthwork consists of two straight sections joining at a slight angle. The northern section runs North West to south east for 115m and consists of a rampart but no ditch. This section forms a field boundary and is surmounted by the remains of a much later dry stone wall creating a field boundary.
Getting level with the rampart at it's lowest point, I was surprised to find a stile built for crossing over the wall and into the field containing the rampart. The stone wall had been built over the left hand side of the rampart. I guess it must have been still stable after 2 thousand years, to do this.
The section to the south runs from NNE to SSW for 140m ending at a point at which the slope to the south becomes very steep. It comprises a bank up to 0.3m high from the west and 2.8m high from the east. The bank is 8.4m wide and is flanked to the east by a ditch 7m wide and up to 0.5m deep.
The right hand side of the rampart is much easier to see and follow, as it stands 2.8m high at the southern end and has been a sprinkling of young Oak trees.
There seemed to be some kind of hollow or dried up pond in its middle, where the two sections met. A number of large stones sat around its edge and it gave the impression of a ruined stone circle. The stone boundary wall also curved around this point, so it may have been built as a pond. The hollow had hazel growing around its edges.
Together with the steep slope to the south and north, the earthwork defines an area of about 3ha, although the full extent of the monument to the west is not known.
The area as a whole has lots of Mesolithic and Neolithic flint tool finds, an Iron-Age hillfort, Romano-British buildings, and the undated burial mounds in Colerne Park, excavated in 1953.
Posted by Chance
9th June 2008ce