|Visited 27.1.09 - blue skies when I left the house (a mile to the north of the hill) but when I got up the hill it was enveloped in freezing mist, with no visibility over Cheltenham at all. First time I have been here in January and I wanted to have a look at the earthworks and the "round barrow" outside the eastern entrance.
In the interior of the fort I came across a series of circular crop marks in the tufty grass: the largest 10 paces in diameter, the smallest 4 paces. The excavations at the site have focussed on the ramparts and nothing has been excavated within the main enclosed area. These marks are certainly of a size that would be consistent with hut circles (like the ones found at nearby Crickley Hill) but without excavation (or at least a more expert eye than mine) there's no knowing what they are.
The rampart curves round from the SW corner of the fort to the NE corner in a shape like a "D" with the top flattened. Along the SE side the rampart is topped with dry stone construction - according to Geoffrey Williams in "The Iron Age Hillforts of England" (1993 Horace Books) the rampart was revetted with dry stone wall, so this may be part of the original construction.
As the rampart turns to the north, it becomes more of an earthen bank, leading up to the eastern entrance (which is simply a gap).
The mysterious "round barrow/celtic shrine/tree enclosure" is clearly visible on the E side of the rampart, although very difficult to photograph! The square bank is clear, and each side measures approx 20-21 paces. The round barrow (if that's what it is) in the centre is again quite clear, but very low and unimpressive.
After this the mist closed in and it started to get wetter, so I headed off back down the steep scarp slope to the north, pausing first to have a look at the earthworks to the NE of the fort that run next to the Cotswold Way footpath. It's not clear what these are or how old they are - in "Prehistoric and Roman Sites of the Cheltenham Area" (1981 Gloucester County Library) W.L. Cox merely mentions that they are of "uncertain use". Helpful!
Posted by thesweetcheat
27th January 2009ce
Edited 10th December 2012ce