The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian




Strange one, this.... although Danbury Camp overlooks the 'Sunday walking' route I've undertaken for the best part of two decades - when not otherwise engaged somewhere else in these Isles, of course - I've only actually visited the site upon a couple of occasions.

I guess the most obvious reason for this is the paucity of visible prehistoric remains. Or at least of the kind that didn't need digging up by your friendly local archeaologist. There are no impressive, free standing ramparts left to walk around, or sit upon looking south-westwards towards Hanningfield Reservoir... just a few, barely identifiable remnants of tree-cloaked earthwork running from north-west to south-west backing onto residents' gardens... I think. Hey, even the information panel by the church entrance has rotted away to oblivion. However this is not to say that this former Iron Age enclosure is empty. Oh no. Far from it. The 13th Century church of St. John the Baptist is the most obvious Johnny-come-lately (ha!) with attendant graveyard and garden allotments providing a rather peculiar juxtaposition of 'life and death', if the truth be told. A water tank/tower and, last and definately least, a large antennae add to the general confusion.

Today only a few locals taking shortcuts break the silence and disturb the pristine white blanket of snow.... seeing as the expected multitude of children sledging down the hillside are simply nowhere to be seen. What is it with kids nowadays? Yeah, in conditions such as this the old hillfort still retains echoes of its ancient past, if somewhat uncomfortably in the literal shadow of such an impressive Christian edifice.

I retrace my steps back down to road by The Cricketer's Arms and continue on my way - without pausing to sample anything, you understand. The landscape can look no better than it does today under this brilliant winter sun slowly sinking to the horizon, trees a firey combination of orange and red, the fields a mantle of glistening white. As I cut through Danbury Lakes on the way back to the car, the sun's rays reflecting off the frozen water and silhouetting a moorhen standing somewhat confused mid-lake, I'm suddenly chuffed to bits that Danbury Camp is still clinging to existance upon the overlooking hill. The nearby 'palace' may be a conference centre now, but somehow the ancient hillfort adds a sense of substantiality to being here. Funny, isn't it?
6th December 2010ce
Edited 18th October 2011ce

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