|Taking advantage of the decidedly spring-like weather I have just made my first visit to Scratchbury. There's room to park just off the roundabout at ST914437 and then you can walk up the slope of Cotley Hill and across the down to the hillfort. I am not built for slopes and it nearly killed me (it's not that bad really and is quite a decent path. There's a stile right at the bottom and a kissing gate further on). The advantage of physical exertion and lack of oxygen to the brain means that when I do finally get to the top of these places, I'm feeling slightly peculiar. And this adds to their sense of being above the mundane. You can see and hear the traffic below but you're well out of it in another world. I do like that.
Cotley and Scratchbury are an SSSI and there will be very interesting things to see there soon
Today I was accompanied for some way by my first butterfly of the year, a brimstone. The plateau is full of peculiar mounds and dips, some of them clearly barrows, some of them more mysterious. Lumps of flint and chalk are everywhere. As usual I had my eyes peeled for that elusive arrowhead, in vain.
When you get to Scratchbury from this direction you are met by a huge bank. In fact the whole place is much bigger than I was expecting. I see now from this photo at Last Refuge that there is also a distinct inner enclosure. I was quite happy sitting on the very prominent barrow overlooking the view and unusually didn't feel the urge to pace round the whole perimeter. I felt quite at peace. Thus I can't really comment on the parking / climbing opportunities from the other direction. But I enjoyed the walk to and from the fort. I saw half a dozen people while I was up here, a positive Picadilly Circus compared to many similar spots.
It was rather restorative. I think I'll be back.
Posted by Rhiannon
12th March 2011ce
Edited 12th March 2011ce