|[visited 22/4/11] Widely accepted by academics as glacial but a vocal minority insist its man made and prehistoric, so I thought I'd have a walk about, over and round to see what I could see.
So er, this is not a hill fort at least not in any classic sense. I've been to a couple of the Peak forts and quite a few more in the rest of the country and not one looks like this. However, there are parts and hints which point to this being more than a glacial feature. I should say though, I am no expert on or amateur obsessive of glacial features...
I started on the Chapel road and headed for the new cricket pitch (nice and level). The end of the Roosdyche (henceforth known as RD) starts not long along the footpath, I followed it to the new cricket ground and then along the footpath which runs parallel to the RD (which is private property keep out!), up to the Northern end of RD. The overriding fact of walking this part is that the land to the West drops off and that the land to the East on the other side of RD from me, rises appreciably. A couple of peaks over the 5'8'' stone wall as I walked revealed no bank on the western side of RD, the land on the western side going up to the edge. These facts lead me to categorically believe any fort or defended enclosure cannot be to the West and so the conjectured map on here is wrong. Another discrepancy to hillfort normality is that the sometimes large undulations of the floor of RD do not follow the contours of the land and so are perhaps symptomatic of bedrock changes being reflected in the erosion caused by water.
However, I then continued the walk starting at the Northern end of RD heading east to Mosley Hall Farm, then past the old cricket pitch (on a slope), onto a sneaky 30 yards of RD, to the lane by the new cricket pitch, up the lane past Horwich House and Horwich Farm, then finally back down the road to my car by the Chapel road. This where the weirdness and hints of prehistory start.
As I crossed the RD I am sure you can detect a hint off a bank on the Eastern edge, though certainly not all the way along. Nothing sprung out at me until Mosley Hall Farm, there the track to the North East of the farm follows a ditch, then as you are given the option of the farm to the right, look left and what could be an earthworked rampart looks at you. Back at the RD, on the track that heads East past the new cricket ground, on the East side of RD, there is what seems to be the spitting image of a mutivalate hillfort entrance. Looking south through the barbed wire fence along Dingle Wood a bank ditch bank combo can be seen, but not accessed. East of Horwich house a track runs North to South, in a ditch. Finally on the West side of the road which heads South from Horwich Farm, a bank could be veering West back towards the Southern end of RD.
So, what's going on? Certainly any of the ditches and banks to the east of RD taken individually, with the exception of the possible entrance, could just be geology or sunken ways or all sorts of other later features. But taken together I think there is a real possibility, that this was enclosed at some point in the past. Issues would be geography and size. Frankly the high ground further west would be much more likely for a hillfort, even with Eccles pike looking over it. Size-wise, the area enclosed would be larger than (say) Maiden Castle, so this would be a massive enclosure. Another issue is that Castle Naze is only 2-3 miles to the South East and the peak's forts don't tend to be that densely located.
Personally, I think this could be a status symbol, a great and effectively undefendable folly, aimed to the North. Using the existing glacial RD to enhance the front which would be well protected whilst it's sides and back could be a small bank and palisade. It does lie on or near a tribal boundary and would be clearly visible from the North for several miles. It also sits on the Goyt, one of the major tributaries of the mersey.
Posted by juamei
22nd April 2011ce
Edited 28th August 2013ce