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Cherhill Down and Oldbury

Hillfort

<b>Cherhill Down and Oldbury</b>Posted by mrberryImage © mrberry
Nearest Town:Calne (5km W)
OS Ref (GB):   SU049692 / Sheet: 173
Latitude:51° 25' 16.5" N
Longitude:   1° 55' 46.28" W


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Cherhill Down and Oldbury Hillfort - Sat 11th Jul 2015

Join Rachel Foster from Wiltshire Council's archaeology service, for a guided walk around Cherhill Down, including an exploration of the impressive monument of Oldbury Castle Iron Age Hillfort. The walk will last for approximately 2 hours.
Periods: Prehistory

http://www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk/events/1972
Chance Posted by Chance
8th July 2015ce

Cherhill Down protest grows


Cherhill is a village in North Wiltshire and lies nestled beneath the Cherhill Down, well known for its White Horse and views of the Lansdowne Monument. This landscape is of national significance as recognised by its designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)... continues...
Chance Posted by Chance
17th March 2015ce

White Horse Loses 'Panda' Markings


Black coverings put on parts of an English white horse landmark to advertise a car have been torn down by a protester. A restoration group allowed panda markings to be put on the historic white horse at Cherhill in Wiltshire in return for a donation... continues...
Kozmik_Ken Posted by Kozmik_Ken
19th January 2004ce
Edited 19th January 2004ce

Cherhill White Horse Restoration


Historic horse turns a whiter shade of pale.

Wiltshire landmark, discoloured by erosion and vegetation, restored using 160 tonnes of chalk and 2,000ft of timber... continues...
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
10th September 2002ce
Edited 16th January 2004ce

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Fieldnotes

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Well. What to make of this? I enjoyed the walk from the car park through the strange tree covered earthwork, and it was quite a long way although with excellent views across the national trust landscape, until we reached oldbury hill fort. The earthworks seem quite extensive and interesting. Then into view comes a strange obelisk, which looked to me like something out of HP Lovecraft..perhaps the temple to Dagon? Up close it turned out to be a monument erected by some aristocrat in memory of his ancestor, and it seems like a blot on the landscape of what would otherwise be a very natural landscape. It depends on personal taste I suppose. The monument is now crumbling and in the hands on the NT. We walked around towards the cherhill white horse, it was spectacular views from there across the coombes.
However as someone who lives near Uffington white horse, which is of course far more ancient and significant, there was just no comparison. This is not to say I won't come back as it was very interesting and enjoyable walk up to the site.
Circlemaster Posted by Circlemaster
24th April 2010ce
Edited 24th April 2010ce

The second bright warm day of Spring, I was desperate for a sunlight-downland fix. Met a friend by the Beckhampton roundabout and started our walk from the first layby on the Calne road.
The walk up to Oldbury hillfort on a fine day is just fabulous; a pair of deer ran across a field below - the same scene held Silbury nestled at its centre. I've seen the old Lansdown monument many times from afar, coming upon it through one of the castle ditches gave it a very different perspective.
Cherhill long barrow sits at the highest point, now much damaged it is easy to overlook; where it is positioned is what is so impressive though - panoramic views of the Wiltshire landscape.
I agree with what others have written, it is the view towards the ancient Calstone Coombes that captures the spirit and feels almost like flying - a landscape of undulations and shadows, must be one of the best views in Wiltshire.
Lovely close up of the Cherhill White Horse too.
tjj Posted by tjj
3rd March 2010ce
Edited 3rd March 2010ce

I came up here at the weekend for the first time. It was quite a steep climb for a weed with the sun bearing down, but I certainly felt refreshed at the top because the wind coming over the crest was relentless. And that's what struck me most about this place, that its various sides are quite different. I kept feeling quite disorientated.

There's the side you see from the road, with the horse and the obelisk, and more interestingly, the swoopy undulating dry valleys (one has a very closed entrance making a better manger than at Uffington). But once you're at the top, this side doesn't seem so important. Also the obelisk, which is so overbearing from the road, doesn't even seem in the 'right' place. It points aggressively up to the sky, but your mind isn't on the sky at all now, you're looking out over this enormous view. If no-one's got any objections I suggest we blow it up. It's only commemorating some toff's ancestor and it's falling apart anyway.

Looking to the southwest there are some more intriguing valleys at Calstone Down. I particularly liked that direction. It was fantastically blowy though and I had to sit behind one of the many, many banks and hillocks. It looks so clear on the map, but seems so complex when you're here. I wondered if some of the rounder dips were dewponds. It was lovely though amongst the woolly thistles and the anthills and the harebells. There are lots of windswept hawthorns that add to the atmosphere too. It was warm and I could have fallen asleep.

Walking round to the flat area ouside the banks to the east, I was delighted to spot Silbury Hill, as large as life. If you're on the road you have to wait some distance for a glimpse, but up here (as often happens at such places) everything was starting to fit into place. There was absolutely no-one around now, which was surprising considering the numbers of people over by the obelisk. And now somehow out of the wind, that gave the place a strange air too. I walked along the high banks back to near the horse and sat down for a bit.

I felt like my mind was working very clearly (for once). Maybe being up here in the fresh air, elevated above mundane things, encourages a clarity of mind. I wondered if the prehistoric people that lived up here felt the same. Or perhaps they were indifferent once they were fed up of the draught through their roundhouses. I skittered down the chalk path and back to the road.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th August 2009ce
Edited 25th August 2009ce

Cherhill Down is a place close to my heart -might even get my ashes scattered up here one day - as a landscape its totally weird, those folds of the hills that seem to draw you down into a vortex. The hillfort when visited last November was full of sheep and the day was misty, its part of the Avebury landscape that is thankfully untouchable because of the terrain.
I can see the monument from the downs round Bath, a good 30 kms away, and it is always a reminder of the nearness of the prehistoric settlements round here, Avebury, the Mendips, Cotswolds, Stonehenge and Salisbury Plain. The movement of people through the high lands with the marshy ground below, visiting each other at certain times through the year,, generations of people living in a landscape that provided for them. They melded the land into a place of permanent homestead, from the early beginnings of the causewayed enclosures of Windmill Hill and Nash Hill down to these large defensive iron age hillforts.
Practical facts; 25 acres defended by two banks and ditches, with an inturned entrance on the East. Area enclosed is divided across by a small bank and ditch running N/S (probably not contemporary) Pottery of 2nd/3rd century bc has been found in rubbish pits inside.
moss Posted by moss
25th January 2007ce
Edited 1st May 2008ce

A Perfect View

Just once,
I saw a view that was truly perfect.
Indescribably so.
And yet,
Amidst that choking beauty, I was sad,
For there are no words for me to tell of it.
And yet,
So what! Just go and look on top of Cherhill Down!
nigelswift Posted by nigelswift
3rd February 2003ce

We stopped the car just after we left Avebury on my request when I recognised this landscape and the horse.
I scrambled up to the top of a grassy bank with the video camera and stayed there for a minute or two. That's all - just a minute - and it's 2 years ago and 500 miles away, but Iwant to come back here.
Posted by winterjc
27th November 2001ce

Having driven past so many times it was the perfect day to make the treck. It was in the snow that came around christmas last. Not cloud in the sky and glaringly bright sun.
This must be the top of the world. You feel increadibly small as the obelisk towers above and the land sweeps down beneath you ( it actually made me feel a bit sick, so don't look down if you have vertigo! ). You can see for miles and it gives some perspective on youre place in the world. We wandered around, played in the snow took some increadable photos of the twinkling feilds and then made our retreat with rather more bruises than we came with. A great day, it's a hard one in the snow as it's so steep but well worth it.
Posted by AHAB
24th March 2001ce

Folklore

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Kathleen Wiltshire spoke to an old shepherd who used to keep his flocks on Cherhill Down, in the research for her book 'Ghosts and Legends of the Wiltshire Countryside'.

There is a Roman road behind Oldbury Camp - the one that leads to Silbury Hill.

"The shepherd told me he had seen 'a lot of men a'marchin',' adding, 'they did wear skirts!'. 'WERE they men?' I asked. 'Oh yes, they did have beards, some on 'em, and they wore girt helmets - wi' 'air across the top.. and had a girt bird on a pole a'front on 'em!'"
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th October 2003ce

Miscellaneous

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Oldbury was originally constructed in the Bronze Age as a hill top enclosure with a bank and ditch, though it was enlarged in the Iron Age to form a hillfort. As well as the fort there is a Bronze age bowl barrow which was partially excavated in 1858 - they found a burial urn inverted over burnt bones in a cist, and next to this a flint dagger. To the west there is a 12m wide boundary ditch and banks, which the Listed Monuments record describes as a Bronze Age cross dyke. Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th October 2003ce
Edited 1st May 2008ce

Links

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English Heritage Research News


A little article about recentish surveying of the many earthworks, illustrated by photos and maps. It's no wonder it seems confusing up there.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th August 2009ce

You Tube


Cherhill (and Avebury) feature in aerial shots as part of the KLF's daft 'Doctorin' the Tardis' video.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st May 2008ce
Edited 28th May 2008ce

White Horse Cherhill image


I love this VR image of the White Horse, could have been bit closer but its great anyway
Posted by JRafferty
27th July 2003ce
Edited 30th July 2003ce