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Liddington Castle

Hillfort

<b>Liddington Castle</b>Posted by thesweetcheatImage © A. Brookes (9.3.2014)
Also known as:
  • Eorthbyrig

Nearest Town:Swindon (7km WNW)
OS Ref (GB):   SU208798 / Sheet: 174
Latitude:51° 30' 58.34" N
Longitude:   1° 42' 0.75" W

Added by RedBrickDream


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Fieldnotes

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Visited Liddington Castle this afternoon with a group of friends. Although the most visible hillfort in the area (Liddington Hill is a landmark seen from the M4 that lets anyone heading for Wiltshire know they are nearly there) these days it is not the easiest place to get to as the only 'permissive path' heads up to the Ridgeway up from Shipley Bottom layby on the B4192. In the days of Richard Jefferies the route by foot was probably uphill from the village of Badbury. Liddington Castle at 909 feet is the highest point in the Borough of Swindon.

A memorial to local writers Richard Jefferies and Alfred Williams set on a large sandstone rock at Liddington Castle, dated 2000 to mark the Millennium it has these words by Richard Jefferies set on a plaque "I felt immortality as I felt the beauty of a summer morning"
A place much loved by both writers particularly Richard Jefferies - Alfred Williams wrote these lines for Richard Jefferies who died in 1887 at the age of 39, ten years after Alfred Williams was born in 1877 (who died 1930). They did not know each as some people believe:

"Of times on Liddington's bare peak I love to think and lie,
And muse upon the former day and ancient things gone by,
To pace the old castellum walls and peer into the past
To learn the secret of the hills, and know myself at last,
To woo Dick Jefferies from his dreams on sorrow's pillow tossed
And walk with him upon the ridge, and pacify his ghost."

(Poem courtesy of Wysefool).
tjj Posted by tjj
24th July 2010ce
Edited 24th July 2010ce

I loved this place, though I don't especially know why.

It felt very isolated, mostly explained by not being actually ON the Ridgeway or any public right of way, and I saw no one else there, despite staying for a while.

The path starts at the B4192 at SU218804. After climbing the hill you are directed around the side of a field on a permitted path.

The strange thing is that from the M4 Liddington looks quite nearby. The view north is dominated by urban sprawl of Swindon, and the new hospital was going up, which totally dominated the view. It must do so even more now it's finished.

I wouldn't have minded so much if I could have seen the County Ground...

There is a plaque at the north-eastern entrance, which reads:

"LIDDINGTON HILL
THE HILL LOVED OF
RICHARD JEFFRIES
AND
ALFRED WILLIAMS"

It's probably just as well they can't see the view now...
Cursuswalker Posted by Cursuswalker
28th January 2004ce
Edited 28th January 2004ce

A three hour walk north along the Ridgeway from Avebury brings you to the edge of the Marlborough Downs and the foot of Liddington Hill. Liddington Castle Hillfort will be a familiar landmark to many as it is visible to the south of the M4 motorway between junctions 15 and 16. At 3 hectares it is somewaht smaller than the nearby Barbury Castle (4.7 hectares) and has only one ditch rather than two. It is however considerably quieter, is about 50 foot higher and offers better views of the Marlborough Downs than Barbury. An entrance at the south east is defined by a few half buried sarsens. Pottery from the early Iron Age has been found here and on the northern escarpment are some neolithic flint mines.

Walking up the hill from the Ridgeway the flint mines are encountered after a couple of minutes and mole hills regularly bring flint waste to the surface.

This visit (31/12/02) was my first time here for about 20 years. The erosion to the site is noticeable as is the vandalism to the Triangulation Point which used to double up as a memorial to local writer Richard Jefferies. Jefferies famously came up here to write. Despite the proximity of the motorway and onward march of Swindon (the settlement and not, unfortunately, the football club) this remains a fine spot for quiet contemplation.

***

My 7 year old son got very confused here. As we walked up to the castle I recounted the story of King Arthur's victory here in the battle of Mons Badonicus. On spotting a memorial gate to Harry King (1910-1995) "who loved to walk on Liddington" my son quite justifiably asked why King Arthur didn't have a gate but King, Harry did.
RedBrickDream Posted by RedBrickDream
2nd January 2003ce
Edited 3rd January 2003ce

Miscellaneous

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Of times on Liddington's bare peak I love to think and lie,
And muse upon the former day and ancient things gone by,
To pace the old castellum walls and peer into the past,
To learn the secret of the hills, and know myself at last,
To woo Dick Jefferies from his dreams on sorrow's pillow tossed,
And walk with him upon the ridge, and pacify his ghost.

Alfred Williams (local poet and friend of Richard Jefferies)
wysefool Posted by wysefool
9th February 2007ce

Links

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Liddington castle video on youtube


A short video i produced about Liddington, you may not agree with my theory, but a nice video all the same!
wickerman Posted by wickerman
25th April 2009ce

Swindon Web


Good information on Alfred Williams, lover of Liddington
wysefool Posted by wysefool
27th September 2007ce

GeoPhysical details of Liddington


old B+W photo of Liddington. Research into habitation and structures inside hillforts and how different hillforts performed different functions. The interior of Liddington appears to have had a single roundhouse in the middle of it.
wysefool Posted by wysefool
23rd March 2007ce

Evans Experientialism


Richard Jefferies wrote about Liddington Castle in his 'Story of My Heart' - and you may concur with his sentiments.

"By the time I had reached the summit I had entirely forgotten the petty circumstances and the annoyances of existence. I felt myself, myself."
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th October 2005ce