I'm not sure of the best place to put this item, not news as such but happened yesterday. This little known hillfort is one of north Wiltshire's 'hidden' ancient places - it lies between Wootton Bassett and Swindon and has some lovely views towards the also little known village of Greenhill. I made my second visit yesterday from a completely different direction to the first time I visited. This time walking from Greenhill, it was uphill across farmland which gave the place much more a sense of being a defensive site. The first time I visited was from Purton where the approach seems generally flat.
It is obviously a favourite place for dog walkers which not many people have a problem with. Yesterday, however, we were approached by a farmer who told us someone had been letting their dog worry the sheep (in the adjacent field). I never fully understood what the term sheep worrying meant - its not pleasant. The dogs when they do it bite the hind quarters of the sheep injuring them badly. This particular farmer had removed the two injured sheep back to a barn for treatment. Its sometimes helpful to hear the farmer's story and the reasons why they are often reluctant to give people (and their dogs) free access.
Visited today; a pleasant walk across north Wiltshire meadows from the village of Purton near Swindon. This hillfort is unlike the other Wiltshire downland hillforts as the landscape is meadowland against the backdrop of Brockurst Wood.
If you are planning a visit - go soon! Just by the north side of the hillfort is Brockhurst Meadow, now owned and managed by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Today there were common and spotted orchids growing in great abundance, along with a profusion of other wild flowers and grasses. A wonderful and unexpected treat as I was unaware of the meadow until today. It is cut in July and then given over to grazing, so don't delay if you want the simple and glorious sight of a wildflower meadow and a peaceful wander around ancient hillfort set in wooodland.
Access to the camp is via a permissive footpath off mud lane in Restrop near Purton. it is An Iron Age multivallate hillfort. What I found unusual about the site was that the northern side of the earthworks was almost completely straight, maybe to impress visitors to the site. The entrance to the east where the farm gate is would appear to be the orignal.
Ringsbury Camp sits on an outcrop of coral rag and has views over the clay plain south towards the Marlborough Downs.
Although the earthworks are from the Iron Age - it's described as a small multivallate hillfort in the scheduled monuments description - neolithic flints have also been found there. Also discovered has been an uninscribed gold coin depicting a disjointed horse and a wheel, probably from the Iron Age. It's thought that the ditches and banks of such hillforts were for showing off your high status as much as for defence, and that the site would have been lived in pretty much full time.
Locally it is said that the camp is 'as old as Stonehenge or Avebury'. The red spotted flints and pebbles which can be found there are splashed with the blood of the Saxons and Danes who fought nearby.
(folklore from 'More Ghosts and Legends of the Wiltshire Countryside' by K Wiltshire: collected from Mr G Harris of Purton in 1975)