on a blustery but sunny day I travelled to visit High Rocks for the first time. I had know about the place since going to see British Sea Power there last year, but had never seen it up close nor in daylight.
as we approached the site I was struck by the size of the rocks, just sitting there majestically on the top of the hill, seemingly out of place with the surrounding environs.
after paying to enter ( I like to be honest about these things, and did get to see the groom from the wedding party in top hat and platform boots! ) the girlfriend and I entered through the rusty gates, then spent the next hour exploring this peaceful place.
the giant rocks cast a magical spell over this part of kent, with the potential for massive enjoyment for the smaller members of the HH crowd! there are caves and crevises, trees and plants, rope swings, climbable rocks and mostly, the peace and tranquility of an english countryside that is fast disappearing.
truly, this place is special, and I will be visiting again, next time with the kids
Just off a minor road linking the village of Groombridge (and the B2110) with Royal Tunbridge Wells (and the A264 and A26)
Arrived at this site just after sunset on the way back to West Sussex after a look at the Addington/ Chestnuts Longbarrow and Coldrum.
We sneaked in through the open turnstile (You are supposed to pay £2 at the bar of the High Rocks Hotel to view the site, but as it was nearly dark we thought this wasn't good value!)
These certainly are some huge and impressive rock formations, overhangs and caves, and all the more atmospheric in the failing light. I thought I had seen some big old sarsens at Coldrum earlier in the day, but these great natural forms are giants compared to those.
Excavations in 1954 and 1956 revealed a range of microlith (small flint tool) types and flint knapping debris apparently associated with areas of charcoal and fire cracked flint. These are presumably the remains of fires or hearths, though whether they were contained in an independent structure, or whether the overhang itself provided enough protection is unclear. High Rocks has been carbon dated to around 4500BC, quite late in the Mesolithic. Nothing of the Mesolithic levels themselves can be seen, but you can get a good idea of the nature of the rock shelters that nestle at the base of the cliff.
The overhangs apparently provided shelter for a variety of Neolithic and Bronze Age hunting parties as well.
You can walk through the fissures in the rocks, and then ascend one of the rock cut stairways to traverse the top of the cliff over rickety looking wooden bridges. There is an Iron Age enclosure/ hill fort on top of the escarpment, but we didn't check that out this trip.
We thought we'd be clever and get back to the car park without going through the main gate, but soon discovered that they have done a pretty good job of fencing in the site, so if you go in the day you may well have to get your £2 out I am afraid!