Rawlsbury is magnificent and affords spectacular views is all directions from it's highest point.
This place isn't just about the views though, the earthworks still retain their power and would have made any unwelcome visitors have to work extremely hard if they wanted to gain access, not least because of the climb up, which is approaching vertical in places.
Today it's windy, very windy, especially here on the exposed height of Rawlsbury. My view is of the farmland below, the Stour, hundreds of sheep, field after field after field, squared off with fences and walls and small tracks and roads. Once inside the enclosure it feels much calmer, away from the howling wind, much more sheltered from the elements.
From here the other hills are neighbours, permanent fixtures on the horizon, everything else is far below, moving in a different time zone, a different world entirely.
Another trip to this out of the way hillfort, it's had a lot of scrub and brambles cleared from the western banks and ditches. The entrance to the fort is more complicated than I remembered, it may not of course be the original, but does look like it.
Once again there were no other people on the hill, not even the sheep are here now, just a lot rabbits and magpies for some reason.
A beautiful sunny afternoon in winter (12/03/2007).This high Dorset hillfort is populated by myself , one other person and about thirty sheep.This is about the tenth time I have visited this remote hillfort , I am always amazed at the views , about thirty miles north,west and south. It's strategic position in the landscape is as obvious now as it must have been in the iron age.It's a medium sized (in Dorset terms) mutivallate typical Durotrigian fort roughly triangular in shape.It is split into two halves by a fence, the southern half looks like it may have been ploughed at some stage.
Rawlsbury (900ft above sea level) is the second highest hill fort in Dorset being surpassed only by Pilsdon Pen (970ft). It is superbly sited and on a clear day there is a sweep of country all around which in sheer beauty can scarcely be surpassed in all England. Before you lie the Purbeck Hills running down to the sea, the great heath, the glorious fertile Vale of Blackmore running across to Somerset, and Glastonbury Tor. All this can be seen on one side whilst to the other the hill top town of Shaftesbury, the mid-Dorset downs and far away Hampshire and the Isle of Wight can be seen. Truly a place worth visiting for the view alone. This fort must have been well nigh impregnable but as it has never been excavated we do not know if it fell to Vespasian. Certainly from Hod and Hambledon Vespasian must have seen Rawlsbury very clearly and is unlikely to have left so powerful a fort uncaptured on his flank.
'Exploring Ancient Dorset' by George Osborn, 1976.