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Capler Camp (Hillfort) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Capler Camp</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Cherry Hill Camp (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Cherry Hill Camp</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Aconbury (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Aconbury</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Capler Camp (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 12 August 2017.

After last weekend's unplanned spontaneous trip to British Camp in the Malverns, this weekend I have a plan. And it's a cunning plan, so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a fox, etc. Anyway, I'm off to Fownhope, a little village on the banks of the River Wye towards the south of Herefordshire.

As well as two pubs (one called the Green Man), a shop and fine church with slightly twisty spire and a Norman tympanum carved with a toothy winged lion, Fownhope sits between two wooded Herefordshire hillforts. I have three hours to visit them both. That's the plan.

Things start promisingly, the sun has come out and the bus from Hereford drops me off on time. I've decided to visit Capler Camp first, on the basis that it looks less likely to be an overgrown slog and also it's further away than Cherry Hill, which is right next to the village, so will help gauge the time I have better. A fairly straight minor road leads from Fownhope church towards Capler. I've anticipated a slow climb followed by a steep bit at the end, but that's because I haven't read the map properly and don't realise that the whole way is a succession of up and down hill bits, guaranteed to tire out of practice legs before I even arrive at the proper hill. The first of these ridges does at least give a nice view of both forts from about halfway between them.

A buzzard flies over the tractor throwing up dust in the nearby fields, sheep are cajoled and corralled at Rise Farm, and I realise that there is a good view of Aconbury, another of Hereford's fine hillforts.

Passing Capler Cottages marks the start of the steep section of the road, but a slightly overgrown track beckons invitingly off to the left, promising a less direct and more zig-zag route up to the fort. It proves a good choice, quite dry despite the ridiculously wet summer, and far less steep than the road would have been. It emerges near the top of the footpath to the south of the fort.

From here I head to the ramparts. The fort is in two distinct halves, the western side covered in trees, the eastern side an open field. I head west, into the trees.

It's not a good time of year to visit wooded hillforts, brambles make the earthworks difficult to access and the thick canopy makes photography frustrating. Nevertheless, getting round this fort is easy enough as a wide swathe has been cleared inside the perimeter of the inner rampart, and a broad track follows what would have been a ditch between the inner and outer defences. The defences are strongest on the south, two lines of earthworks making up for the relatively shallow gradient compared to the west end and north side. It's very pleasant under the trees and on reaching the north side I drop down from the inner rampart to the track below.

On the north side the natural steepness does all the work, and the track is a good three metres or more below the inner rampart. Some of the trees that mark the outer "bank" here are towering, one is a venerable beech that wouldn't be out of place on the chalk Downs or limestone scarps to the southeast. The woods are an attractive deciduous mix, not the dense conifers of recent forestry plantations, but an older woodland that feels right on this hilltop.

At length I come round towards the eastern end. Climbing the inner bank brings me out into the open half of the fort. I'm somewhat surprised to find a tall post, carved to the effect that this is an Iron Age hillfort. It turns out that this is the end of a succession of similar posts marking a permissive path up from the picnic area on the road to the south. The interior is lovely, the inside of the southern rampart is rich with harebells. From here the view stretches south and east. I'm not in the slightest surprised to see the ever-present shape of May Hill, while the vista to the south is filled with the dark mass of the Forest of Dean, over the border in Gloucestershire. To the southwest the edge of the Black Mountains is visible. This is a great spot, and I end up sitting here for a while in the summer sunshine.

Finally leaving through the eastern entrance, past a lovely old stone barn and a neat cottage, I follow the Wye Valley Walk footpath along the outer rampart. It's a good hillfort this, not perhaps in the front rank of Herefordshire examples like Wapley Hill and British Camp, but a very decent site nonetheless.

Reluctant to leave, I take a final turn around the wooded half of the interior, before heading south back to the road. A little picnic area gives glimpses of the Wye sparkling in the sunshine below, living up to its picturesque billing. I follow the road down, noticing the steepness and also how many cars seem to be driving up and down this narrow lane, from nowhere to somewhere or back again.

The extended stay has wiped out the time I have left, and Cherry Hill will have to wait after all. A Spring visit would be better anyway I reckon. The best thing about a cunning plan is how easily it can be abandoned or reshaped, and this one will easily bear a bit of reshaping.

King Stone cairn (Round Cairn) — Images

<b>King Stone cairn</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

British Camp (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 5.8.2017.

Three and a bit years on since my last visit, which was a claggy Easter day with visibility truncated by hazy mistiness. No such problems today, a rolling front of thunder has pushed its way up from the Black Mountains across Herefordshire, and the skies are clear and views are long in its wake.

No plan, just an entirely spontaneous diversion, jumping off a train at Hereford and catching a bus at Ledbury to emerge at the foot of the hill as the rain carries on to soak Worcester.

I decide to follow the lower rampart round the west side of the fort, which gives a great view of the ranks of earthworks climbing the flanks of the hillside, as well as beautiful unfolding panorama of Herefordshire. When I first came here in 2009, I hadn't explored the Black Mountains, or Radnor Forest, and my memories of the Clee Hills were from my childhood. All of these are in clear view today, as well as the Cotswolds escarpment to the southeast, Bredon Hill to the east and the ridiculously ubiquitous May Hill to the south. Three English counties and quite a bit of Wales to admire then.

In the years since that first visit I have come to recognise these distant hills, and the Malverns ridge is the common landmark visible from where I grew up and where I live now. The fort itself overawed me when I first came, and this third visit does nothing to diminish the impression of what must be one of the finest hillforts in these islands. The presence of other visitors, tiny specks against the serried rows of banks and ditches, serves only to enhance the sense of wonder.

I spend an hour walking the perimeter and up to the top, before reluctantly deciding to continue my broken journey. The thunderheads have broken over Worcester, and magnificent rainbows over Bredon and Cleeve Hill will follow later. Sometimes England is really very lovely.

British Camp (Hillfort) — Images

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Kemerton Camp (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Kemerton Camp</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Graig Lwyd (Ancient Mine / Quarry) — Images

<b>Graig Lwyd</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Bwrdd Arthur (Llanddona) (Hillfort) — Images

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Glyn (Burial Chamber) — Images

<b>Glyn</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Glyn</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Glyn</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Glyn</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Glyn</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Glyn</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Glyn</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Pant-y-Saer (Burial Chamber) — Images

<b>Pant-y-Saer</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Pant-y-Saer</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Pant-y-Saer</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Pant-y-Saer</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Pant-y-Saer</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Bwrdd Arthur (Llanddona) (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Bwrdd Arthur (Llanddona)</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Dinas (Llaneugrad) (Promontory Fort) — Images

<b>Dinas (Llaneugrad)</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Dinas (Llaneugrad)</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Din Lligwy (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Images

<b>Din Lligwy</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Din Lligwy</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Din Lligwy</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Lligwy (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

<b>Lligwy</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Lligwy</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Lligwy</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Lligwy</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Lligwy</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Lligwy</b>Posted by thesweetcheat

Benllech (Burial Chamber) — Miscellaneous

The Gwynedd Archaeological Trust record has more information. The site appears to be in someone's garden:
The small megalithic burial chamber (SH 51908275) at Benllech was excavated on behalf of the MOW in March 1965. It was previously unrecorded and was revealed when new sewers were dug nearby and the site cleared for the erection of a bungalow.

No prehistoric finds were made and the only reason for regarding the main chamber as a prehistoric burial chamber is its structure, which is comparable with the Lligwy and Glyn burial chambers. The annexe and field wall are relatively modern.

Not entirely convincing small low 'burial' chamber. Capstone perforated (natural limestone pavement). Now in garden of Drws y Nant and in built up area. Capstone supported by uprights and blocks at west side and by recent concreted pillars at east. Stands on gently sloping hillside above the coast. 2 large orthostats - one 2.2 x 1.2m stand just to south. Cadw recently reclassified this as a 'goose house' after F Lynch - this doesn't seem to be a prehistoric monument as it stands - the chamber is very low and could not have been deeper because it stands on bedrock. This could have been disturbed at the time of the sewer construction - a considerable depth of bedrock would have been removed.
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"The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal. Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits. These are for the seeking, and those who seek and find while there is still time will be blessed both in mind and body." Alfred Wainwright

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