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Fosbury Camp



What a surprise this was... marvellous. Needing somewhere else to spend a few hours following a morning at Tow Barrow, Fosbury seemed to fit the bill nicely, judging by the 1:50K OS map. But reality often has a way of not living up to expectations, doesn't it? Not in this instance... Fosbury is very much a case of 'Ding dong!'... as the great Leslie Phillips might very well have said if he ever came here.... or even a 'Blimeus' uttered by a R*man legionnary tasked with storming the ramparts.

After negotiating the maze of minor roads which criss-cross the area, I finally ascend from the east, near the Vernham Dean junction. To be honest I find it quite a slog in the heat of this sultry early afternoon, cloud beginning to roll in behind the morning's pristine blue skies. It is worth it since, upon arrival, the scale of the inner rampart is immediately apparent... much larger than I expected. The circumference is impressive in scope, too, the bivallate defences protecting what must clearly have been an extensive settlement in its day. Hell, yeah. According to the map the northern arc of the site is within foliage, investigation proving this to be correct. In fact the trees are some of the oldest, most handsome specimens I've seen in a long while, root systems encompassing the bank in a strangely beguiling manner. Then again I always did like woodland - feel at home in it .... perhaps the vestiges of some long held folk memory we all possess? Perhaps. Its then a little disappointing to find that appalling creation barbed wire in evidence in places.

For me, the most impressive ramparts are upon the south western arc, these also boasting a superb view down into the valley of Hippenscombe. Nice. However the main entrance to the hillfort is, so it would seem, at the east, a typical affair of inturned parallel banks. I wouldn't be at all surprised if a nearby pond is an original feature specifically incorporated within the enclosure? Perhaps its just a reflection of my psyche today, but I reckon Fosbury has a 'special' aura about it, something that's heightened by the section of woodland. I glance at one of the massive trees and note a prominent piece of graffitti carved in the bark... 'Ha! Guy... unusual name for these parts. Then again it was the name of the leader of The Dambusters, so it was', I ponder. Suddenly - I kid you not - there is a low, deep roar as a World War 2 Avro Lancaster makes its way slowly up the valley.. the very type of aircraft the Dambusters flew, of course. I stand gobsmacked, for I am in the middle of reading the book. But then again, this IS Fosbury.
4th September 2010ce
Edited 4th September 2010ce

Comments (2)

It is a massive hillfort isn't it, and I've climbed a few. It is easy to sit on the ramparts looking down over the steep valley of Hippenscombe and appreciate the briliant defensive quality of Fosbury.

The wooded bit with the enormous beech tree adds much to the atmosphere of the place; your story about the Lancaster reminded me of the first time I saw the Polisher stone on Fyfield Down ... the Red Arrows flew over.
tjj Posted by tjj
4th September 2010ce
To be honest it was your recent photos which put the Fosbury thought in my mind... but that's what this site is all about, isn't it? Inspiration and new experiences leading to discussion

I've just read Chance's fieldnotes and there really is a lot more to Fosbury than meets the eye.. I know it was coming up to Bank Holiday (airshows etc), but that Lancaster timing was most bizarre... I've only seen it once before, as far as I can recall.... and one of my friends had given me - for some reason - Guy Gibson's 'Enemy Coast Ahead'.

4th September 2010ce
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