The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Eggardon Hill



Don't you find it interesting when something that strikes you about a site isn't mentioned at all in other people's fieldnotes. For me, one of the things here is the Dorset coast stretching out into the distance. Maybe that's because I've spent 95% of my life a long way from the sea, so I enjoy it more when I see it. But for me it gave the massive view a bit of a focus and more of a sense of distance. We'd been down on the weird Chesil Beach earlier (with its curiously sorted pebbles, pea size at West Bay, potato size at Portland, said the notice) and bits were still dropping out of my pockets when we got up here on the hill. I wondered what the prehistoric inhabitants would have thought. You couldn't live this near the sea and not eat fish now and again. The view completely distracted me from the slope below (I didn't realise its suicidal steepness until we were driving back down and I saw it from afar). It's got a rather similar feel to Westbury with its dry chalk undulations.

The other thing that really grabbed me was something you can only see from the northwest point of the fort. It's a line of rocks sticking out from the hillside ahead. It's a curious looking thing, I mean obviously it's some strata of harder rocks, but it's strange, a ledge jutting out from the smooth slope. I felt certain it should have a name, and looking on the map afterwards I see it does: Bell Stone. oh how there must be / must have been a story to go with it. John Curtis has a photo as I saw it from the hill on Panoramio; also a close up here.

Also I was interested to notice a bronze age barrow (cut in quarters like a currant bun by some treasure hunter no doubt) - it was interesting to think it was preserved by the later builders of the fort. And speaking of barrows, there's what I took to be a massive disc barrow next to the road - obvious enough to draw the eye.

Practicalities: the turnings off the A35 are tiny and easy to miss but we came off at Askerswell and parked at the top of the hill in a sort of decently offroad council-approved spot at SY549948. Then you can walk in a level straight line across a couple of fields (hopping the stiles) to end up at the original entrance to the fort. You do have to climb up a bit to get in though - as if the almost encircling slopes weren't enough defence. And there are some lovely brownish sheep up there at the moment, with curly horns, I suppose they are looking after the chalk grassland for the National Trust.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd September 2012ce
Edited 24th September 2012ce

Comments (1)

Chesil beach is a really good place, it should be on here as a natural feature, and that is a very big barrow is it not, easily seen as a henge. postman Posted by postman
23rd September 2012ce
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