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

Castle Ring (Ratlinghope)



North of Ratlinghope, is a not even a hamlet called Stitt, there are just two farms, walk east on the road that is prohibited to motorists, pass two lakes, At the big trees ascend gently sloping hill passing the large spread out barrow en route, carry on up the hill, jump one fence and the fort is before you.

I've been to many hill forts, but this one was a bit weird, some say that not all forts are forts but rather defensible enclosures, this could be one of them.
I've heard it said that it's a mere cattle enclosure, but if that were true why would it be on the top of a hill, surely it would make more sense to have it lower down, hidden in a low valley or something instead of advertising your big herd on top of the hill. Or was cattle rustling a big thing in the iron age, i'm guessing it might be. Perhaps it is an unfinished fort ?
Anyway, what ever its use, it is there, it is old, and you can go and have a look. The incomplete ring is as i've said at the top of a hill, the very big
gap faces south, out over the edge of the steepest ascent up to the enclosure, it isn't an entrance it's just a huge wide weird gap. The best possible entrance is on the other side, facing the barrow, north east, but it's not a very convincing entrance.
On the south side is what looks like a hut circle, or more precisely a double hut square, shepherds quarters ? in fact the more i've thought about it the more it cant be a fort, but where did the people live, inside the enclosure with the animals, or elsewhere ? Why show off your animal wealth up there for all to see, or is that point.
Weird place.
No views today, no Stiperstone ridge, no nothing, visibility only goes as far as Cothercott hill and it's barrow, if time permits a quick look could be in order, and it is, was.
postman Posted by postman
4th November 2013ce
Edited 4th November 2013ce

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