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

Howden Hill (Yorkshire)

Sacred Hill


I'm not at all sure if I agree with Julian’s sacred hill theories, and his choice of hills that he feels might have been of significance to prehistoric man seems rather arbitrary at times. It seems to me that pretty much any hill could have been seen as special to the local inhabitants, as could any river, lake, valley or any other landscape feature, but in the spirit of investigation and with an open(ish) mind I decided to pay a visit to Blakey Topping and Howden Hill.
Howden is easily reached from the village of East Ayton by a road travelling north through the picturesque Forge Valley and Scarwell Woods which line the edges of the River Derwent. Due to the number and size of the hills in this area Howden doesn’t come into view until you round the corner just before the bridge at Langdale End when suddenly *bang* it’s right there in yer face. The effect was the same as when I visited Avebury last year after not having been there for several years and I had forgotten the way that Silbury suddenly leaps out at you as you head west past Waden Hill. Perhaps the old man is on to something after all.
I didn’t attempt to climb the hill as I had already read Porkbeasts notes plus I was short of time as usual - anyway it looked one hell of a climb. The conical effect is only seen from the south/southeast as once you move round to the west the spine becomes apparent which diminishes the visual impact. It’s still a beautiful hill though and as Julian says it is set in a faerie landscape. Whether I think it was a ‘sacred’ hill or not, well the jury is still out on that one I’m afraid – maybe I needed to climb it for a full appreciation.
Chris Collyer Posted by Chris Collyer
13th July 2003ce
Edited 13th July 2003ce

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