Sunday, 17 July 2011

One fort is never enough.

Not exactly raining today but looking as if it might do so. Nothing daunted, pack the waterproofs and venture into Dorset and to Hod Hill near Blandford Forum.

Make no mistake this is a STEEP climb up and I'm gasping long before we reach the top - also keeping a wary eye on the young bullocks in the field - they have some fearsome looking horns but mercifully take no interest at all in me.

This is a large fort - Roman at one end and Iron Age at the other. The Roman's captured the fort from the local tribe and unusually reused it themselves. Seeing the extent of the fortifications who can blame them. The amount of labour that must have gone into digging the ditches is incredible ( the cows to the left give a degree of scale)

This is the Iron Age end  - there are the remains of over 2500 round houses so it would have been a sizeable settlement for the Durotriges. The site dates from around 500BCE before it was taken by the Romans in 44CE.

Getting close to lunch time now so a trip to nearby   Child Okeford and the Bakers Arms for a snack lunch in the pub garden. I'm told the beer was excellent but unfortunately we were driving....

So close so it seemed a shame not to visit Hambledon Hill fort which is very close by.
Another steep climb up and more young bullocks - these were older and had even more fearsome looking horns!

The fort comes into view long before you get there so it does provide some incentive for the climb. 

This fort is originally neolithic - radiocarbon dating places it at around 2850BCE in places although it must have been added too over the centuries. There are a couple of long barrows on the top.
Neither site has been ploughed or farmed in the interim and both are covered with an array of chalk lovng plants. As SSRIs they are protected and maintained by light grazing  - plenty of evidence that cows graze there!
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