Showing posts from February, 2023

A Hillfort Near You

Hillforts pepper our hills, maybe around four thousand across the country. At least we  have called them hillforts. But are they? It seems that they not always on hills and probably not usually forts. The label was pinned on them by Sir Mortimer Wheeler, one of the most revered pre-history pundits of the 20th century and a former Brigadier in the Army so he might just have seen what he was programmed to see!  Sir Mortimer Wheeler Gandalf in the City?   In my own search for a sound basis for generalisation, I drew on lots of visits, slogged my way through a fat tome on hillforts generally, waded through archaeology papers in the British Library, scaled a mound of local landscape history books and tiptoed into the prehistory nerd websites. After all that, they remained inscrutable.  Some do seem to have seen conflicts. We are confident that Cadbury in Dorset saw battles with the Romans.  Others were clearly built with defence in mind, for instance by adding additional fortifications at t

Calleva and the Devil's Highway

  GPX File of Route :   Calleva This is a tour of the Berkshire countryside which starts from Theale Station and ends up at Twyford Station, further down the line to Paddington. It links places in the valleys of the Kennet, Loddon and Blackwater but a major focus is the visit to Roman Silchester. It starts off on the towpath of the canalised River Kennet (NCR 4) but after that follows minor roads through green, rolling mixed farming country to Aldermaston, Silchester and eastwards. The exception being a rather tedious stretch through Winnersh on the home straight.   Zoom In The standout attraction is Roman Silchester. In my ‘umble opinion only Hadrian’s wall rivals the scale of these visible remains in the UK. The bucolic Kennet towpath. The Duke of Wellington’s Estate at Stratfield Saye, you need to pay to get in. A rather good Nature Reserve & Cafe at Dinton Pastures The odd oddity. On the debit side, you probab