Hill forts from Britain’s Iron Age still stand proudly throughout the British countryside. Their vantage points, once used to spot enemies from afar, now offer us superb views of the surrounding landscape.
And among the most impressive of such structures is the fort at Hambledon Hill
in Dorset. Clambering up the side of the mount, it is easy to see how exposed attackers would have been, with the defenders hurling rocks and missiles from above. But the real obstacles lay all around the crown of the hill: the vast earth ramparts. Comprised of high banks, deep ditches and three entrances, these complex gateways would have seemed impregnable.
Climbing through the ramparts, you soon reach a flattened hilltop scattered with depressions, the majority of which mark places where the living huts once stood. The fort was constructed in three phases as the population grew, eventually completed in 50BC.
Intriguingly, there is additional evidence to suggest New Stone Age habitation at Hambledon Hill. A long barrow, or burial mound, built some 5,000 years ago, lies among the Iron Age relics. This ritual site of great importance for our ancestors now makes the perfect picnic spot.
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