Places.

Little Doward Hill Fort.

 

Little Doward Hill Fort.
Little Doward Hill Fort.

 

I expect that we have all read the short descriptions and tourist brochure type information packets about Little Doward Hill fort  and other local hill forts in general but it is unusual to come across a detailed report and the history of this, one of the largest hill forts in the country. So if the two or three paragraph potted history versions are just a taster for you, then I suggest that you read this research document by English Heritage.

http://research.historicengland.org.uk/redirect.aspx?id=5804%7CLittle%20Doward,%20Ganarew,%20Herefordshire:%20Analytical%20Earthwork%20Survey%20of%20the%20Hillfort%20and%20Rapid%20Landscape%20Investigation

Until this report we knew little other than it was certainly an iron age fortified dwelling place and even used by the Romans.

Earliest written evidence is made by Richard of Monmouth in his 12th century book History of the  Kings of Britain in which he mentions our Hill and the surrounding area as being part of the ancient tribal kingdom of Ercing. He tells how, if you can believe his over  romanticised, or sometimes completely fanaticised versions of our history, how, much earlier, it was Vortiern’s final stronghold before his defeat at the hands of Aurelius Ambrosius in a nearby battle in the year 441.

In more recent centuries Little Doward Hill was common land until it was purchased by Richard Blakemore in 1820 who duly cleared the land of several cottages, their occupants and presumesbly their livelihoods as well, then, in complete ignorance or with wilful disdain to its historical values, he did so much damage to the archaeology in his attempts to turn it into an early ‘theme’ park with deer, walks and what must have been enchanting carriage rides and splendid views from his newly constructed but incongruous iron tower with viewing platform.

 Eventually Blakemore ran out of money and died. Soon after and the hill was sold a couple of times and a plantation of conifers grew to obscured the site almost completely until it was cleared in 2008 by the present owners, 

The Woodland Trust now owns the site and manages it in conjunction with the Forestry Commission and the Wye valley AONB.

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