SP9207 : Cholesbury Camp (1) - Shallow external ditch at SW

taken 4 years ago, near to Cholesbury, Buckinghamshire, Great Britain

Cholesbury Camp (1) - Shallow external ditch at SW
Cholesbury Camp (1) - Shallow external ditch at SW
The remains of the outer of the two ditches of the earthworks at Cholesbury Camp is much shallower and wider (and less well preserved) than the internal one. This view is from just off the SP9207 : Path to St Laurence's church, Cholesbury at the start of the circuit (clockwise).
Next image SP9207 : Cholesbury Camp (2) - Outer ditch western side
Cholesbury Camp - Iron Age Fort
Cholesbury Camp is the remains of a multivallate hillfort constructed in the Iron Age some time between the C6th BC and mid C1st AD (The Romans arriving in AD43 brought the Iron Age to an end in England). Archaeological excavations of the central enclosure have found evidence dating back to at least the middle of this period, the Middle Iron Age (c.300-100BC) making the remains over 2000 years old.
A "hillfort" is a fortified enclosure located on a hill (rather than a stone fort) - and "multivallate" means that its defences include two or more lines of concentric earthworks in the form of banks and ditches.
The site at Cholesbury is an approximate oval with the long axis (c.310m) running southwest / northeast, and the perpendicular shorter axis being about 230m. It encloses an area of about 14 acres (5.7ha) with a perimeter of 935m. It is considered one of the most visually impressive prehistoric settlements in the Chilterns.
The ditches remain in good (but variable) condition for about three quarters of the circuit from the southwest where they join the pathway to St Laurence's Church clockwise for 270 around the enclosure, within which now sits the church. The final quarter of the oval is made up of a footpath across a field, a short track beside the Village Hall and then public roads back to the church. It is possible that this southern quarter was never fully constructed, though some remnant earthworks have been found in the gardens of the modern houses which are now in this section (see EH listing linked below for more information).
The inner of the two ditches is far better preserved than the outer one, being both deeper and narrower. For most of the circuit only the inner ditch remains (or was ever constructed) between two high banks studded with trees, mostly beech. From the northernmost point clockwise the pathway deteriorates somewhat and holly encroaches upon the path. Finally the ditches come to an abrupt end at the fenced perimeter of a modern garden (of a house called The Bury). The footpath then has to be found to enter the enclosure via a stile, then cross a small paddock to another stile. The church of St Laurence comes into view (but with no access to its grounds from here) and keeping left of it a gate leads into a track that runs down to Cholesbury Lane (the main road through the village) beside the Village Hall. Following this lane to the right then taking Parrott's Lane off to the right brings the walker back to the start by the church drive.
The whole area is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and there is a detailed EH listing for it here LinkExternal link
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SP9207, 42 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Sunday, 29 September, 2013   (more nearby)
Monday, 30 September, 2013
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Woodland, Forest 
Place (from Tags)
Period (from Tags)
Iron Age 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 9286 0716 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:45.3265N 0:39.3650W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 9287 0714
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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Image classification(about): Geograph
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