Chiselbury Hillfort

Visibility was poor when we visited Chiselbury on Tuesday 6th December but this did not stop us from getting to grips with this interesting hillslope Iron Age Hill fort, aided as we were by the commentaries and plans of antiquarians and archaeologists from Stukely and Colt Hoare to Heywood Sumner. We had permission from the landowner to roam across the entire site and took full advantage of this to explore the site and its associated features; for Chiselbury actually contains evidence from four distinct eras. The cross-dyke which, as it’s name suggests, crosses the ridge at right angles, in a very self-conscious act of territorial demarcation, and is probably Late Bronze age in date. Then comes the Iron Age hillfort and its now ploughed out D shaped entrance which dominates the ridge and the small promontory that juts out from it. From then we fast forward to the current drove road which was no doubt used in the medieval period as a much drier and easier route between Salisbury and Shaftesbury than the valley below could afford. The drove road cuts through the cross-dyke and by the 18th century was adorned with stone milestones, visually identified from afar by the planting of a tree next to each one. This observation, by Stukely, suggests that elsewhere along the drove road there were none of the trees and bushes that today line the route on both sides. Finally, the scheduled area also includes the below ground remains of a 19th century toll house from the days when this stretch of the drove was turnpiked. It is today a BOAT (Bridleway open to all traffic) and is maintained by Wiltshire CC. Although longer, the drove road affords a more level and easier approach to the site than the steep climb up past the Fovant badges.

DOWNLAOD the Chiselbury Camp Hillfort Handout

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