Visit to Clearbury Ring – June 2014

Today a group of AVAS members visited Clearbury Ring hillfort, up on the downs between Salisbury and Downton.  One purpose of the visit was to complete a survey for the “Survey of Hillforts” project.  Apart from a footpath around one side of the hillfort, the rest of the site is on private land, and normally out of bounds.  However, Bill had gained permission from the landowner, and so AVAS had privileged access to the whole site.

Walking up to Clearbury

Walking up to Clearbury

We walked up a farm track and entered the hillfort at what was probably the only entrance, near its north west corner.  Walking in a clockwise direction, we soon came to the corner;  the rampart of the hillfort is curiously almost rectangular.  The scale of the rampart is very impressive here;  full use was made of the natural topography of the hill, as there is a marked contrast in height between the interior of the hillfort and the base of the ditch.

A group went off to investigate a scooped feature just outside the ditch, which appeared to be a relatively modern feature.  Walking to the other side of the fort, we took in the impressive views north towards Salisbury (the rampart of Old Sarum was just visible), and east towards Pepperbox Hill.

Looking east from Clearbury Ring

Looking east from Clearbury Ring

Near the south west corner, the roots of a tree had exposed the structure of the rampart, composed of chalk blocks almost certainly quarried from the ditch.

Clearbury Ring - Chalk blocks in rampart

Clearbury Ring – Chalk blocks in rampart

In this corner the size of the rampart was again very impressive.

Clearbury Ring rampart near south west corner

Clearbury Ring rampart near south west corner

We then headed for the field to the south of the hillfort, well known for its orchids.  Although late in the season, Bill found a group of Pyramid Orchids.

Pyramid Orchid at Clearbury Ring

Pyramid Orchid at Clearbury Ring

The view from this spot was amazing, looking out towards the Mizmaze above Breamore, and Whitsbury, the location of another hillfort.

AVAS group photo at Clearbury Ring

AVAS group photo at Clearbury Ring

More photos are available on the AVAS Flickr photostream.  Thanks go to Bill for arranging the trip.

 

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