Itinerary Category: general
The most noticeable remains of the Iron Age in Shropshire are the hillforts that are situated around the county. There are 50 known sites in the county. Bronze Age evidence has been found within some of them but the structures themselves are ultimately the work of Iron Age man. Hillforts were usually positioned to take defensive advantage of the landscape and as such are often found on the top of hills, hence the name. This tour takes in just 4 of the better known forts but there are plenty more to discover for yourself in Shropshire.
Suggested by: Miriam Ellison of New House Farm, Clun
Bury Ditches – 2hrs
The most noticeable remains of the Iron Age in Shropshire are the hillforts that are situated around the county. There are 50 known sites in the County. Bronze Age evidence has been found within some of them but the structures themselves are ultimately the work of Iron Age man. Hillforts were usually positioned to take defensive advantage of the landscape and as such are often found on the top of hills, hence the name. They consist of fortified enclosures surrounded by banks and ditches. Bury Ditches Hillfort is one of the best preserved in the Country and dates from about 500BC. Legend has it that the site contains a pot of fairy gold, attached to a thread of gold wire that will lead you to its hiding place. Enjoy panoramic views of Clun, Black Hill, Radnor Forest, Clee Hill and Long Mynd
Caer din Ring Hillfort – 1hrs
Caer Din Ring near Clun sits on the summit of a hill that has gentle slopes falling to the north and east with steeper slopes to the south and west. The ring is roughly square in plan and consists of a single earthen bank and ditch. It has been badly damaged by ploughing.
Caer Caradoc Hillfort – 1hrs
Caer Caradoc is an impressive 900ft hill that is just east of the Long Mynd and dominates the beautiful South Shropshire countryside and landscape. It is ideal for those who like walking in areas with panoramic views and there is a marked walking route to the summit. Although not high, a hill-fort was established at the top, possibly during the Roman period. Its defences follow the natural line of the hill and was a stronghold of a pre-Roman tribe; it is also possibly the site of the final stand of Caratacus against Ostorius Scapula, the Roman General.
Croft Ambrey Hillfort – 2hrs
Close to Croft Castle this hillfort is thought to have been established circa 550 B.C. and enlarged to the Main Camp perimeter circa 390 B.C., when Midsummer Camp was established. It is a scenic, circular walk from the carpark at Croft Castle to Croft Ambrey and back. Excellent National Trust tearooms at Croft Castle.
Old Oswestry Hillfort – 3hrs
Head to the North of the County to visit one of the best preserved hillforts in Britain. Old Oswestry was constructed and occupied during the Iron Age (800 BC to AD 43). The vast ramparts enclose a roughly diamond-shaped area that may have housed a small settlement. During the Iron Age, Britain was divided into numerous tribal territories, and the hillfort was probably a stronghold and principal settlement for one of these territories. Old Oswestry is a fine example of a ‘multi-vallate’ or multiple rampart hillfort. It is one of a dense band of hillforts in eastern Wales and the Marches. Much of the information about the site comes from excavations conducted in 1939 by William Varley, but this was not published until recently.