Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Oldbury Castle Hillfort, Cherhill, Wiltshire

I wasn't going to post up this visit as I only have these four photos...and not very good ones at that! However, I recently came across some interesting history about it, so I decided to include it after all. Situated near to the village of Cherhill, on the route between Calne and Marlborough, it was a quick stop on the way to Avebury, Stonehenge and other prehistoric sites which I visited in 2008.

What's interesting about the site is that it comprises a large earthwork, known as Oldbury Castle or Camp, the Cherhill White Horse, and an obelisk known as the Lansdowne Monument. The horse can just about be seen in the above photo, situated below the right side of the stand of trees.

An Iron Age hill fort, it covers 22 acres and includes a long barrow, with several other barrows within the nearby downland. Sitting upon an earlier Bronze Age settlement, finds include Bronze Age tools and also evidence of Roman occupation. In Cherhill village itself, the remains of a tessellated pavement featuring images of a hunting dog was uncovered near the church...possibly part of a Roman Villa. Like much of Wiltshire, the area is teeming with prehistoric remains, including prehistoric field systems on Cherhill Down connecting with the border to Avebury.

Eight still remain out of the original thirteen Wiltshire horses; Cherhill being the second oldest. Cut in 1780 by Dr Christopher Alsop of Caine, it had the unusual feature of a glass eye formed by pressing upturned bottles into the ground, thereby reflecting the sunlight. They had all disappeared by the late 19th century however, and were replaced in the early 1970s during a local youth centre project. The youngsters put their names inside the bottles before setting them in the ground, but sadly they too eventually disappeared and the eye is now made from stone set into concrete.

The Lansdowne Monument was erected in 1845 by the Third Marquis of Lansdowne, and is a striking 125 ft stone obelisk that can clearly be seen for miles around. Consisting of three high steps, pedestal and main shaft, the base of the monument has now been fenced off with nets to catch stonework which has eroded due to recent cold winters.

As there are only these four photos I haven't included an album for them in the Photo Gallery.

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