Alfred’s Castle is an Iron Age hill fort near the Ridgeway – one of the ancient trackways used before the Roman roads criss-crossed our land – which passes near many Neolithic, Iron Age and Bronze Age sites as it goes from Lyme Regis to Hunstanton: I liken this track as “a Bishop’s move in chess" – a diagonal cut across the body of England to East Anglia.
|Alfred's Castle - aerial view c/o Oxford University
Lyme Regis is on the Dorset coast of south England (home of Jane Austen’s The Cobb in Persuasion and The French Lieutenant’s Woman, by local writer John Fowles) to Hunstanton, Norfolk on The Wash.
The hill fort dates from 6th C BC and has been authenticated by the ‘cropmark’ – an area of land where the crops grow in better conditions (over a ditch), or worse conditions (over a wall)... depending on the underlying abandoned prehistoric site ...
|Romano-British farmstead overlying Iron Age Pits
c/o Oxford University Archaeology Department
Alfred won a great victory against the Vikings at the Battle of Ashdown (8 Jan 871) – which probably deterred the Danes from striking further west into Wessex.
Alfred had needed his Saxon troops and to call them he (according to legend) used the nearby Blowing Stone – an ancient perforated sarsen stone – which generated a booming sound around the countryside – thus summoning his men to defend their homes.
|Grim's Ditch in Spring
on the Ridgeway near Alfred's Castle
Alfred’s men gathered at the valley-fort now called Alfred’s Castle. The site is being excavated by Oxford University Archaeology Department from which more historic information will become known.
That is A for Alfred’s Castle ... originally an early Iron Age fort, six thousand years before the Romans reached our shores ... part of the ABC series Aspects of British Castles
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