Gold Hill and the Iron Age
Shaftesbury Travel Blog› entry 11 of 25 › view all entries
October 20th, 2007 – by: maplefanta
John was driving through Shaftesbury today, so by the morning I joined him and he left me in the centre of the town so that I could visit it. That was great as Shaftesbury was a place I wanted to visit for quite a while by now. I had seen the pictures of the famous Gold Hill and wanted to feel the atmosphere by myself. Nonetheless to say that Bill Hicks makes a nice reference to the town as well in his Holigans one man show.
The sun was shiny, the temperature lovely and the mood at top. So I simply started immediately to walk around the town and saw immediately the famous Gold Hill. Sadly my pictures are not coming as great but the view was amazing, far to the greenness of Wiltshire and Dorset with the typical Wessex houses style architecture, all by a curvy slope stony street.
Also by late October, the town was quite calm and relax so it was nice. As Shaftesbury is built atop an old hill (as an old historic town would as matter of protection.) I walk around it to enjoy the view from what would have been the fortifications. There were views in every directions as far as to the neighbouring counties and especially to Glastonbury (famous for many but I haven't been there yet.)
That was nice, also the Gold Hill is famous in England for having been quote and seen on a major commercial for a bread loaf company. I don't remember which though.
After having spent some hours along the cobbled street, the town is still quite tiny, I started to walk out of it back direction south. I made it to the edge of town to the roundabout and started to hitch.
So anyhow I ended up along a local road from Shaftesbury to Blandford in a tiny hamlet. I decided to walk instead.
One amazing thing I noticed was a view on my side giving on a huge grazeland hill, quite high ... with 4 Elm trees standing side by side... the grazeland were vivid green, the sky was vivid blue with some clouds passing by, the 4 trees where marking off the sky as lone element on this landscape. Sadly I was too far to get a great picture.
I walked along that main road for a while though the country road of Dorset are so narrowed that immediately aside the pavement, tall hedges begins. The road is just wide enough for 2 cars to by pass each other ... and not always. So being a pedestrian is quite risky, especially if the cars can't see you in advance. The high number of broken glass and complete side mirror aside the road quite told me that I should be careful. So after having reached another hamlet, I stood by the main crossroad of the hamlet, looking if I could catch a ride further south. Though there were really low traffic, and I was standing in front of the lone pub of the place.
I simply decided I would walk and walked inland to the country road and horse trails instead.
I walked like this between the hedges and shortcutting through the hiking trails to reach another road and such for a few miles until I made my way nearby a big hill - Hambledon Hill - which is protected by Natural Trust as Heritage. I walked towards it and started climbing it. It is actually quite high. Maybe about 100m denivellation and all only a bump full of grazeland. The amazement is that this old hill is actually an Iron Age Fort used before the forthcoming of the roman for the tribes to protect themselves on high ground and also to defend themselves against the invading romans or other old hunter tribes.
Now the hill was mainly covered by sheeps and cows grazing on the slopes, but you could still see the archeological remains and mark on the hill of the trenches. The other nice view was the 'path' left by the stock walking on its slope.
Once atop you could enjoy the great view on Dorset, I couldn't see the seaside but you could have a nice view of how Dorset is so green actually.
The day went by with this climbing and hike and I was starting to get hungry and the sun was getting lower. So I walked back to the main road heading towards Sturminster and made my way by hitching to John's place from Child Okeford. It was a lovely day actually.
Once back at John, we talked for a while and prepared a lovely vegetarian meal for us and his step-brother.
Being at John was always relaxed and welcoming, having some nice conversation and exchanging about various subjects was always great and his house is so comfortable as well, it can makes me feel home being back in the silent countryside.
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