Galley Hill

The Barrows and Earthwork around the North East of Luton

Further to the southwest along the Icknield Way are several more barrows and another earthwork.  The barrows are no longer very distinctive, but they are evident on the and near to the top of Galley Hill to the North of Luton, between the valley/slopes of Galley Hill and Warden Hill is another earthwork (Dray’s Ditches).

Round Barrows On Galley Hill

Probable barrow at the top of Galley Hill

From Ariel photographs and excavation prior to the levelling of the area to the north of Galley hill another large (300 meters in length) long barrow is though to have been situated the Icknield way curves around the site of the barrow but sadly there is no longer evidence of the barrow

Galley Hill from Warden Hill

Long Barrow near Galley Hill

To the east of Galley Hill is another Neolithic site that of a ring ditch that is though to be the site of burials where several artefacts have been found, but again there is little evidence when walking nearby.

Ring Ditch near Galley Hill

A further site may also exist to the North of Galley Hill and to the south of the Icknield Way at the edge of the Golf Course, this is another Ring Ditch that has yielded some artefacts.

Ring Ditch and Crop Marks

Dray’s Ditches is an Iron Age perhaps even bronze age Earthworks this could be again a defensive or boundary feature, it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument as defined by Historic England It is located between Warden Hill and Galley Hill on the Icknield Way, The Earthwork has three sections along the bottom of Galley Hill  and down the middle of the golf course following the Icknield way at one edge of Galley Hill, and another shorter length at the other end of Galley Hill into the golf course  there are three ‘V’ shaped ditches with banks between constructed of chalk and posts, best preserved near the Icknield Way



The ditches are around 2 meters deep and 5 meters wide so this is a significant feature could it be related to the other Earthworks at Telegraph Hill of a similar age?

Dray’s Ditches

On or near the barrows at Galley Hill, Gallows, hence the name of the hill, were built and used to hang witches during the 16th / 17th Century, as well as witches they were also used to hang thieves. The head of a horse was also found in the area with a dice place in the skull and this has added to the myth of the area connecting it with the romance, myth and magic of witchcraft.

Standing on the top of Galley Hill or nearby Warden Hill there are views across the valley towards Dunstable Downs and partially,  visible near the end are the five barrows on the ridge above Dunstable, two are visible on a clear day, I like to think that these barrows were distinctive features  in the past that were not grass covered but white, from the chalk earth they are constructed from.

To the north of the Barrows is another Linear Earthworks of a similar age to the barrows and surrounding features

Earthwork at the base of Galley Hill

Walks in the Area

There are several routes that I walk in this area

The walk from Barton is a there and back walk

The walk from Lilley is a circular walk

Details
Lilley to Warden Hill a circular Walk( views over Luton and several Iron Age sites).

The walk from Pegsdon is a circular walk

Details
Pegsdon to Hexton then onwards to Warden Hill and Back