IMcIntosh

Personal Site of Ian Mcintosh

Wilbury Hill

Wilbury Hills: on the outskirts of Letchworth overlooking Hitchin,

Looking towards Wilbury Hill

This location commands a gap in the Chilterns and would have been a natural defensive position. Unfortunately there is little evidence of the Fort when you visit the site, but, in recent times excavation has provided supporting evidence of the rampart, also through Ariel photography there are crop-marks that reflect the underlying former structures.

Looking towards Wilbury Hill near the Ickleford Barrows

The fort started around 1000 BC, as a fenced enclosure, later a bank and ditch was added to the fort, It is though that this was improved later as an univallate (single bank/rampart) hill fort constructed during the late bronze age / start of iron age 700 BC. With rebuilding later 400 BC in the mid Iron Age. With a second bank and ditch being constructed.

Outlook from the Site of Wilbury Hill Fort

The site of the fort is certainly in a stategic position commanding views down the Chilterns, across the Bedfordshire lowlands and across the southern dip slope of the escarpment looking into Hertfordshire. There is evidence of buildings in the enclosure, the use of the site as a defensive site, apparently declined and houses were build on the infilled ditches, there is evidence of habitation during the Roman period. The site, due to the strategic importance of the location is thought to be a Roman Camp and during the 19th Century Roman coins were collected in a quarry within the NW corner of the site. Further down the slope to the southwest is evidence of more iron age ditches.

Spring View of the Site of Ring Ditches

Wilbury Hill Fort Heritage Gateway

Wilbury Hill Fort Historic England

There is a very good account of the Sites use in the English Heritage Site

The best preserved part of the Ditch and Rampart is found next to the road across from the cemetery, but this area is covered in bushes and vegetation. There is a very good map of the area with an outline and shading showing the area of the fort.

Map

This is well worth a read with lots of information about the finds and in interpretation of the site. To the west of Wilbury Hill Fort there is evidence of a ring ditch about 20m diameter there is evidence of a ditch, between 0.2m and 0.4m, but lack of evidence maybe due to farming over the millenniums, there is also evidence of nearby pits  there is archaeological evidence of late Neolithic date for the site, the evidence found in and near the site, and the location of the site points toward it being a  round barrow of late Neolithic age.

Site of Ring Ditch at Wilbury Hill

Ring Ditch Near Wilbury Hill Fort Heritage Gateway

 There are a further two barrows near to Wilbury Hill to the south, on the northwest facing slope. These barrows are known as the ‘Ickleford Tumulus’ or Barrow.

Site of Ickleford barrow within the trees and bushes entrance on the other side bottom left

The round barrow in the trees is quiet well preserved with the hump and ditch still visible the barrow to the east 25 meters away is not well preserved due to farming and is only visible as crop/vegetation marking, there has been human remains found at the site.

Ickleford Tumulus Historic England

There is also evidence of another ring ditch and possible round barrow south of Wilbury Hill south of the railway and west of the Stotfold road. Evidence for this ring was found during work on the railway embankment.

Site of Ring Ditch/Barrow to the left of the railway bridge

Ring Ditch Near Wilbury Hill Heritage Gateway

Even at the start of this area there is lots of evidence, hidden at or below the surface of our ancestors. This is the start of the area and evidence of human habitation and use of the the land for over 3000 years is if not evident just below the surface.

Site of the Iron Age Fort at Wilbury Hill

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