Pegsdon Hills, Barrows and more

This area is very popular for walkers no matter what season. There are several longer paths in the area the best known two are probably the Icknield Way and the Bunyan Trail.

It is though that the The Hills, Both Pegsdon and Barton Hill are in this area are thought to be the “Delectable Mountains” in The Pilgrim’s Progress, with the Springs at Barton being the landscape that Christian saw “with springs and fountains”. If you decide to walk to the top of Deacon Hill then you will see the site of Ravenburgh Castle an Iron age fort/settlement in the distance (A wood covered hill top) and further in the distance Sharpenhoe Clappers with another iron age fort. It is evident that people have lived and farmed here for thousands of years

The side of Deacon Hill and many of the other slopes are cut with Terraces there are also several neolithic barrows (Tumulus) and also an earthworks at the Hertfordshire/Bedfordshire border. The images show Tumulus, Long Barrow, the Earthworks and the strip lynchets or Terraces

Pegsdon Hills

Deacon Hill, this is considered to have had a barrow, a broach / defensive structure at the top, alas little evidence exists, for any other use other than chalk extraction , but it has been used for chalk extraction throughout time, as the numerous pits around the trig points shows and along the ridge show.

The chalk in the area was used in Kilns to create lime that was used in building and for fertiliser. All along the ridge of the hills in this area is evidence of chalk pits. Although not as romantic as castles and graves the chalk pits still are evidence of human activity and the use of the land that has vanished in recent times.

On the slope above Pegsdon is an earthwork that stretches down the side of the hill from the Icknield Way at the ridge to the edge Devils Ditch, locally the earthwork is referred to as the Devils Ditch. It could be that the earthwork are perhaps a defensive feature, a boundary marker connected to the nearby Ravensburgh Castle, or even a means of collecting ‘taxes’ along the Icknield Way. This earthwork has been associated with the earthwork north of Luton below Galley Hill and interpreted as the Southwestern edge of a territory with another edge being Sharpenhoe Clappers, to the Northwest.

Further down the slope from the Earthwork is The Meg is probably named after a local Witch and perhaps the site where she was burnt at the during the witch trials of the 17th Century.

Devils Ditch Earthwork Heritage Gateway

Near to the earthworks on the nearby hill (Telegraph hill) to the south west is a round barrow. This barrow is very accessible as the path goes right next to it in fact it goes a little to close to the barrow as the track has resulted in erosion of the barrow.  It is worth a walk into the wood to look at the barrow as the steeper slide is better visible, if viewed from the path the mound is only a meter and half in height, it is still more that 15 meters in diameter so still a very visible feature of the landscape, it would have been much more a feature in the past if the hill wasn’t wooded as it would have been very distinctive from the highest point in the area Warden Hill above Luton.

Barrow at Telegraph Hill Heritage Gateway

Telegraph Hill Barrow Historic England

Around telegraph hill if you take the time you can find several other new historical sites a disused reservoir above the clearing/meadow in Hoo Bit, There is of course there is also the site of the telegraph station. On the left of the Icknield Way, going down the hill is the location of some rifle butts used for practice.