Outer Rampart

Imagine now that we are approaching the fort from the North. First of all we come to this outer rampart, which lies beyond a modern footpath. There is little sign of the depression which lies behind.

Northern Portion Of Enclosure Rampart.

On our approach, we will have entered this scene by crossing the outer rampart on the left of the picture. We will have then descended into a well formed ditch, before climbing to the top of the enclosure rampart where this photograph was taken. The enclosure itself can be glimpsed to the right.

The Scale Of The Ramparts.

This picture will give you some idea of the height of the ramparts, if you are standing in the defensive ditch. When you consider that these earthworks are but the remains of a complex constructed about 2500 years ago, it makes you realize that the original compound was a formidable achievement in human terms, given the primitive tools available in the Iron Age. I can’t help wondering just how high the ramparts were at the time of their completion.

Woodbury Castle Location Viewed From North.

I often think that this area of the common looks more like somewhere in Africa rather than Devon. A giraffe in the picture would not look amiss. The slope leads the eye all the way down to the coast in the Lyme Bay area. The fort itself is located in the densely wooded area to the right of the picture. Paradoxically, in the Iron Age, the fort would have been an open compound, whilst the surrounding heathland would have been wooded.

Woodbury Castle Northern Approaches.

As we move in for a closer view, we can make out the ramparts of the outer part of the northern defences. These are the russet coloured mounds along the base of the tree line. This picture was taken today in early spring. In a months time, the foliage on the trees will obscure some of this detail.

The earthworks that constitute all that is left of this ancient fort, are to be found near the highest point of  Woodbury common, close to the Woodbury Park Country club. Situated some 603 feet above sea level, the fort would have commanded excellent views all round for any defenders sheltering there in times of danger.

Not much is known about this prehistoric fortress, thought to have been constructed around 500 BC.  The remains can still be seen on Woodbury Common in Devon. At a time when the Egyptians and Chinese were building sophisticated stone edifices of remarkable complexity, we British were wallowing in the mud and digging earth mounds to be used  as fortresses.

I do not really have enough information to write much today, but I hope to use this space to develop the theme. It has to start somewhere, so it may as well be here.

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