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Danebury Hill Fort Salisbury Guide

Danebury is an Iron Age hill fort that was continuous populated for over 700 years from 600BC and was one of the largest defended towns in the region. This ancient town of Danebury covered 12 acres (4,800m2) and was defended by some of the most sophisticated technologies of the era including earthen moats and near vertical slopes that surrounded the perimeter, all of which remain today.

 

Though the history of the iron age fortified town is unknown there is strong evidence of a turbulent history; mass graves have been unearthed and scorched wooden remains discovered indicating the main wooden gate was burnt down twice. Do not expect to see massive ruins or wondrous monuments at Danebury Fort, this is an ancient fortified town over 2,500 years old, all that remains are the hand dug moat and hills that run the perimeter of the site. The fort is a popular with locals for short walks which provide good views over the surrounding countryside and a large open space for families to enjoy.

Danebury Hill Fort Visitor Information

There is no entrance fee to visit Danebury Iron Age Hill Fort and the site is open every day. As the fort is more of an open area at the top of a steep hill than carefully maintained monument there are no traditional opening hours but the downside is that the facilities are poor. The fort can be only reached by car as there is no convenient bus service which connects with Salisbury.

Danebury Hill Fort Directions

The postcode for sat nav directions to danebury hill fort is SO20 6LQ. To reach the fort by car from Salisbury head in a north eastern direction out of the city along the A30 and then the A343 towards Andover. Just after the village of Middle Wallop (and the petrol station) turn right along the Kentsboro road. Danebury Hill is signed from this junction and is approximately 2 miles and on the right. Middle Wallop is the home of the British army school of flying so it is common to see multiple helicopters performing manoeuvres in this area. Also note Google’s direction take you to Danebury Vineyard, the wrong side of the fort with no sensible access.

Danebury Hill Fort History

The Iron Age settlers choose a sensible location to situate their defensive town as the site sits atop the highest hill of the region, 143m above sea level and well above the surround farm land as visitors to the fort will discover!

 

The village had access to a constant supply of water from a tributary of the Test River and commanding views over the entire region, this view today is partially obscured due to the tree growth. The fort had many periods of growth over the 700 years while it was inhabited, but the total area of the fort never grew nor did the positioning of the two gates to the south west and east (which is the main entrance for visitors today). The early fort had a single moat and the soil excavated was used to build the inner slopes which are steepest on the southern side.

 

The top of the perimeter hill was fortified by wooden post walls and the entrance gates protected by thick wooden gates. It is at these gates that archaeologists discovered charcoal that indicates that these solid gates had burnt down presumably during conflict. A second and third ditch was dug and the town prospered until 100BC when the population started to wane along with other fortified towns in the south west of England. By the first century the whole site was completely abandoned.

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