National Trust acquires 2,600-year-old Iron Age fort Hambledon Hill


Archaeology Correspondent

One of Britain’s most important archaeological sites – a vast Iron Age hill fort at Hambledon Hill, Dorset – has been acquired by the National Trust.

It is the organisation’s most significant archaeological acquisition for more than 30 years. With £450,000 from bequests and from Natural England, the Trust has purchased the 2,600-year-old monument from a local family charitable trust which had owned it since the early 1980s.

Together with a neighbouring National Trust-owned hill fort, Hod Hill, the monuments constitute the organization’s most important archaeological complex after the Stonehenge landscape and Avebury.

It’s now planning to protect its newly-acquired Hambledon Hill site from being damaged by encroaching scrubland and other vegetation.

The vast triple-banked hill fort – one of the largest and most impressive in Britain – covers 67 acres and has four miles of grass-covered earthen ramparts.

Its defensive ditches – up to 21 metres deep – are among the most impressive in the world. Inside the hill fort, which is in reality a fortified Iron Age town, visitors can still see some 300 Iron Age hut platforms and walk along the long-abandoned prehistoric streets.

The newly acquired site includes not only the Iron Age hill fort, but also two 5,500-year-old neolithic ritual enclosures, a huge neolithic communal tomb and Bronze Age burial mounds. A full archaeological survey of the monuments will be carried out by the National Trust next year.

The site, already a national nature reserve, is also exceptionally important from a natural history perspective, and is home to nine rare orchids, at least a dozen rare and endangered butterflies, mammals and birds.

“This acquisition is extremely significant because of the site’s rare flora and fauna and because the Iron Age hill fort is among the three most important such archaeological monuments in the country. Together with the Neolithic and Bronze Age earthworks on the site, it covers 3,500 years of British prehistory,” said a National Trust spokesperson.  

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)