Take the high path: Top 10 hillforts for a Christmas walk

 
Moredun Top

The online  Atlas of Hillforts can help you turn your Christmas walks into more than just an opportunity to burn off some pudding.

Use this remarkable online guide to explore some of the most iconic, beautiful – best loved – ancient monuments in Britain, and take the family back in time as you stroll along in the footsteps of our Iron Age ancestors.

The Atlas is the result of a four year collaborative project between archaeologists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford, assisted by colleagues at University College Cork for Ireland. The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

In it you will find a wealth of information on 4,147 archaeological sites considered to be hillforts or possible hillforts spread across England, The Isle of Man, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Here is a top ten chosen by the researchers as great locations for a walk across the UK and Ireland this Christmas.

For more information about each site go to the Atlas of Hillforts

Trusty's Hill, Dumfries and Galloway
Trusty's Hill, Dumfries and Galloway. Photo Credit Billy McCrorie

Scotland

1. Trusty’s Hill, Dumfries and Galloway.

This stunning site has great views out to the Solway Firth. It has been recently excavated, with material dated to both the prehistoric and early medieval periods. There is good, easy access for walkers.

2. Moredun Top on Moncrieffe Hill, just south of Perth.

An absolutely spectacular location, and this multi-period fort crowns Moredun Top – the forested top of Moncrieffe Hill. There are several phases of easy-to-see ramparts, along with hut circles. Good, easy access.

3. Craig Phadraig, outskirts of Inverness.

Craig Phadrig crowns a steep and wooded hill that rises abruptly on the western outskirts of Inverness. It is a spectacular site with very impressive walls. Good access.

 

Rathgall Hillfort

Rathgall Hillfort, Wicklow. Photo Credit Simon Dowling

Ireland

4. Rathgall, Wicklow.

Circular multiple enclosure positioned surrounding the flat summit of hilltop at the end of a prominent east-west shoulder of upland overlooking tributary of Derreen River. There are several circuits of impressive ramparts and stone built walls. Easy access for walkers.

5. Caherconree, Dingle peninsular, Kerry.

Caherconree is a triangular shaped inland promontory fort positioned on a west facing spur off the summit of Caherconree Mountain. Try and climb this one in fine weather as there are absolutely fantastic views on a good day.

 

Pen Dinas
Pen Dinas, Aberystwyth. Photo Credit Ceridwen

Wales

6. Pen Dinas, Aberystwyth.

It's a good climb up to this hillfort, which is sited on the end of a north east-facing spur and bounded on the north west by a dry valley and just above steep slopes to Afon Ogwen. There are several ramparts – along with good views and easy access.

7. Penycloddiau, Denbighshire.

This outstanding hillfort is one of the largest in Wales, and located on a high spur above the Vale of Clwyd and dominating one of the main passes through the upland. The Offa’s Dyke path runs through it and links to other hillforts on the ridge to the south. Car park and good access.

 

Yeavering Bell
Yeavering Bell, the Cheviots, Northumberland. Photo Credit Andrew Curtis

England

8. Uffington Castle, Oxfordshire.

This Impressive site is located near the village of Uffington, on White Horse Hill, a dominant position overlooking the Vale of the White Horse to the north and the Berkshire Downs to the south. Also close to the famous prehistoric Uffington White Horse. Car park and easy access.

9. Trevelgue Head, Cornwall.

A hugely impressive coastal promontory hillfort with many ramparts located on a ridge near Newquay. Easy access.

10. Yeavering Bell, the Cheviots, Northumberland.

Yeavering Bell is the largest hillfort in Northumberland, located in a truly wild location on a twin-peaked hill and is conjectured to have been a tribal capital. Impressive stone built fort. Easy access.

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