Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Cissbury Ring

Starting as I mean to go on I spent a fair chunk of yesterday repainting the outside of my dollshouse. It was long overdue let's just say! Pictures of paint literally drying don't really cut it in the excitement stakes, so instead I'll share some of our walk in the South Downs last Saturday.

Cissbury Ring is one of the major and most complete hillforts in the National Park and has seen human activity from the Stone Age through to the gun emplacements of the Second World War. Nowadays it's in the hands of the National Trust and is open access.



The surface is pockmarked by craters which, to the untrained eye, could easily be mistaken for ones caused by bomb damage. Currently they are filled with scrub so are not so obvious, but they form one of the biggest areas of Neolithic flint mining in Sussex [second only to Grimes Graves].  Research has found that most were only dug for a season and then the shafts were backfilled. A couple have been found to have been decorated with carved drawings of red deer scratched into the chalk walls and others had burials placed at the bottom. Evidence of the mining tools has been found on site.


It was quite a surprise to come across a group of wild ponies up there as I've not encountered the like on previous visits, but I understand the Trust are bringing them up during the fallow seasons to keep the scrub down and encourage the wildflowers. 


As is so oft the case with these places they were chosen by our ancestors for their position within the landscape. You get a magnificent view out to sea one direction and across the other Downs in the other. I can really appreciate how it removes you from your everyday life and feels special. It's a spot which has had its fair share of reported UFO sightings and tales of fairies dancing at Midsummer. It's formation is down to the Devil's handiwork apparently when Old Scratch was busy cleaving out Devil's Dyke to flood the area this is one of the clods he cast asunder. I did briefly consider trying to find the hidden tunnel which leads out to the nearby Offington Hall. There's treasure to be had within it and if you can find it you may keep half for your troubles. In the end I decided to leave it as didn't much fancy my chances against the serpents who defend it....another day perhaps!!

Arilx

8 comments:

  1. Gosh isn't England full of wonderful tales. I have often wondered about Cissbury Fort after reading a 19th century book by two brothers on Neolithic dew ponds and Cattleways. They were completely wrong of course.

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    1. It is indeed. What book were you reading Thelma. Am always on the lookout for ones to read...there's a whole website dedicated to dew ponds!
      Arilx

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    2. Here is the blog, Hubbard was their name....https://northstoke.blogspot.com/2008/10/dewponds.html
      and a quote about the month of January...
      Quotation from the Hubbard book;
      "The month which we now call January our Saxon ancestors called wolf-monat, to wit, wolf-moneth, because people are wont always in that month to be in more danger to be devoured of wolves, than in any else season of the year; for that, through the extremity of cold and snow, these ravenous creatures could not find of other beasts sufficient to feed upon. Richard Verstegan, Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities 1673"
      I suffer from that "Decayed Intelligence" ;)

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  2. You bought back memories. We all went up there a few times when the kids were young and I remember them findinf flint arrow heads.
    We have ponies now up on the 'Devil's Dyke' and they seem to love it.
    Briony
    x

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    1. Blimey haven't been to Devil's Dyke in years. We used to roll down it as kids! Another place to pay a return visit to. We are so lucky here in Sussex aren't we!
      Arilx

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  3. Looks bleak, but looks absolutely lovely.

    Julie xxxxxxxxx
    ** yes they are identical twins **

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    1. It's impressive, but looks a little less intimidating on a slightly sunnier day it has to be said!
      Arilx Fab news about the twins....double trouble and twice the fun!

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  4. Ooh, it sounds an interesting place to visit! We visited a similar sort of settlement in Northumberland in the Summer and saw some ENORMOUS mushrooms which really did make me question whether there were fairies there! It was most strange!!

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