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Cheddar Gorge is a breathtaking limestone gorge located in Somerset’s Mendip Hills, near the village of Cheddar. It is roughly 3 miles long, around 400 feet deep, England’s largest gorge and one of the country’s most popular natural tourist attractions. It was formed about one million years ago during the last Ice age from glacial melt-water, which created a cave system. Prehistoric remains have been found in the caves, both human and animal, and inside Gough Cave was found Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton, Cheddar Man, who lived around 7150 BC and whose descendants still live nearby. Other human remains are some 5,000 years older and the evidence is that they were cannibals. Gough’s Cave is a spectacular show cave, with fabulous formations of stalactites and stalagmites (remember, tites are the ones that come down).
The south side of the gorge, including Gough’s Cave and associated attractions, is owned by the Longleat Estate and heavily commercialised. The north side of the gorge is owned by the National Trust. Both offer walks along the cliffs.
Given post code is for NT land – pay and display car parks. Use BS27 3QF post code for show cave.
The Chiding Stone is a block of smooth sandstone which allegedly (but probably not) gives the village of Chiddingstone in Kent its name and which has a mysterious past. One story is that it was used as a place of judgement in ancient times - hence 'chiding stone'. The village is a peach - most of the buildings are owned by the National Trust and are over 200 years old.
Chiddingstone is located on a minor road between Edenbridge and Tonbridge; the River Eden flows just to the north.
Chysauster is one of the best-preserved ancient villages in Britain. A small community lived and worked here for around 400 years, from about 100BC until the third century AD - by which time much of Britain was under Roman rule. The villagers lived in stone-walled houses, each with a number of rooms arranged round a courtyard – a unique house layout found only in late Iron Age and Romano-British settlements in western Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Ten houses have been identified, suggesting a community of 50-70 people. The houses are very small. Open hearths, stone basins for grinding grain and covered drains are all visible. South of Chysauster is the remains of a fogou - a Cornish cave.
Cissbury Ring is the largest hillfort in Sussex, covering an area of c60 acres. Flint has been mined there since Neolithic times, open mining giving way to the digging of numerous shafts and tunnels. It was used as a burial ground in the Bronze Age and was fortified in the Iron Age, in around 400 BC. It is a univallate fort - one with a single rampart and ditch. The fort was in use for about 300 years, was abandoned, and then resettled in the late Roman period - possibly in defence against Saxon raids. It was fortified again during WW2, when an anti-tank ditch was dug round it, an AA battery based there and, during the run up to D-Day, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders were camped there. Now, it's just a pleasant place to walk, with great views over the Downs and nearby coast. If you're lucky, you may spot some wild ponies grazing there.
Clava Cairns is a prehistoric complex not far from the Culloden battlefield. There are actually two parts to it. At Balnuaran are three well-preserved burial chambers, two with entrance passages, each one surrounded by standing stones. The cairns are of a type of which around 50 examples have been found in the Moray/Inverness region. They were built c2000BC, almost certainly for high standing individuals, and appear to align with the midwinter sunset. The cemetery was reused about 1,000 years after it was built. A split stone at the site is thought to have been the inspiration for Craigh Na Dun in the 'Outlander' book by Diana Gabaldon.
At Milton of Clava, down the road, is the remains of a medieval chapel, the site of another cairn and, possibly, standing stones.
The Devil's Arrows are three huge, mysterious, stones near Borough bridge. They are of no obvious purpose and thought to have been erected c2,000BC. It is believed they came from Plumpton Rocks, about 9 miles to the south and that there were originally at least 5 stones in total. The Devil is said to have thrown the 'arrows' - which have other names, including 'the Three Sisters'. One can be found behind fencing on the south side of Roecliffe Lane, the other two in a field opposite, close to Boroughbridge Marina.
Dinas Mawr promontory fort is reckoned to date from the Iron Age and was probably the stronghold of a clan leader. It is situated on the west of the Pencaer Peninsula, generally known as Strumble Head, jutting out into the Irish Sea. The location is stunning, but not for those of a nervous disposition, especially in bad weather. Dinas Mawr is accessible along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path or via a footpath off a minor road. However, laymen will need to look for evidence of the fort. A ditch is clearly visible on the headland between what were stone ramparts and traces of at least one hut circle can be made out just inside the ramparts. Most of Dinas Mawr comprises a towering lump of rock, however, with severely restricted space for settlement to the east and the south of the crag; the top, surely, would have been too inhospitable. Immediately beyond Dinas Mawr is the islet of Ynys y Ddinas. Though a good defensive position, there is no fresh water and it is speculated whether the fort had some ceremonial or ritual purpose, for it cannot have been of much long-term use, or in the event of a prolonged siege.
Dun Beag (the small fort) is the best known, best preserved and most accessible broch on Skye. Brochs are unique to Scotland - they were probably defensive homes, though no one is sure, and were built about 2-2,500 years ago. Dun Beag is situated just north of Struan, to the east of the road - there is a small car park and you will need stout footwear and lungs for the sort walk uphill to look at it. The distinctive double walls are more or less intact to about 6 feet - originally it would have stood about 30-40 feet high. The views are wonderful. The rubble of Dun Mor (the big fort) is less than 1/2 mile further on - take a map.
Post code for Dun Beag is very approximate - look for signs.
Dun da Lamh (pronounced ‘doon da larve’) is a prehistoric, believed to be early Pictish, hilltop fort near Laggan in the Highlands. It sits on Black Craig, 1484 feet above sea level and 600 feet above the land below, overlooking the River Spey to the north. The fort is approximately 360 feet (110 metres) long by about 98-246 feet (30 and 75 metres) wide. Inside are shelters, believed to have been constructed by the Home Guard during WW2.
The fort’s sole defence is a stone wall, which has been cleared in places. It is constructed of fine quality stone slabs resembling bricks totalling an estimated 5000 tons which are not from the local valley. It has been skilfully made. The fort is so steep on three sides as to be impregnable and is only approachable from the west where the walls are over 20 feet thick. Dun da Lamh means ‘fort of the two hands’. The plaque on the site asks was it a frontier fortress of a great Pictish nation guarding the farmlands to the north and east; or was it something else?
Dun da Lamh can only be reached by foot and it is a strenuous walk for which you should dress appropriately and allow a couple of hours each way, depending on conditions and fitness. There are a variety of starting points, including a way-marked route from Laggan Wolftrax (as per postcode). Others suggest starting from the car park opposite the Pattack Falls Forestry Commission Car Park off the A86.
At first glance, the village of Eamont Bridge seems a little uninspiring. It is situated close to Penrith, on the A6 - which used to be the main road leading to Scotland. In the 11th century, the River Eamont here marked the border between England and Scotland. Even further back, and Eamont Bridge stood on the border of the old Welsh kingdom of Strathclyde and was where, on 12 July 927 AD, a great council took place and all the kings and leaders of Britain paid homage to the first king of all the English, Athelstan, grandson of King Alfred the Great. Furthermore, Eamont Bridge boasts at least two prehistoric monuments - King Arthur's Round Table and Mayburgh Henge.
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