Cothelstone Hill Heritage

Archaeological features

The summit of Cothelstone Hill contains an outstanding group of surviving archaeological remains, including four scheduled sites, a probable cross-ridge dyke, two tree ring enclosures, a pillow mound and a further earthwork enclosure.  The hill-top was the subject of a survey by English Heritage in 2003.

Preshistory

The hill has been in use since prehistoric times, Neolithic flint was recovered during the construction of the hilltop bridleway in the 1970's, and there are a number of prominent Bronze Age barrows.  The hill is bisected by a low earthwork bank, which is suggestive of a later prehsitoric cross-ridge dyke. 

Medieval and Post Medieval

 

The later history of the hill is associated with the medieval and post medieval Cothelstone Manor estate; features present are associated with both parkland and agriculture - tree rings, pillow mounds, boundary banks, ridge and furrow and the folly, which is thought to have been demolished at the start of the 20th century.

The Folly, or Beacon Tower was erected on Cothelstone Hill between 1768 and 1780 by Lady Hillsborough, the owner of the estate, for the purpose of viewing the surrounding country.  It was a robust circular tower, built of randomly coursed stonework, about 10m hight.  It was built on top of a Bronze Age barrow, and was destroyed a few years prior to 1919.

 

This photograph was taken of Beacon Tower in the early 20th century

The Seven Sisters

 

The Seven Sisters clump of beech trees comprises a partcially embanked circular platform, 24m in diameter.  The beech trees are very obviously part of an ornamental planting scheme, but the circular platform could represent the remains of a large prehistric platform cairn.

 

To the southwest of the Seven Sisters is a rectangular mound which as been variously interpreted as two burial mounds, a pillow mound, or of recent origin.  It as planted with beech trees in the latter years of the 20th century.  The form of the earthwork and the presence of a ditch strongly indicates that this is a pillow mound, generally dated ot the medieval or early post medieval period and constructed as an artificial rabbit warren.

 

Two scheduled Bronze Age barrows lie at the west end of the hill, one of which is fenced to protect it from erosion.

Cothelstone Hill is the perfect place to visit with your school or organisation, if this is something you are planning the AONB have a useful Cothelstone Hill Education Pack to help with the organisation of your visit and provide some interesting historical info about the site 

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