Monday, 24 September 2012

Lordenshaws hill fort, Northumberland

Lordenshaws fort from the air

A couple of weeks back Val and I went to Northumberland with friends. Whilst there my friend, Rich, and I ascended Lordenshaws, a hill outside Rothbury in Coquetdale, to the Iron Age hill fort.

Rich on the banking with the western entrance

Google Earth clearly shows the plan of the fort with the successive banks and ditches. The outermost defensive ditch has a diameter of around 140m and is one of the best preserved features of the site. In the South and South East this ditch has been disturbed by later development but to the North the ditch has a very steep V shaped profile and is up to 2.5m deep and up to 9m wide.

 Looking out from the eastern entrance marked by the large stones

There are two gates or entrances aligned east and west. The western entranceway is the least well preserved though there are still several larger boulders marking it. The Eastern entrance is 3m wide and there are some facing stones visible. Where this entrance cuts through the second defensive mound there are some prominent stones still standing 0.8m high.
 Stone lined hut depression outlined by heather

Inside the fort there are a series of stone lined depressions which although rather small are the remains of dwellings.

 Neolithic cup and ring marked stone

Outside the west gate and a short distance away is a rock outcrop covered with cup and ring markings. They are significantly older than the fort and date to the Neolithic period. Sadly the meaning of such engravings has long been lost.

 Hut depression adjacent the cup and ring stone with a track heading to the western entrance

Yet again, adjacent to the cup and ring stone, are the remains of two dwelling depressions that again probably date from the Iron Age.