Cadbury Hill Fort in Somerset has been a favourite walk of mine since childhood. We used to come up here after school, even on occasion seeing filming for mediaeval period programmes. One memorable moment was seeing a knight on a horse who had ‘lost his sword’.
Not the wisest of moves there, Lancelost.
Now, if I’m visiting my mum, I’ll usually pop up here to clear my head, the views across Somerset are unbeatable on a clear day, and you can see all the way to Glastonbury Tor and beyond… Beyond the Tor is Brent Knoll, and in a straight line leading across the Bristol Channel is the hill fort of Dinas Powys in Wales.
It’s not a long walk, perhaps 40 minutes to complete in total, but it is just beautiful.
Cadbury Hill Fort has been excavated a number of times and it’s shown that there was human occupation and use of the site from the Neolithic period through to the Bronze and Iron Ages. The site was reused by the Romans. In the 11th century, it temporarily housed a Saxon mint. There was never a castle here in the traditional sense, but the hill fort site was defended by earthwork ramparts and ditches.
There is evidence of a great hall as well as some temples and shrines. Famously, it’s rumoured to be the site of King Arthur’s Camelot, due to the other historic links in the area.
In terms of navigation, you can’t get lost.
There’s a car park on the main road in the village of South Cadbury, the walk to the ‘Castle’ is well signposted and up a rocky track (which can be very muddy after rain).
At the top of the hill you can walk the ramparts in either direction in a loop.
Map: OS Explorer 129 Yeovil & Sherborne 1:25 000
It’s a lovely walk, and one I can highly recommend if you find yourself in South Somerset! If you want to make it longer, you could combine it with a walk to Corton Denham Beacon.
That’s a route for another day…