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April 20, 2007

Hillsides in spring ....

Spring is definitely upon us - in fact probably almost over in some areas - and as we have wandered around Ireland and now parts of Gloucestershire, you cannot help but be struck by the cycle of nature that we have so successfully disconnected from. Walking on Bredon Hill the other day, Mausi and I found ourselves enjoying bright sunshine and cool breeze. The ground is a carpet of tiny flowers (and the Monk is no botanist!) and the sheep have their lambs all in tow.

A curious lamb stares into the eye of Mausi's camera.

How different our lives are to those who lived here just a hundred years ago - and how very different to those who created the great Iron Age "forts" that crown this hill and adorn its surrounding areas. Kemerton Camp, Elmley Castle and the Bredon fort itself stretch human occupation of this area back at least a thousand years before the Roman occupation of Britain. We know a little of their lifestyle since it didn't change radically until the coming of the Romans, but even then, parts of it survived. Who were they? Some were definitely Celts, but there may well have been other tribes and races here as well, since the genetic record is confused.

A carpet of flowers springs from the hillside on Bredon Hill.

The great ditches and ramparts of the Bredon settlement command the heights of the hill itself and from here the view is spectacular. Worcester can be seen at one side, Tewkesbury lies south west of it and Gloucester's cathedral tower crowns the skyline to the south-south-west. The country was heavily forested in pre-Roman times - in fact right into the late Jacobean period - but this hill, like so many others would have provided the type of grazing needed for sheep - short cropped grass and small scrub. That would, in its turn, mean that the hill's inhabitants would have had little shelter from trees during the winter storms which funnel along the Severn valley around them and you do have to wonder how they survived some of it.

The life of an Iron Age inhabitant would certainly have been a hardy one!

Posted by The Gray Monk at April 20, 2007 07:44 AM

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