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Friday, August 8, 2008

Quick guide to all those Cotswold hills

Tewkesbury Borough Council website About Tewkesbury has collated this rather useful guide:

Birdlip Hill
Birdlip Hill is the way the Romans climbed the escarpment from Glevum (Gloucester) on their way to Corinium (Cirencester). Its steep and wooded route now links the Witcombes with Birdlip on the brow of the hill. Just to the north of the road as it makes its final ascent is "The Peak", reached up a bridleway and forming part of the Cotswold Way National Trail. This is a wonderful lofty viewpoint at the apex of the sharp spur dividing the Witcombe valley from Barrow Wake to the north. The wood on the top of the spur, behind the viewpoint stands on an iron age hillfort the boundary bank of which can be seen at the eastern end.

Cleeve Hill
Cleeve Hill's summit, Cleeve Cloud, at 1083 ft (330 metres) is the highest point on the great Jurassic escarpment stretching from Dorset to the North Sea coast. This high point lies at the back of Cleeve Common, important for many reasons including its archaeology, flora, geology and landforms. In terms of recreation it is used by walkers, rock climbers, riders (under licence) and not least by golfers. The common is managed by the Board of Conservators. Interpretation boards have been installed by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust in order to explain some of the unique geology of the common. These can be reached from the public car park near the golf club. Most of the common is also identified as a site of special scientific interest because of both its geological and botanical importance.

Chosen Hill
Chosen Hill lies to the north east of Gloucester on the borders of Churchdown and Hucclecote, it is an outlier of the Cotswold escarpment. Used by ancient inhabitants as the site for a hillfort it now provides the site for a number of reservoirs and Churchdown Parish Church, this hilltop site for a mediaeval church is unusual locally.

Coopers Hill
In the Parish of Brockworth, this hill is well known for the ancient annual cheese rolling ceremony in which brave people race down a precipitous slope at the top of the Cotswold escarpment in pursuit of Double Gloucester cheeses. The top of the hill is also part of the Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods Special Area of Conservation, a site of European Nature Conservation Importance.

Crickley Hill
Crickley Hill is the site of one of the many ancient hillforts which crown many of the hills in the local area, this one is unusual for the extensive archaeological excavations carried out here over many years. The site, owned by the National Trust, is managed as a Country Park by the County Council and offers magnificent views across the vale and along the escarpment. In common with some of the other hills it is both scheduled as an ancient monument and is also identified as a site of special scientific interest for its limestone grassland and flora.

Dumbleton Hill, Oxenton Hill and Langley Hill
These are all Cotswold outliers, whilst Nottingham Hill above Gotherington and Woodmancote will eventually become one as the escarpment continues to weather away (a process which will probably take many hundreds of thousands of years).

Lassington Hill
This hill in the south west of the Borough at Highnam, and there are fine views of the Leadon Valley to the north and the Severn Vale to the east from here.

Leckhampton Hill
Close to the southern fringe of Cheltenham the Cotswold Escarpment rises steeply to the remains of old limestone quarries and the ruins of early C20th limekilns. The routes of the tramway inclines can still be followed down into Leckhampton road to the west of the main road up the hill. The tramways were formerly linked to Gloucester Docks by the Cheltenham Gloucester Tramroad in the early - mid C19th. One particularly enigmatic feature on the hill is the Devil's Chimney, a substantial pillar of stone left standing next to one of the upper inclines, nothing is known as to who left it there or why. Part of the hill is scheduled as an ancient monument (an ancient hillfort) and much of it is also identified as a site of special scientific interest for its limestone grassland and flora.

Sandhurst Hill / Norton Hill
These are part of the Triassic geology of the River Severn, their make-up is exposed at Wainlodes Cliff geological site of special scientific interest where the Severn is wearing the hill away.

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