The Giant and the Sun – The ramparts of Camelot

We had only a short way to walk to our second site of the day. We were only going to climb a hill, which sounds simple enough, but there can be few places where fact, fiction, folklore and otherworldly dreams are more intricately interwoven than the hill known as Cadbury Castle. Setting our feet to its path would transport us back through thousands of years of history and archaeology and into another world… of myth and legend, where King Arthur held the land.

The hill towers above the little church we had just visited, dominating the landscape in both scale and presence. The trees on its slopes are relatively young compared to the earthwork upon which they now grow and serve to veil much of the magnificence of the structure. Without the information board and a sign for ‘Castle Lane’, you might be completely unaware of where you were going as you enter the wormhole that leads through the encircling guardian trees.

The green lane leads steadily upwards, opening occasionally to give a glimpse of a patchwork landscape of fields and apple orchards, sheltered by Sigwells, the ridge that embraces Cadbury and which holds many archaeological clues to the history of the area. You climb to five hundred feet above sea level and then the landscape suddenly makes sense as you enter the eighteen-acre expanse of the summit and see the panorama unfold beneath and around you. There is no medieval castle at Cadbury, no turrets, no pennants fly… the hill itself is the castle, sculpted from the earth and surrounded by ramparts, embankments and a ditch three quarters of a mile long.

Five and a half thousand years ago, our Neolithic ancestors occupied the hill, leaving behind them sherds of pottery, flint tools and the bones that tells us when they lived there. The advent of metalworking in the Bronze Age changed the way we lived. Ovens remain from that period, as well as evidence that metal was worked on the site. And three thousand years ago, a bronze shield was buried, for some reason, two hundred years after it had first been made. I wondered about that; it would have been a prized possession, being not only sturdy but ornate. Perhaps it was passed from father to son and buried when the last male of the line died? Or was it an offering to the gods?

The Iron Age occupants of the hill constructed enclosures, fortifications and rectangular timber buildings which were later replaced by the roundhouses we more commonly picture from that time. Temples and shrines were added, one upon the other, as a more complex society came into being. These were people of the La Tène culture… the Celtic culture that left us so many artefacts of great beauty and so many clues to how they lived.


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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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11 Responses to The Giant and the Sun – The ramparts of Camelot

  1. stevetanham says:

    Reblogged this on Sun in Gemini and commented:
    Sue puts some more detail on the Cadbury Hill experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Giant and the Sun – The ramparts of Camelot — Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo | tabletkitabesi

  3. I’m pretty sure I was there, but time has really made it seem a million years ago. I know that every time I climbed one of the old hill forts, I was awestruck by the passage through history.

    One brief possibly amusing story: A former husband and I were sitting on the rampart of a Crusader castle outside Jerusalem. I had to do a fair amount of research to figure out what it was, but I had finally realized it was what was left of a castle that had crossed the valley over what is now the road from the coast to Jerusalem. I was pondering what had become of the world these people lived in. My then husband who was not imaginative or particularly knowledgeable nonetheless summed it up well when he says “Exactly where WE will be in another thousand years.”

    Can’t argue with that.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      It is in the right area for you or have visited.

      I have to agree with your husband, here. For all our strivings and worryings… we will be no more than traces of history one day.


  4. Anne Copeland says:

    The shield – the circle, always the circle in so many forms – words, structures, art. It is indeed, perhaps one of the most sacred of the symbols and of life itself. We have a heart that sends the blood to nourish all the body and spirit parts, and then it returns to the heart again. We are born of the earth, we live and then we return to the earth. but we are also part of all these things.


  5. Jennie says:

    I was completely engrossed in this story. Thank you for the addition of photos to bring it to life.


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