Malvern Hills Challenge – 3: British Camp

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Its been some weeks since I posted an update on my challenge to climb all the hills that make up the Malvern Hills.  Life has been incredibly demanding and tiring recently with the retirement of my boss of 15 years and a range of meetings one on top of the other at the end of the academic year.  But today some pressure was lifted and my personal future is a little clearer and I feel a sense of contentment returning. But I needed some air, some space and so finally I managed to find time and energy to climb hill number 3

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My youngest son also felt in need of some fresh air and exercise so we decided to cross one of the higher hills off my list – British Camp.  Whilst it is one of the highest in the range, you actually park very near the top so apart from these steep stairs not far from the car park, the climb isn’t that challenging and takes no time at all.  You can understand why it is one of the most popular peaks in the chain.

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I realised that so far my walks have been in the evening and they have benefited from the wonderful evening light on the top of the hills.

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British Camp is also known as the Herefordshire Beacon – the Worcestershire Beacon is at the other end of the chain and is where we enjoyed a wonderful evening during the diamond jubilee and is the summit in the middle of the photograph below.

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The reason the hill is called British Camp is because it is the site of a 2000 year old Iron Age fort and you can start to see the ramparts as you come close to the summit.

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Archaeological digs on the adjacent Midsummer Hill have led the experts to think that this was not just a defensive site but a settlement for around 4000 people for a period of 400-500 years. With the coming of the Romans the site was abandoned although the Romans gave the hills one of its legends.  Apparently the Ancient British chieftain Caractacus made his last stand at British Camp but there are some that dispute this legend since the historian Tacitus’s record of Caractacus’s capture states :

quote Caracticus played his final card and chose a site for a battle so that the approaches, the escape routes, everything, was awkward for us and to his sides advantage. On one side there were steep hills. Where ever approaches were gentle he piled boulders into a sort of rampart. In front of him flowed a river of doubtful fordability and squadrons of armed men were in position on the defences. quote

 

For those who know the area it is hard to imagine that the River Severn would have ever reached the foot of the Hills and even the argument that it might have changed its course is tenuous but it is a nice story.  The legend also says that Claudius was so impressed with Caractacus when he appeared in Rome that he gave him his own villa.

 

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Later there was a Norman motte fortification at the top of British Camp and if you look along the ridge line you will see the Shire Ditch which runs along the hills from North to South

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British Camp also benefits from having the Malvern Hills Hotel adjacent to its main car park.  A great pub with great food which is always popular.

So that’s Hill 3 ticked off the list, not sure which one I will do next.

 

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Brian Skeys says:

    Hi Helen, congratulations on No 3. I can confirm what you say about The Malvern Hills Hotel. Do you get a nice long holiday when the academic year ends?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Brian
      No I don’t get a long holiday at the end of the academic year as we are busy all year so I have a few quietist weeks and then we start the next year

  2. rusty duck says:

    I can’t think of a better way to relieve work stress and get some much needed fresh air. Glad things are a little clearer for you Helen. Take care.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jessica
      Thanks, I slept incredibly well last night due to the exercise, fresh air and a whole load of weight being lifted off my shoulders

  3. Yvone Ryan says:

    Thanks for the lovely walk. Nice to see something I probably will never be able to actually see! Crisp, cold, blue here 10 degrees day and 4degrees overnight which is very cold for Auckland. Snow in South Island and middle of North Island and even Gisborne! sun pouring in here so only cold if I venture out around the corner of house.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Yvonne
      That sounds cold, it always amuses me to realise that in other parts of the world people have completely the opposite type of weather to us. I dont like the extreme cold anymore than I like extreme heat – Im more of a spring/autumn person.

  4. The views you’ve shared are stunning 🙂

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Laura
      They are wonderful views arent they and it only takes 30-40 mins at the most to walk to the top to get them.

  5. I wonder whether Caractacus loved the Mediterranean weather or got terribly homesick for our changeable Northern skies..!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Rachel
      An interesting question. I suppose if you are captured, being given a villa is better than being thrown to the gladiators!!

  6. Interesting to see how much the forts and the views resemble the scenery round here. There is something wonderful about being up high. I always feel the tension disappear when I walk up to the tops. And the good pub is a bonus!

  7. Matt @ Garden59 says:

    Lovely photos, Helen. I always like the view back towards the Worcestershire Beacon from British Camp.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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