The Eaton Camp Historical Society (ECHS) has just heard the great news that we have been awarded a grant of £28,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to carry out our archaeology, conservation and history project at Eaton Camp Hillfort.
- Caroline Hanks: ECHS Secretary
- Chris Atkinson: Hereford Community Archaeologist
- Judith Leigh: English Heritage
- Nancy Saldana: ECHS Chairperson
After perhaps two and a half thousand years we may at last know who built the Iron Age hill fort at Ruckhall, near Eaton Bishop, and why.
The award from HLF will enable us to learn more about who the people were, how they lived, what they did. It will be fascinating. Our ancestors, who built the impressive earthworks, must have had reasons which may well not be as simple as a defensive place. Evidence suggests that similar hillforts served as foci for trade and places of habitation as well as social and religious centres.
Eaton Camp is one of more than 30 hill forts in Herefordshire and very impressive. Built on a spectacular hilltop promontory overlooking the river where the Cage Brook joins the Wye, it covers more than 18 acres. There are clear sightlines between it and Credenhill, one of the largest hillforts in Britain. They are only 2.8 miles apart.
What connections did they have? Were they built by the same people? Who were the people who first built it, who came later and did it have Roman connections as many places in the area do?
Through the project activities schools and young people will be involved in the actual archaeology, working alongside the archaeologists and volunteers, learning the archaeological processes. Being involved in our own history will enrich our local community, give us all a deeper knowledge of our heritage and connect us with the land where we live. The Heritage Lottery Fund has made this possible.
The HLF award will also fund the clearing of existing walks and footpaths, alongside the creation of new ones. This will allow more people to enjoy the Camp and learn about its history.
Anne Jenkins, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said:
“So much about the history and origins of Eaton Camp Iron Age Hillfort are yet to be discovered. With our support the Eaton Camp Historical Society will be able to undertake archaeological research to help further understand this fascinating local heritage treasure, whilst giving people from across the community the chance to get involved in the project work and learn more about their history.”
The main share of the hillfort is owned by the National Trust but a number of local residents also own portions of the land on which the earthworks are built. The National Trust are looking to work in partnership with the project to improve public access to the historic site as well as creating new history trails.
The hill-fort was scheduled in the 1920s and today English Heritage has a statutory responsibility for its protection.
Eaton Camp Historical Society