Chanctonbury Ring, Washington

#7 of 9 in Wildlife in Horsham District
Chanctonbury Ring is a prehistoric hill fort atop Chanctonbury Hill on the South Downs, on the border of the civil parishes of Washington and Wiston in the English county of West Sussex. A ridgeway, now part of the South Downs Way, runs along the hill. It forms part of an ensemble of associated historical features created over a span of more than 2,000 years, including round barrows dating from the Bronze Age to the Saxon periods and dykes dating from the Iron Age and Roman periods.
Consisting of a roughly circular low earthen rampart surrounded by a ditch, Chanctonbury Ring is thought to date to the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age. The purpose of the structure is unknown but it could have filled a variety of roles, including a defensive position, a cattle enclosure or even a religious shrine. After a few centuries of usage, it was abandoned for about five hundred years until it was reoccupied during the Roman period. Two Romano-British temples were built in the hill fort's interior, one of which may have been dedicated to a boar cult.
After its final abandonment around the late fourth century AD, the hill fort remained unoccupied save for grazing cattle until a mid-18th century landowner decided to plant a ring of beech trees around its perimeter to beautify the site. They became a famous local landmark until largely being destroyed in the Great Storm of 1987. Periodic replanting on a number of occasions to replace old or destroyed trees has afforded archaeologists the opportunity to carry out a series of excavations which have revealed much about the history of the site.
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Chanctonbury Ring Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
22 reviews
  • The views from the top at Chanctonbury Ring can be quite spectacular on a clear day, and it is a really lovely walk up to the top from the car park below. There is often a lot of nature to be seen on ...  more »
  • We have recently discovered the delights of the Chanctonbury Ring and would recommend it to anyone who is able to walk a couple of miles. While some reviews have described the first part from the car ...  more »
  • A good exercising climb up for a wonderfully rewarding walk in the fresh air with stunning views over land and sea.
  • Steep climb from the north side - wonderful views.
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