I’m incredibly excited that there are Iron Age hill forts nearby. Of course there are, there are hundreds of them. Who knew? Not me. I’ve been cycling past one recently and chatting to my friends about ‘that hill’ in the landscape without ever really realising what it was, despite the faintest suspicion of what it might be. I’ve even photographed Denbury hill fort from Orley Common and not known that’s what it was:
Here, then, it is, in its full glory:
The deep ditches and ramparts were built 2100 to 2300 years ago. The hill fort certainly has a commanding position and dwarfs the village of Denbury in South Devon beyond. As the local saying goes, Little village, big hill.
There’s a Noon Fly, Mesembrina meridiana, on the Bracken here. I love its orange wing-bases.
Noon Flies give birth to live maggots which eat other fly maggots in cow dung. I love them already.
From the ramparts, looking out, I can see the church in the village of Torbryan, the Holy Trinity church.
Torbryan is named after a hill, and the fabulously wealthy de Bryan family. If you’ve ever wondered how to be fabulously wealthy, the answer is simple; have a family member who was friends with William the Conqueror. It still works 1,000 years later.
I remember that there’s a pub next to the church, so I make that my next destination. It’s not as welcoming as I had hoped.
How about this for a welcome to guests?
Oddly, Torbryan church was built in one, literally, monumental effort. It wasn’t burnt down, improved or remodelled, but it was built on an earlier building. It was built in one huge 20 year effort between 1450 and 1470. The style is Gothic Perpendicular, which is another name for exceptionally ugly. It looks like a reject from a Lord of the Rings fan fiction illustration. Perhaps I ought to take a better look at it? Not today, though.
Nothing makes you want something more than being denied it, so I’m determined to find a decent pub with a pint of beer. I use Google Maps and it takes me along a lane, which turns into a track, which turns into a cow dung quagmire. I’ve reached Noon Fly heaven. Ankle-deep in mud, I wheel the bike and then resume the saddle as the path becomes stony. One stone flicks my wheel, the handlebars are out of my hands and I faceplant into a hedge. I arrive at The Rising Sun, Woodland, a dishevelled mess.
It was all worth it. The Iron Age and a pint of beer. Cheers!