Brown Clee Hill - Abdon Burf

Near Ludlow
England, United Kingdom.


The Clee Hills are a range of hills in Shropshire, England near Ludlow, consisting of Brown Clee Hill and Titterstone Clee Hill. They are both in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. At 540 metres above sea level, Abdon Burf is the higher of Brown Clee's two summits and the highest point in Shropshire. The hills stretch over 15 miles and run north - south, and for about this distance the lowest point along the hills is just under 300 metres.


The large Hill Fort at the summit of Abdon Burf is now so mutilated by quarrying and spoil heaps that its true form is no longer apparent. In the mid nineteenth century the following description was given of the site:


"Rampart 65ft wide at its base on SE side, width of crest was 8ft and it was 12ft high above the interior level of the hill. In some parts externally it fell as much as 50ft. The enclosed area was oval measuring 1317ft N/S by 660ft E/W. Area enclosed was 20-30 acres. Circles of stones, of three kinds, ranged in rows N/S in 8 parallel rows, and standing 2-3ft high. Circles of single stones, c 20, some of which have more than on concentric circle. None of these stones are more than 1ft below the surface -easily moved. Third class of circles, nearly half the number, are of stones thrown together in double ridges. Average width is 30ft for all the circles. In some instances the circles are connected with each other by a row of single stones, sometimes they touch and in one or two instances they cut each other." - 'Salopia Antiqua' by C.H. Hartshorne (1841)


There were forty-four circles apparent when Hartshorne saw them, but was told by a local that they were formerly in much better condition. All lay within the northern half of the hillfort. Two or three possible circles lay in the southern half, an area covered with large blocks of basalt. Hartshorne continues to suggests that a rough stone, lying horizontal and named the Giants Shaft (8ft 10ins x 2ft 4ins square at base tapering to 1ft 8ins square) is a fallen standing stone.


In 1908 the fort was an irregular oval with a rampart 3ft to 9ft high from the interior with quarry hollows and possible hut circles. Excavation in 1928 provided evidence for an in-turned entrance and outwork, and a possible hut circle at the east entrance. The excavations however failed to date the site.


The Abdon Clee quarries closed in 1936, and the area had become almost industrial, with a concrete plant, tarmac plant in Ditton Priors, plus a small railway to move the stone. If the wind was coming down over the hill you could hear the stone crusher at the top crunching away, even down in Cleehill village.


Brown Clee Hill was once a hazard to aircraft, and this memorial commemorates the 23 Allied and German airmen killed here when their planes crashed into Brown Clee during World War II. The first aircraft to crash into Brown Clee was a German Junkers 88 on 1st April 1941. Two Wellington bombers, a Hawker Typhoon and at least two Avro Ansons also crashed into the hill during WWII.


The inscription reads: "In memory of the twenty three Allied and German airmen who died in flying accidents on the Brown Clee Hills. (1939-1945)."