Bury Ditches (Tongley Hill)

A Greenman, Maypoles and Morris Dancers are surely an excellent precursor to a visit to the Bury Ditches of Shropshire. We made our visit to this site in the warmth of a late May afternoon following the festivities of the 'Clun Greenman Festival.'

The Bury Ditches date from the Iron Age and during the first millennium BC it was a major centre of permanent settlement, consisting of many farmsteads. The visible remains are those of the defences, with two ramparts to the south where the land falls away steeply and four to the north. These defences were constructed in several stages over the life of the settlement.


A short track leads up from the car park to the south-east side of the fort where it is entered through a prolonged inturned entrance. This entrance would perhaps have been protected by and further fortified by a wooden tower whilst the ramparts themselves would have been revetted in timber.


Until 1976 the Bury Ditches were surrounded and hidden by a cloak of trees, but a storm blew many of them down. Seeing this as an opportunity the Forestry Commission further felled the remainder of the trees from the ramparts and ditches revealing the oval shape of the fort and protecting the archaeology beneath.

Even though we made our visit on a Bank Holiday with a great festival occurring in a nearby village and many people about for an afternoon stroll, we were able to soak in moments, no, minutes of peaceful quietness from this site, a stillness that makes this relic quite magical and unique. The views about are as impressive as they are expansive and of a wonderful fruitful and fertile greenness. We didn't find the golden thread that is supposed to be hidden here; so is I believe the golden horde to which the thread leads if followed. There was still warmth in the day as we descended the track returning to the car park, it was no doubt the Greenman's victory over the Frost Queen on the bridge at Clun that had served us so well.