Cleeve Cloud Hill Fort

Cleeve Hill is the highest point of both the Cotswolds and the county of Gloucestershire, at 330 metres (1,083 feet) it commands clear views over Cheltenham, the River Severn and into Wales.

Sharing the hill with dog walkers, horse riders, cyclists and sheep are golfers who must play on one of the most hilly and rugged courses in the country. There has been a golf course here since 1891 and under the spell of its delightful eccentricity it almost makes me want to take a mashie-niblick in hand and start swatting at a featherie! Such is the civilisation of this place that under a bylaw it is an offence to be "wilfully interfering with, molesting, obstructing, or annoying any persons who are playing, or who have made preparations for playing at cricket....." Civilisation indeed!


On the north-western side of Cleeve Hill is 'The Ring' (OS Ref (GB): SO985265 / Sheet: 163), a low-lying earthwork bank and ditch, thought to be to small for defesive purposes it is believed to have been constructed during the Iron Age for stock- control purposes. Adjacent to The Ring is small circular feature which may be the remains of a Bronze Age round barrow (as recorded on the 1884 OS map), but which could equally be an Iron Age hut site (as recorded in the Royal Commission's 1976 inventory).

Cleeve Cloud Hill Fort sits upon the western scarp with commanding views to the south and the west towards the Malvern Hills. Here can also be found one of the few rock faces in the area, Castle Rock, which is sound enough for rock climbing. The routes are short, difficult for their grade and highly polished. With such views, crags and precipitous drops the fort puts one in mind of a coastal Promontory Fort than an inland Hill Fort. A double bank and ditch is fairly well preserved although a green from the golf course eccentically interupts its route. Quarrying has destroyed much of the western/south-western side of the complex.


Taking the path from the fort and down to the west you will come across the enigmatic stone block known as "Huddlestone's Table" - at times it has been linked by antiquarians to the Druids, at other times the stone said to mark the spot where King Kenulf of Mercia took leave of various important guests after the 811 dedication of Winchcombe Abbey.

Visit the Cleeve Common Board of Conservators - website