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Two Ancient Rings: Cissbury and Chanctonbury

Event Details

  • Date:
  • Meeting Time: 10:30
  • Approximate End Time: 15:30
  • Category:
  • Groups:

Restarting Events

Our Groups are up and running with their activities.   While there is generally no fixed maximum number of participants on an event, an event may have a limit in place based on it's risk assessment.   All events still require every participant to pre-book via the website.

General information

Prepare for any festive indulgences with this relaxed 9 mile walk taking in two pre-Roman hill settlements and fantastic views from the top of the South Downs along ancient ridgeways. The paths are mostly good but expect some mud, and there will be a couple of gentle inclines. Anyone preferring a shorter walk can join us at the start, come up to explore Cissbury Ring and join us for the morning coffee stop, then easily make your own way back to the start point. Spare maps will be available. This walk was scheduled to happen in Dec 2020 but was postponed by lockdown.

Fresh tea and coffee will be available at the end of the walk. If you wish to bring cakes or other goodies to share that would be most welcome.

Please bring drinks and a packed lunch for yourself. Wear clothes appropriate for the weather and terrain. Dogs are welcome if kept on leads whenever near livestock, on roads or if requested by the walk leader.

BOOKING: Advance booking is still required. This is solely to support Covid contact tracing if necessary. See booking section below to reserve your place. The event is of course free to attend and open to anyone with either full GOC membership or the free trial online membership. If you have difficulty booking then please contact the Sussex Group Coordinators at [email protected] or the Event Organiser using the message box below. Thank you.

Here is some information about the rings:

Cissbury Ring is the largest hill fort in Sussex and the second largest in England at 26 hectares. Thought to date from around 400 BC, it served as a defensive fort for 300 years. Archaeological evidence suggests it was used as a settlement during the Roman period. Coins from the 11th century have also been found, but it was largely abandoned during the medieval period. It has been used as one of the chain of beacons along the South Downs as an early warning of invasion and for anti-aircraft guns during WW2.

Chanctonbury Ring, somewhat smaller than Cissbury, is a prehistoric hill fort thought to date from the late Bronze Age, around the seventh century BC. While its purpose is uncertain, the name ‘fort’ does not necessarily denote a military outpost. It was probably a religious centre. No traces of habitation have been found here. It would have been an exposed and windswept place to live. The Romans built two temples here before the site was abandoned in the 4th century, possibly due to the re-establishment of the nearby Cissbury Ring. In the 18th century a copse of trees was planted on the hill by a local landowner (Charles Goring) who believed he could beautify the site. His descendants continued with the tree planting. This makes the landmark more prominent but the tree roots have caused damage to the underlying archaeology. Gun emplacements and training exercises during WW2 caused further damage.

Terrain / Difficulty

Good terrain, mud likely, some hills but none too demanding.

Approximate Distance

9 miles

Full details are available to members only

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