Badbury Rings

Shapwick, Dorset


NGRef: ST964030
OSMap: LR195
Sitetype: BAb, IAf

The Iron-Age Hillfort

A conspicuous ovoid fort in a dominating location, now tree-covered. The hillfort was protected by a massive double bank and ditch system with a smaller external bank and ditch. Two original gateways haave been identified, an inturned entrance on the east and a complex gateway on the western side. The fort is unexcavated, but is very likely to be numbered among the twenty "towns" captured by the young Vespasian when acting as legionary legate of the Second Augusta during the initial Claudian campaigns. The fort is one of several sites identified as Mt Badon, where Arthur defeated the Saxons in 518AD. There is a legend that Arthur lives on as a Raven in the woods covering the ancient citadel, and that a golden coffin is buried somewhere in the area.

Bronze-Age, Iron-Age and Romano-British Occupation

There is evidence of activity at the fort and its immediate environs over several historic periods: to the south and west there are ancient field-systems, a Bronze Age barrow cemetery lies just outside the western defenses with another group about a mile to the north-west and two more on King Down, about a mile to the north-east. Four Roman roads converge immediately to the north of the fort, and the site of Hemsworth Roman villa lies two miles due north, just to the east of Tarrant Rushton airfield.