Holmbury St. Mary, south-west of Dorking, Surrey.
A hill fort surrounded by a double rampart encompassing an area of 8.9 Acres (3.6 hectares), set in the Surrey Hills, just outside Holmbury St. Mary, near Dorking. The fort is designated as iron age, built between 150 - 50 BC, and is one of four in the area.
There have been two excavations carried out at the site, in 1930 and 1974, and these turned up the usual collection of flints, pottery, broken quern stones and animal bones and located a significant number of post holes. Evidence suggests that the life of the fort was short lived and that it was abandoned some time during the first century BC. Quantities of sling stones found in the ditches point to a degree of violence at some stage, but speculation in this area can only be resolved by further excavation.
The fort as it appears today is not a spectacular specimen (it appears to have been ill-used somewhat over the years) but is well worth a visit nonetheless, and a very pleasant walk on a warm day in early spring. Thanks to a recent lottery grant the site has been renovated and cleared of encroaching trees and scrub which were threatening to damage the ramparts in some areas, and one is now able to walk the entire perimeter and enjoy the spectacular views to the south across the Weald towards the sea.
Holmbury Hill is a scheduled ancient monument and is part of the Hurtwood, private land which was dedicated for public "air and exercise" in 1926, and access is now administered by a control committee. It is currently very popular with walkers and the mountain biking fraternity, who appear bent on creating an additional defensive ditch of their own on the northern edge of the site, no doubt to the confusion of archaeologists yet to come.