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  • Writer's pictureGlyn Coy

Furze Knoll

Furze Knoll is an enigma to me. It is such a unique, prominent wooded knoll, but it does not seem to have anything of historical significance written about it - unless I just haven't found it. But given its prominence in the landscape, the scale and size of it, the fact that it is close to multiple tumuli, earthworks and the Wansdyke, surely means it must have been of significance at some point in time.

Today, it serves me as a visual marker in the landscape. You can see it from multiple directions, from many miles away. A good example is this zoomed in image of Roundway Hill which was taken from Hag Hill near Trowbridge. You can clearly see the clump of trees on the knoll sitting behind, yet it is a distance of 10 miles away. So I use it to get my bearings when I am out and about - just the other day I was pointing Furze Knoll out to someone as I stood on Picquet Hill above Bratton. The other week it was visible when driving from the Pewsey Downs towards Devizes.

Furze Knoll visible from Hag Hill

Furze Knoll and the Wansdyke from Milk Hill

Walking up to it, it can be approached from the Morgan's Hill side where along the Wansdyke just after the radio masts you can turn tight and walk to the entrance. Or you can park just off the minor road from Bishops Cannings to Quemerford, and walk from the foot of the hill all the way to the top.

Once inside, a very surprising interior awaits discovery. In all the years I saw the knoll, I saw uniformity in the height of the trees and imagined them growing from a flat base. In reality, the knoll is steeply sloped, with ditches and gullies which gives rise to a ball shape of trees, which when seen from above looks like a head of broccoli.

I highly recommend a wander around the interior just to get an appreciation of the scale of the knoll. As the sun sets you get a wonderful scene as the tone of light changes, and the suns rays penetrate the gaps to make it feel like an eerie place as darkness comes.

After my visit I stumbled across this excellent drone video on youtube by Matt Gayton. It wonderfully captures the shapes and contours of Furze Knoll.


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