Scratchbury Camp, Norton Bavant
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
While driving out of Warminster towards Salisbury there are some hills on the left side of the road. One of them has a prominent barrow on the summit with a mysterious pole sticking out of the top of it. This was enough to pique my interest for a visit, but a little research identified this as a prime candidate for Hidden Wiltshire.
This is Scratchbury Camp, an iron age hillfort on the edge of Salisbury plain which is archaeologically significant. As you walk up it you will encounter a series of metal posts with stars on top. These are markers that indicate sites of archaeological interest. The side of the hill has strip lynchets, another piece of evidence that indicates that this now quiet place was once the site of much human activity.
When looked at from above, the shape of the hill fort can be clearly seen, with ditches and mounds. You can also see the shape of an inner fort on the summit, which has been interpreted as possibly bronze age, which would date it to around 2000 BC.
The views from the summit offer an excellent panorama, including the nearby Battlesbury Camp - another iron age hill fort worthy of a future visit for this site. In the distance you can also clearly see Cley Hill, the village of Norton Bavant and the town of Warminster. But nature is in charge here, and despite the human settlements the view confirms that Wiltshire is a mostly rural county. Look to the North, and you will see miles of open countryside as this is where Salisbury Plain starts.
The walk to the top is short but steep and once on the top you can follow the Imber Range perimeter path and continue your walk along the downs. This site is also very close to Dunscombe Bottom, which has fine views across the Wylye Valley. So if visiting Warminster town itself, it is good to know that a short drive and a brisk walk will take you up into this vast open countryside, and allow you to see some of the fine views of this beautiful county. This is Hidden Wiltshire at its best.
The video gives you a good insight into the whole landscape. The weather wasn't of the blue sky variety but visibility was good.