White Sheet Hill, Mere
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
White Sheet Hill is another fine example of elevated chalk grassland which has evidence of ancient history at its summit. While I have already visited plenty of dramatic hill fort sites in Wiltshire, White Sheet Hill is interesting for its diverse archaeological heritage. It has a neolithic enclosure dating back to 3,000 BC, and an Iron Age hill fort at the top. There are also Bronze Age barrows, some of which are clearly visible. It is incredible to think they have survived for 3 to 4,000 years.
The hill is owned and managed by the National Trust, and the land is grazed by livestock.
The walk to the top is steep but rewarding, with views across to the Stourhead estate where you can clearly see the mansion house, the obelisk and in the distance, King Alfred's Tower. Look in another direction and you can make out the town of Mere, and the distinctive Castle Hill which overlooks the settlement.
As you walk to the top, there is a hollowed out part of the hill which is the remains of a quarry, and some distinctive white, chalk steps lead you to the flat part of the summit path. Look behind you here and you will see some of the best views of Long Knoll, a one mile long ridge. Once you are at the top of the hill, there are many paths that lead you deeper into the downs and across to the Deverills. I knew nothing about this place until I found it on a map and decided to visit. While there were a few other locals enjoying walking in the landscape, it is a quiet place. A place to come and sit on a barrow and just admire the view while contemplating life.
White Sheet Hill can be accessed off the B3092 which runs from Frome to Mere. You need to find White Sheet Lane, which will take you to a good sized car park at the base of the hill.