Old Oswestry

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Old Oswestry hill fort

Old Oswestry is one of Britain's most spectacular and impressive early Iron Age hill forts in the Welsh Marches near Oswestry in north west Shropshire. It remains one of the best preserved hill forts in the UK, according to English Heritage. Built on lower ground, it is also one of the most accessible hill forts with stunning panoramic views across North Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.

Designated as a scheduled monument (number 27556) in 1997 it is now in the guardianship of English Heritage. After the Hill Fort was abandoned it was incorporated into Wat's Dyke, and two sections of this are adjacent to it.

Iron Age Hillfort[edit]

It was occupied between the sixth century BC and the Roman conquest of Roman Britain, probably by the Cornovii tribe or the Ordivice tribe.

Several phases[edit]

The complexity of its defences suggests several phases of development. The site was originally occupied by a few undefended round huts. These were then enclosed by a double bank and ditch enclosure spreading over 52,000 square metres (1.3 acres). Entrances were placed through the enclosure at the east and west ends where the inner bank was pulled back inwards to create a more impressive gateway. These defences were later rebuilt and a third bank added on all sides except the south east where the hill's steep slope made further strengthening unnecessary. The western entrance was then remodelled with unusual rectangular hollows separated by ridges dug out and defended by outworks. Finally two further circuits of banks and ditches were added to the outside and a flanking bank placed alongside the eastern entrance.

Although Old Oswestry was one of the most strongly defended hill forts in Britain there is no evidence that the Roman Legions ever tried to besiege it.

During the First World War it was used as a training area for Canadian troops. Many of the large pits and trenches shown on aerial photographs relate to these military activities.[1][2]

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Coordinates: 52°52′22″N 3°02′56″W / 52.87273°N 3.04886°W / 52.87273; -3.04886