Bloodgate Hill Fort

There have been very few places I have visited which have been named as ominously as ‘Bloodgate Hill’. This might lead one to think about ritual sacrifices or large-scale battles that took place here, but I really don’t know much about the origin of this name. What I can say is that a review I read of Bloodgate Hill Fort, specifying it as “a place only the keenest of hill fort enthusiasts will find interesting” was probably accurate.

More or less the extent of the surviving walls

As you can see from the photo, it is definitely possible to say something used to exist here. However, due to intensive farming in the preceding centuries, much of the actual hill fort structure has been demolished.

What I can say is that this is probably one of the better examples of a hill fort in Norfolk from its position. The other notable one (amongst about six others) is Warham which is situated at the base of a hill rather than at the top. Bloodgate Hill, though lacking in massive earthwork fortifications at this stage, has a rather commanding point of view. One can easily see that the wooden structures — fortifications, watchtowers, guardposts, call them as you will — would have been in a prime location.

Archaeological digs after 2003 noted that the original ditch was about four metres deep — what the place is like right now, you will have noted from the image above. The 2003 survey also carried out some geophysics on the site, and they noted the very clear presence of a central ring-fort in the middle of this outer structure. Very little indeed remains of it right now, and I did particularly poorly in trying to find it.

From a history point of view, we know little. One of the placards on the site noted that the hill fort was in use at least in the 3rd century BC, but I would be off into grand speculations if I was to say anything else. An interesting exercise might be to align the position of this hill fort with the theories put forward in ‘The Ancient Paths’, but I have not tried that yet.

If you were asking for a recommendation on whether you should visit… I would hearken back to the words in my introductory paragraph. I would visit, but no expect too much, perhaps. If you want to see more of history, the other sites (Warham) would also make for better choices.

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