Warham Camp

Warham Camp is quite a spectacular site, even if the place is not quite the same as two millennia ago. It still retains a lot more of the original scope than Bloodgate Hill, and it’s classification as “the best preserved Iron Age fort in East Anglia” makes it a worthwhile place to visit.

The circumvallations

I like this site. It still carries a lot of the mystic spirit though indeed the mystery of the site is more enhanced by it having been built between a hill and a river, rather than on the hill. I would interpret this as indicating that the defensive function provided by overlooking passes of approach was lesser than the requirement to use the river for water and navigation.

As an old site of the Iceni, this place carries the ideas of one of the most powerful tribes in Celtic Britain. Therefore, it was quite sad to see only one placard here (along with non-existent parking opportunities) and very little grasp on what has happened at Warham in the past. Now, this can be attributed to the fact that we really don’t know very much — any geophysical/archaeological surveys that could have been carried out have been missed out on thus far as well, leading to a dearth of usable information.

A look into the centre of the camp

Interlude: I wonder who planted that tree? Is it one of the remnant offshoots of what stood for a grove in the centre of a mighty settlement, or is it the work of some trader or surveyor in the later times?

What I can conjecture is that the River Stiffkey just to the southwest of the site here has eroded some of the outer banks in the intervening years. Similarly, the 18th and 19th centuries saw some changes here with entrances constructed to the sides of the fort not facing the river. Excavations carried out early in the 20th century noted that the ditches around the fort used to be approximately two metres deeper, suggesting we experience a far less menacing site than what would have been visible in the old days.

Conclusion: I wholeheartedly recommend visiting it, as long as you bring your Iron Age hat. And, if you are here, I think that hat’s not too far away either…

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