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The Iron Age past of Cadbury Camp

A winter view from Cadbury Camp
A winter view from Cadbury Camp | © National Trust/James Eley

The gentle grass banks of Cadbury Camp are not a natural feature of the landscape but were created by man and once lived on by ancestors about whom there are only a few clues.

Ideal location

The tribe would have chosen the ridge for their fort because of its high position giving good views over the land below which would have been boggy marsh.

The name Cadbury meant Cada’s fort. Cada was an early Anglo Saxon personal name.

Life in the Iron Age

Families in the tribe lived in simple farms along the ridge looking after their cattle, sheep and pigs, weaving wool into clothes and going back to the fort for protection when under the threat of attack.

Inside the fort there were probably basic round wooden homes, thatched with reeds gathered from nearby marshes. Wooden pens would keep the animals in.

Clues from the past

Bronze spear

Although the fort was mainly used in the late Iron Age, a bronze spear was discovered here which may mean people were on the site about 1,000 years before the fort was built.

Roman statue

A small stone statue also found on the fort suggests there was a Roman temple here and possibly a settlement long after the hillfort was no longer used.

The statue is an altar stone and shows a local version of Mars, God of war and agriculture, and bringer of healing. The fort probably continued to be used into Anglo Saxon times in the 5th and 6th centuries AD, after the Romans had left the country.

Visitor walking uphill on a path surrounded by greenery at Godolphin Hill, on the estate at Godolphin, Cornwall

Discover Cadbury Camp

Find out how to get to Cadbury Camp, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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