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WOOLSBARROW

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Woolsbarrow (SY 893925) on Bloxworth Heath and now in a State Forest midway between the Sherford River and a tributary of the Piddle, is the smallest hill-fort in South-east Dorset. Its anomalous form makes its date uncertain. A single bank with inner ditch surrounds a gravel knoll some 20ft below its flat top, enclosing an area of some 2 1/4 acres. Though the highest point is only 220ft above Ordnance Datum it dominates the surrounding heathland, which falls sharply on all sides except on the SE, where a simple gap entrance leads to a natural saddle connecting the hilltop with a lower spur. The whole site has been much disturbed. Most of the interior has been quarried away to the depth of some feet, exposing a well-formed podsol, but there is no evidence that a bank ever stood on the edge of the inner scarp. The mounds in the SW and NE angles are probably no more than the residue of quarrying; the NE mound was dug by a Mr Groves of Wareham without result (Warne, Ancient Dorset (1872), 87). Soil slip has largely filled the ditch and the bank, at its most prominent, is about 18ft across and only 2 1/2ft above the ditch bottom. A modern trackway obscures the original form of the entrance. The `tumuli' shown on some maps around the site are probably natural, the result of differential erosion.

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