Some Quantock Items

Quantock Archaeology

The Domesday Book records a vast areas of 'forest' attached to the manor of Over Stowey which is held before the conquest by the Saxon King Harold himself.  A 'forest' in Domesday isn't necessarily woodland but denotes uncultivated land for whatever purpose and in this case It looks very much as though the Northern Quantocks formed a great man's hunting estate in Anglo Saxon England. There is no evidence of medieval settlement on the hills and quite remarkably the Quantocks emerged into the modern era still uncultivated, used for rough grazing and hunting.

Earl Harold Hunting from Bayeux

Harold and his men hunting in a scene from the Bayeux Tapestry

The point here is that the land has not been ploughed, tilled, sown or even enclosed for maybe two thousand years. Where the tops of the hills show the distinctive ridge and furrow of ancient ploughing it is fair to guess that the ploughs were driven by the people who last lived on the hilltops in the Iron Age Hill Fort on Dowsborough. They farmed their fields between the burial mounds, earth rings, tracks and ditches constructed by their own ancestors several thousand years before them in the Neolithic.

This makes the Quantocks uniquely rich in ancient features, covered in the unobliterated marks made in previous eras. If you know where to look and how to read the signs the lanscape is almost legible like a book. If you don't know then the Quantocks look like wasteland.

Last Updated on  March 20th, 2014