Hillforts are just one example of the rich archaeological heritage of the Dorset AONB. Archaeology is the study of physical evidence of human activity over time - most of this 'evidence' survives below ground.
With over 20 in the AONB, hillforts are a good place to start exploring local archaeology - they are plentiful, easy to recognise and those with public access make them a stunning and evocative place to walk and enjoy the view.
Great views from the tops of these hillforts give us a clue to why they were built in the first place. Back in the Iron Age (700 BC - AD 43) people living in the area needed high ground to defend themselves from attack. But the hillforts weren't just used as a look out point - they were often set up as whole villages to live in, work in and grow food too. Some of the forts were so massive, it is thought that they were also created to show the power of the people who created them.
Because of their steep slopes, high ramparts and exposed locations, hillforts are often grazed by sheep rather than ploughed for crops. Grassland rich with flowers has been able to develop on these sites making them fantastic places to see rare flowers, butterflies & insects.