Roundway Hill in Wiltshire has excellent views of the local countryside and the fort is full of Iron Age archaeological history. But the site also offers a taste of more recent politics and warfare, in a place known as the Bloody Ditch found on the northern side of the hill fort.
During the English Civil War, supporters of Parliamentary rule clashed with supporters of the monarchy. The Battle of Roundway Down on July 13, 1643 proved a resounding victory for the Royalists over the Parliamentarians. Under the leadership of Sir William Waller, the Parliamentarian flank attempted to flee towards the hilltop fort, but they were pursued by the Royalist Cavalry led by Sir John Byron. The fleeing Parliamentarians were forced to gallop over a 300-foot (91 m) precipice at the edge of Roundway Down. So many died at the foot of these hills that the area became known as the Bloody Ditch.
As a result of its association with the Civil War, the hill fort became known as Oliver’s Castle—even though Oliver Cromwell was not present at the battle of Roundway.