Solsbury Hill – Bath and North East Somerset, England - Atlas Obscura

Solsbury Hill

An Iron Age hillfort rooted in Arthurian legend was made famous by musician Peter Gabriel.  


The Battle of Badon Hill, which is believed to have taken place around the late 5th to early 6th century, is one of the most significant battles featured in Arthurian legend.

According to sources dating back as early as the 9th century, it’s said that King Arthur led Celtic Briton forces along Badon Hill to face Anglo-Saxon armies. A battle in which Arthur emerged victorious. While the battle itself is believed to have actually taken place, the involvement of King Arthur is naturally uncertain.

There are several contenders for the exact location of Badon Hill, or Mons Badonicus as it’s known in Latin, and one of them is Little Solsbury Hill in the village of Batheaston, Somerset, England.

At 625 feet (191 meters) high, the hill offers amazing views of Bath, which is located a little less than four miles away. Sometime during the Iron Age, the local Celtic tribespeople—who possibly named it after Sulis, the local goddess of hot springs—constructed a fort on the hill and established a small settlement with drystone walls and wattle-and-daub huts. However, it was abandoned sometime before the 1st century B.C.

Though the hill has a fascinating history and is home to numerous animals, birds, and plants, it remains relatively obscure except for references in popular culture. It was famously described in the song “Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel. 

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April 22, 2020

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