Solsbury Hill

Solsbury Hill

Location map|Somerset
caption=Location of Solsbury Hill within Somerset.
:"This article is about the hill called Solsbury near the city of Bath. For the Peter Gabriel song, see Solsbury Hill (song)."

Little Solsbury Hill (more commonly known as Solsbury Hill) is a small flat-topped hill above the village of Batheaston in Somerset, England. The hill rises to convert|625|ft|m|0|lk=on [cite book |title=The hidden places of Somerset |last=Scott |first=Shane |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1995 |publisher=Travel Publishing Ltd |location=Aldermaston |isbn=1902007018 |pages=16 ] above the River Avon which is just over convert|1|mi|km|0|lk=on to the south. It is within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It gives impressive views of the city of Bath and the surrounding area. The hill was immortalized in 1976 by Peter Gabriel in his song 'Solsbury Hill'.

It is sometimes misspelled as "Salisbury", or "Solisbury", perhaps because of confusion with Salisbury Plain (a plateau in southern England), or the city of Salisbury. Salisbury and Solsbury can be difficult to distinguish in speech. Alternatively it may be connected with the Celtic god Sulis who is associated with nearby Bath.

History and Archaeology

The hill was an Iron Age hill fort occupied between 300 BC and 100 BC, comprising a triangular area enclosed by a single "univallate" rampart, faced inside and out with well-built dry stone walls and infilled with rubble. The rampart was convert|20|ft|m|0 wide and the outer face was at least convert|12|ft|m|0 high. The top of the hill was cleared down to the bedrock, then substantial huts were built with wattle and daub on a timber-frame. After a period of occupation, some of the huts were burnt down, the rampart was overthrown, and the site was abandoned, never to be reoccupied. This event is probably part of the Belgic invasion of Britain in the early part of the 1st century BC.

The hill is near the Fosse Way Roman Road as it descends into Batheaston on its way to Aquae Sulis.

Solsbury Hill is a possible location of the Battle of Mount Badon, fought between the Britons (under the legendary King Arthur) and the Saxons c. 496, mentioned by the chroniclers Gildas and Nennius.


The slopes are a classic example of limestone grassland reflecting the underlying geology of the area. This limestone habitat supports a wide range of specialist plants and animals, including some rare species. Examples of plant species found here are Bird's Foot Trefoil, vetches, Greater Knapweed, and Bee and Pyramidal Orchids.

Insect species that may be present include the Six-spotted Burnet Moth and a number of butterflies including Chalkhill Blues and Meadow Fritillary.

The Grassland has not been improved through any agricultural practice. The Yellow meadow ant hills are evidence of this. These grassy mounds show that the site has not been ploughed for at least fifty years.

The skylark nests on the hill. Its liquid warbling of short trills is usually the first thing to be expected by the observer. This is followed by the sight of a small fluttering and hovering speck high in the sky. This is the song-flight of the Skylark, lasting up to an hour and reaching heights of up to 300m.

The skylark population has halved since 1990. It is believed this is because of intensification of farm practices leading to the loss of habitat and available food supply. The management of grassland and scrub is important to allow these birds to flourish.

Cultural references

Solsbury Hill is also the inspiration for rock musician Peter Gabriel's first solo single in 1977, which reached the 13th and 68th positions on the UK and US record charts respectively.

Contemporary Issues

People protesting against the building of an A46 bypass road cut a small turf maze into the hill during its construction in the mid-1990s.


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Solsbury Hill — Chartplatzierungen Erklärung der Daten Singles Solsbury Hill   DE 16 11.07.1977 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Solsbury Hill — Para la canción de Peter Gabriel, véase Solsbury Hill (canción). Planta triangular de Solsbury Hill. Erróneamente conocida como Salsbury Hill Es una famosa colina con una cima llana, situada junto al pueblo de Batheaston en el condado de Somerset …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Solsbury Hill (canción) — Para la colina inglesa, véase Solsbury Hill. Solsbury Hill es una canción del cantante y compositor inglés Peter Gabriel. Su letra habla del misticismo que el autor experimentó en lo alto de la colina de Solsbury Hill en el condado de Somerset,… …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Bataille de Badon Hill — Bataille du Mont Badon Bataille du Mont Badon Informations générales Date vers 500 Lieu incertain Issue victoire bretonne Belligérants Bretons Saxons …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Peter Gabriel — Infobox Musical artist Name = Peter Gabriel Img capt = Peter Gabriel at Chateau Neuf, Oslo, Norway, 31 August 1978. Photo: Helge Øverås Background = solo singer Born = Birth date and age|1950|2|13|df=yes Origin = Chobham, Surrey, England… …   Wikipedia

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