Bickerton Hill


Bickerton Hill

Bickerton Hill refers to two low red sandstone hills in West Cheshire. The northerly hill lies on the north side of the A534, south-west of the Peckforton Hills; its high point, Raw Head (SJ 508 548; 227 m), is a Marilyn. [ [http://bubl.ac.uk/org/tacit/marilyns/region36.htm The Relative Hills of Britain: The Marilyns By Region: Region 36 Lancashire, Cheshire and the Southern Pennines] (accessed 13 February 2008)] The southerly hill (193 m) lies on the south side of the A534, immediately north-west of the hamlet of Bickerton.

ites of Special Scientific Interest

The birch woods and heathland of the southerly hill have been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as one of the few lowland heath sites remaining in Cheshire. [http://www.english-nature.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/1002397.pdf English Nature: Bickerton Hill] ] [http://www.english-nature.org.uk/special/sssi/unitlist.cfm?sssi_id=1002397 English Nature: SSSI units for Bickerton Hill] ] Around 300 acres (90%) are managed by the National Trust.'Bickerton Hill' (National Trust sign, Bickerton Hill carpark)] The Raw Head area of the northerly hill has also been designated an SSSI. [ [http://www.natureonthemap.org.uk/map.aspx Natural England: Nature on the Map] (search on "Raw Head"; site code 1002200) (accessed 13 February 2008))]

The area is rich in wildlife, including reptiles (adder, slow-worm and common lizard), birds (pied flycatcher, nuthatch, treecreeper, great spotted woodpecker, green woodpecker and several species of raptor) and insects (Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper and Green Hairstreak butterflies, Bleached Pug and Alder Kitten moths, glow worm and soldier beetle). Heathland plants include ling, bell heather, cross leaved heath, wavy hair grass and bilberry.

Bickerton Hill is included in the Cheshire Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). [http://www.cheshire-biodiversity.org.uk/habitat-heathland.htm Cheshire Region Biodiversity Partnership: Heathland Local Biodiversity Action Plan] ] Recent management has aimed to preserve the heathland from encroachment by birches and bracken.

Maiden Castle

An iron age promontory hill fort dated around 600 BC, Maiden Castle, is located on the southernmost peak of the southerly hill at 212 m. [http://www2.cheshire.gov.uk/Archaeology/RCP/MaidenCastle.htm Cheshire County Council: Maiden Castle] ] [http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=5579 Megalithic Portal: Maiden Castle] ] The double line of earth ramparts are still visible, forming a semi-circle that encloses an area of convert|1.3|acre|m2 adjacent to the cliff edge. The enclosure has a single entrance with inturned defensive banks. Both ramparts are strengthened by dry stone walling, according to archeological investigation; the inner rampart also has timber strapping.

The fort was destroyed by fire in around 400 BC, although the area was probably used as a settlement until around the 1st century AD. The site is well preserved despite 17th century quarrying of the area. The remaining earthworks have been designated a Scheduled Monument.

Recreational use

The Sandstone Trail runs over the top of the two hills, and the area is popular with walkers. [ [http://www.cheshire.gov.uk/countryside/Walking/linear_trails/sandstone/ The Sandstone Trail.] "Cheshire County Council" website. Retrieval Date: March 7, 2008.] 8500 walkers on the Sandstone Trail were recorded by the National Trust between January and March 2006.

Other features

The high point on Raw Head bears a trig point. [ [http://jeremyp.net/trigpoint/list-trigpoints.php?SearchType=gridref&GridSquare=SJ&Eastings=508&Northings=548 United Kingdom Trig Points: Search for trigpoints near SJ 50800 54800] (accessed 21 February 2008)] Immediately north of the Raw Head summit, near the Sandstone Trail, is the Droppingstone Well, which bears a plaque dated 1861. A photograph of 1910 shows the well in use by locals. [Cheshire County Council: Notice south of Raw Head summit] A disused copper mine chimney in red sandstone is located at the foot of the northerly hill near Gallantry Bank, adjacent to the A534. Dating from the early 19th century, it is a rare remnant of the copper mining industry in this area. The copper mine was owned by the Egerton family of Oulton, and is thought to have been operational in 1697. [ [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/details/default.aspx?id=56843 Images of England: Sandstone chimney to former Copper Mine] (accessed 21 February 2008)]

A 2008 proposal to construct a 60 m wind-monitoring mast adjacent to Bickerton Hill met with local protest, [http://www.creweguardian.co.uk/mostpopular.var.1969558.mostcommented.fight_against_blot_on_the_landscape.php Anon. Fight against blot on the landscape. "Crewe and Nantwich Guardian" (16 January 2008)] (accessed 11 February 2008)] [ [http://www.creweandnantwichguardian.co.uk/search/display.var.2003705.0.protests_mount_over_wind_mast_plan.php Thompson A. Protests mount over wind mast plan. "Crewe and Nantwich Guardian" (30 January 2008)] (accessed 11 February 2008)] and was rejected by Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council. [ [http://iccheshireonline.icnetwork.co.uk/chesterchronicle/news/regional/tm_headline=wind-farm-blown-away&method=full&objectid=20449863&siteid=50020-name_page.html Ellams B. Wind farm blown away. "Chester Chronicle" (8 February 2008)] (accessed 11 February 2008)]

References


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