- Bardon Hill
Name = Bardon Hill
Photo = Quarry Bardon Hill.jpg
Caption = Bardon Hill Quarry
Elevation = 278 m (912 ft)
Charnwood Forest, England
Prominence = "c." 170 m
Parent peak =
OS "Landranger" 129
Easiest route =
Grid_ref_UK = SK459131
Listing = Marilyn, County Top
Bardon Hill, near
Coalville, is the highest point in the English countyof Leicestershireand the National Forest, 278 metres (912 feet) above sea level. The hill has two very distinct faces – one half preserved as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), the other removed by Bardon Hill Quarry. It is also the site of a radio mast. The second highest hill in Leicestershire is the nearby Beacon Hill.
Bardon Hill has been the site of a
quarrysince at least 1622. A small quarry is shown on a map of 1835, with large scale working starting in 1857. In 1877, it was described as "great", and in 1890 as "much enlarged". The quarry is currently owned by Aggregate Industries.
In 1840, the then beautiful deer park was chosen as a picnic spot for a visit by Queen Adelaide, the Queen Dowager. T.R.Potter describes the Royal scene in "The History of Charnwood Forest" – Her Majesty, in a dress of elegant simplicity suited to the occasion, supported by Earl Howe, and her Royal sister (the
Duchess of Saxe Weimar) by Lord Curzon, ascended the steep with great apparent ease. On arriving at the summit, upwards of an hour was spent in the enjoyment of the wonderful prospect, of which her Majesty frequently expressed her admiration – Lord Howe pointing out the many remarkable near and distinct objects which the fineness of the day brought within the reach of view.
The Queen’s repast was laid out on the grass on the east side of the Summer House, but her Majesty, finding the sun oppressive, wished to remove to the adjoining shade – and setting the example, took up the first dish, and was followed by the rest of the party, all bearing some portion of the viands. The place selected by the Queen for the rural banquet has since been named “ADELAIDE’S BOWER.”
Potter also notes of the view from Bardon Hill that ‘it probably commands a greater extent of surface than any other point of view on the island’ and that ‘An outline, described from the extremity of this view, would include nearly one-fourth of
Englandand Wales. It may be deemed one of the most extraordinary points of view in Nature’. This feature of the hill has not escaped the notice of the telecoms companies and large transmitters and radio masts have replaced both the Summer House and Queen Adelaide’s Bower. The view is still there and on a clear day you can see the Sugar Loaf in South Wales, the Malvern and Shropshire Hills, summits in North Walesand Derbyshireand Lincoln Cathedral.
An unlikely but nonetheless enticing local legend suggests that Bardon Hill is actually the Mons Badon of
King Arthurfame. It is known that Romano-Britishand Celtsseverely defeated an invading Anglo-Saxon army at the Battle of Mons Badonicussome time around the year 500. It was a major military and political event of the 5th/6th century in Britain, but there is no certainty about its date or place. Bede's ' Ecclesiastical History of the English People' names Ambrosius Aurelius, a Roman, as the man who led the Britons to victory at the battle, but by the 9th century the victory was attributed to King Arthur.
Local stories claim that Arthur watched the approach of the Saxons from the summit of the hill and that his forces then swept down the hill and massacred them. A nearby field name is still referred to as `Battle Flat', and the legend also claims that the dead were buried at nearby
Cliffe Hill Mineral Railway
* The History of Charnwood Forest. The Villages of the District, T.R.Potter, 1842, Hamilton, Adams and Co. Reprinted by Reprint – David Dover, Loughborough
* [http://www.leicesterclimbs.f9.co.uk/BardonhillI.htm Leicester Climbs - Bardon Hill introduction]
* Computer generated summit panorama [http://www.viewfinderpanoramas.org/panoramas/ENG/Bardon.gifBardon Hill] [http://www.viewfinderpanoramas.org/panoramas.html index]
* [http://www.aggregate.com/history/bardon_hill_quarries.aspx Aggregate Industries - Bardon Hill Quarries 1858 - 1918] An Introduction Part 1
* [http://uk.geocities.com/emiougs/bardon_quarry.htm Bardon Quarry geology]
* [http://www.britishwalks.org/walks/2005/662.php A circular walk to Bardon Hill]
* [http://www.leicesterchronicler.com/origins.htm The Origins of Leicester – An Arthurian Association?]
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