One of my favourites subjects has always been history. I don’t know what it is in particular that draws me in, but it really does. Even now, as an adult I still love history and it’s been fantastic to learn alongside the children since September, and learn parts of history that I knew very little about!
One of those areas was about the Celts and the Iron Age. It’s been fabulous to learn about this part of history and understand how this fits into the Romans and the later stages of history.
Over the weekend, one of our friends (who runs our history group) had discovered that, quite literally, ten minutes up the road(!) there is an iron age hill fort site, complete with a replica roundhouse. I couldn’t believe it, and as we had a free morning today I decided we would head there to have a look around.
The Hill Fort
As you’d expect, the hill fort is situated on a hill. Today was a rather windy day and we talked about why this site would have been used as a settlement. We had some fabulous views across to Manchester from up on the hill fort and we talked about how, when this was first established, there wouldn’t have been the buildings that we can see today, but instead they’d have been able to spot any changes in weather patterns, any other settlements and any advancing tribes. There would have been good sight of the cattle and probably a lot more trees and fields than are there now.
When we got out of the car, we talked about how windy it was up there and how that might have felt in the Iron Age. We headed over to the various signs to have a look at what they said and then we headed to the re-created roundhouse.
The roundhouse itself is, obviously, not an original but was recreated in (I think) 2018. The roundhouse is around a third of the size of what it would have been, but it does a fabulous job of giving you a feel for what it would have felt like.
We headed across the small field to the roundhouse and we talked about what we thought it would feel like inside. I must add at this point that we were frozen – it was super windy and bitterly cold with it. The children said they thought it would be cold and that they hoped there was a fire set up for them to get warm!
I think we were all surprised at how calm it felt inside and how soon we started to warm up. They’re incredibly effective buildings and the children were surprised how spacious it felt inside, compared to how small it looked from the outside.
We looked at the construction of the roundhouse and the children could see the wattle and daub construction (and did have a sniff to see if it was authentically made of animals waste!).
We talked about how the space might have been split for cooking and sleeping and how it might have felt living there compared to how we live today.
Finding the Mellor Roundhouse
If you want to take a visit to the Mellor Roundhouse and Hill Fort it’s really easy to find. Wrap up warm and wear boots as the site was muddy when we went, but it’s worth a stop if you’re in the area.
Head to the Parish Church of Mellor – St Thomas’ which is on Church Road, Mellor, Stockport SK6 5LX. The church itself is a English Heritage listed building and, had we not been quite so cold, would have stopped in to have a look inside.
There is a good size car park where you can park and you will see a sign for the Mellor Archaeological Trust. This gives a bit of information about the site and the work that has been undertaken there. There is a large gate a small still here (to the right of the church and the entrance to the vicarage). If you go over this you’ll be in a small field and you’ll spot the roundhouse at the far end.
There’s an information sign that provides some information about the site too which is worth a read, and various sign around the site.
In between the entrance to the church and vicarage there is a small bridge that takes you into a small archaeological site which is worth a stop and a look around. I intend to visit again in the summer so we can enjoy it a bit more – today was just a bit too cold and the children just a little too small to fully appreciate the information.
Find out more
I didn’t know about this site before this weekend, and it’s prompted me to read more about the work of the Mellor Archaeological Trust. You too can read more at the links below: