21.3.15

Saxon warriors crush Viking invaders and plant Yew trees to celebrate

And now a few thousand years later we have Kingley Vale a rare Yew wood climbing up the chalky walls of the South Downs.

What no Moors ......... alas no ........... today I stayed local (13 miles from home) for a gentle walk around a beautiful and rare gem hidden in the folds of the downs.



12,000 Years ago at the end of the Ice age Kingley vale slowly repaired from under the crushing ice sheet that covered it. Slowly nature, with her infinte patience, re-populated the land with both beast and foliage.

Back then the area would have been part of "The Wildwood" and a tanlged mix of woodland, scrub and grasslands. Here deer and Aurochs roamed, herds of wild horses would be seen grazing the grasslands as well as predators like wolves and bears not to mention our own ancestors.






 Later in the Stone, Bronze and Iron ages early farmers cleared much of the wildwood and opened the land up for grazing - they also built hill forts and raised burial mounds such as the ones found at the Devils humps.

                                                              







The Romans came and built a temple on the hill ...........

And then in AD 895 the Norsemen came. Legend has it that a viking raiding party travelled through the vale on its way back to their ships. The Saxon warlord from near by Chichester mustered his Thegns and warriors and cut the norsemen off in the valley bottom.

The Saxons had a great victory and by way of celebration and memorial plants a grove of Yew trees at the site of the battle.


Let sleeping Dragons lay ............ 
                                 




War came the vale once more centuries laters as British and Canadian troops mustered in and around the south downs prior to the D-Day lands and Kingley Vale was no exception. The Yew woods and the skys above the vale were often the training grounds of Spitfire pilot and it is said that the Yews still bear the scares of Spitfire straifing runs ........






Memorial to a downed POLISH Hurricane pilot who died in the vale after a dog fight with a German 109

                                        

What a cracking little walk - a journey through history with some amazing views across the Solent and the Downs.


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