Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake

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Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Looking from Barrow Wake to Crickley Hill
Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake is located in Gloucestershire
Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake
Location within Gloucestershire
Area of Search Gloucestershire
Grid reference SO929161 & SO931154
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Interest Biological/Geological
Area 56.8 hectare
Notification 1974
Natural England website

Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake (grid reference SO929161 & grid reference SO931154) is a 56.8-hectare (140-acre) biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Gloucestershire, notified in 1974.[1][2]

The site (two parts) lies within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was formerly known as Crickley Hill and includes some of a site known as Tuffleys Quarry. Part of the site is owned and managed by Gloucestershire County Council and the National Trust as a Country Park.[1][3] The Cotswold Way National Trail passes through Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake.[4]

Barrow Wake and Tuffley's Quarry are listed in the 'Cotswold District' Local Plan 2001-2011 (on line) as Key Wildlife Sites.[5] Crickley Hill is listed in the 'Cotswold District' Local Plan 2001-2011 (on line) as an SSSI and Regionally Important Geological Site.[6][7]


The site lies south of Cheltenham on the Cotswold scarp and it supports a range of habitats characteristic of the Cotswold limestone. It includes species rich grassland, semi-natural woodland, scrub and particularly nationally important rock exposures.[1][3]

Biological interest

The site supports several types of grassland and the turf contains many lime-loving herbs. There are several species of orchid recorded such as Early purple orchid, Bee Orchid, and Musk Orchid. Viper's Bugloss flowers in abundance. This diversity supports a varied invertebrate fauna (butterflies, moths and local snails).[1][3]

The site includes the Scrubbs and Crickley Woods which are areas of mature Beech woodland with regenerating Beech and Ash.[1][3] Short Wood is an area of Oak parkland.[3]

The scarp slopes provide basking areas for Adders.[3]

Geological interest

The rock exposures constitute a key Jurassic locality and show a major section in the Lower Inferior Oolite. There are extensive exposures of Lower and Middle Jurassic rocks and these exhibit the best sections in the Cotswolds in the Pea Grit and the overlying Coral Bed.[1][3]

Crickley Hill is part of the Cotswold escarpment which runs from Dorset to the Yorkshire Coast. The stone has been quarried for hundreds of years and was probably used for dry stone walling.[3]


There is evidence of settlements over 5000 years back. As the soil is thin on the Hill the evidence lies close to the surface under the grassland. The site has been excavated each summer period from 1969 to 1993 and is considered to be of international importance as a result of the findings. These point to occupation by humans over 4000 years (Neolithic period) to a post-Roman period.[3]

The archaeologists have stayed regularly at Ullenwood Camp close to Crickley Hill for the excavation period.

Crickley Hill Country Park

The Crickley Hill Country Park was established in 1979 with assistance from the then Countryside Commission. Access to the countryside at this Park provides limestone grassland; beech woodlands, oak parkland; an archaeological site and panoramic views.[3]

There is a range of self-guided trails with supporting leaflets. These include Hill Fort Trail; Scrubbs Trail; Scarp Trail; Family Trail and Park Trail. There are also circular walks of different lengths (5 and 8.5 miles).[3]

Crickley Hill is wardened by Gloucestershire Country Council Sites Warden Service and volunteers from the Cotswold Warden Service.[3]


Archaeological publications

  • Dixon, Philip, 1994, The Hillfort Defences, Crickley Hill, Volume 1, with contributions by Alvey, R C, Elsdon, S, Firman, R, Gelling, M, Haldane, J W, Sturgess, J, Crickley Hill Trust and the Department of Archaeology, University of Nottingham
  • Cunliffe B, 1984, Gloucestershire and the Iron Age of Southern Britain, Transactions of the Bristol Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 102:5-15.
  • Dixon, P W, 1979, A Neolithic and Iron Age site on a hill top in southern England, Scientific American 241(5):42-50.
  • Dixon, P W, 1977, Crickley Hill and Gloucestershire Prehistory, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucester.

SSSI Source

External links