We went to Cheltenham for our son’s graduation, and the next day we went for a bracing walk on Crickley Hill, which is owned and run by the National Trust.

The wind was bitterly cold and the hilltop exposed, but the views were wonderful, and we could make out the hills of Wales.

I love this hill because it is the site of ancient settlements going back to the Neolithic period, and if you’ve read my Darkeningstone books, you’ll know that I’m fascinated by these things.

I’m sure people built on this spot at least partly for the unrivalled views over the surrounding countryside, but there may have been other reasons too, such as the view of the setting and rising sun.

There’s not much to see in terms of evidence of settlement on the hill. Sadly, people fought over the spot, and the settlements were destroyed several times. There was even an Iron Age fort, but it was attacked and over 400 arrowheads were found near the place where its entrance stood. The site was finally abandoned, but there are some small concrete circles set into the ground to give you an idea of where the buildings stood.

A view from Cheltenham all the way across Shropshire and to the hills of Wales in the distance.

Lottie trotting among the windswept trees.

You could see the moon, and it just about shows here, to the left and above the pleasantly gnarled tree.

A view down the hill.

Tracks like these always remind me of a Devonshire Mysteries cover.

The leaves of these beech trees caught the wintry sunlight beautifully.

Sue catching a falling leaf for good luck.

All the leaves are falling. Okay, I cheated by throwing some leaves in the air.

Lottie loves a forest on account of the smells.

Another shot of the beech wood.

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