Hillfort Glow evaluation
An experiment to explore the intervisibility between ten hillforts across north east Wales and Cheshire and their connection with their local communities.
Inspired by the ‘Iluminating Hadrian’s Wall’ Event in Northumberland in Spring 2010 and recent research into intervisibility between hillforts in the mid-Marches by David Matthews, an event was proposed to take on a theme of involving local people within the vicinity of each hillfort in a mass experiment to try and communicate between the hillforts using light.
The event was to focus on raising the profile of the projects and their hillforts with the following themes:
* Experimenting with light across the landscape
* Community involvement
* Historical relevance
* Communities past and present- connecting people with their ancestors
‘Glow’ hillforts include: Maiden Castle, Beeston Castle, Kelsborrow, Helsby, Burton Point, Moel y Gaer Rhosesmor, Penycloddiau, Moel Arthur, Moel Fenlli and Caer Drewyn.
A snap shot of the feedback received following the event
Following the event, a questionnaire requesting feedback was sent to all participants. The following feedback was received:
"A great evening on Caer Drewyn hillfort. We were told about the event by a speaker at a walk-leading course organised by Conwy council then searched for it to find out more. We knew there were hillforts on the Clwydian Range but had not visited any. We did not even know about our one and it did add to our knowledge of the forts. The event was very well organised and successful and we enjoyed it very much. (from Llandudno!)"
"Well organised. Marshals/supervisors helpful and informative. Could have been better advertised."
"We all enjoyed it, was a great family outing, educational as well as fun!"
"It was well organised and the staff on the night were well-prepared and friendly."
"This was a very interesting evening and with the super moon it was enjoyable in its own way. The area was well covered and I believe ‘we’ saw everyone else. An interesting concept - how much further would it reach into Wales or Cheshire/Wirral?"
"Really good fun. Could it be an annual event? Perhaps on Guy Fawkes night, or St David’s day, or even possibly new years eve? Or mid-summer night at midnight!"
"This was really interesting and also tremendous fun! It was very well organised: not just coordinating the flares etc but also getting that number of people up and down Foel Fenli safely. It was a lovely touch that they’d brought cake and hot chocolate, please pass on my thanks and appreciation to our stewards."
"Thank you for including me in the group on Moel Arthur this weekend. It was not only a wonderful project to be part of, but an amazing experience. The flares, lights and the super moon and the lovely people. It was an experience not to be missed. Thank you."
"Maybe too much walking time - it was somewhat chilly up there!"
"This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience in every way - well organised by friendly yet efficient folk!"
"Thoroughly enjoyed this event but wished we’d taken your advice and had a hot drink with us! The event was well organised and well coordinated with a good mix of ages taking part and it was great to see the Scouts involved!"
"It was great fun and a special experience when the flares went up from the hillforts on the Wirral and in Cheshire. The bara brith was a welcome extra. I would love to take part in any future events."
"Just to say how much I enjoyed the hillfort evening. It was great fun and very interesting. We were lucky that the large full moon was on the same night or was that great planning? The bara brith was also much appreciated. Many thanks to Helen for giving us such a fun time. Anything else I would love to be involved."
"Great evening, very informative. An interesting and enjoyable project."
"I would like to express our thanks to the organised of the hillfort glow event, especially to Helen and Rachel on the Penycloddiau site. We had a really interesting evening- if a little cold! We learnt lots about the hillforts in general, and Penycloddiau in particular and it was great to join in with the signalling to the other forts. Thanks very much for allowing Denbigh scouts to be part of this experience."
Follow the link to view the "wild places blog."
Moel y Gaer
"I very much enjoyed the event and learning more about our local hillforts."
"We really enjoyed the event - we’ve been up this (and several other) hillforts many times but this felt very special and unique. It was amazing seeing the flares go up and the signals from the other hills - especially at the end when the whole set went up together. I feel very lucky to have been part of such an experiment - right on our doorstep! Part of my family has lived on the mountain for many generations and I couldn’t help wondering if my ancestors had seen similar lights! Thanks for a well organised and interesting event."
"A great pity bonfires are not allowed. Rhosesmor has a tradition of bonfires eg coronation, royal wedding, end of war. Great procession led by men on horseback carrying lighted flames. Set off from the Cross Keys. Mrs Unwin in Rhosesmor may have pictures of her father, a great character, on his horse. My father lit the last [bonfire] on the bump before you got the the reservoir in 1960."
"I really enjoyed the event. It’s good to see people getting together in the countryside, it fosters community awareness. I thought the tea and cakes were a nice touch"
"I thought the event was excellent due to the knowledge of the archaeologist and the RSPB warden. It was wonderful to imagine back in time people with their fires able to signal each other. We would both love to volunteer for anything else."
"Thank you for letting my husband and I join the Burton Point glowers!! It was a fantastic experience and I just couldn’t believe we would see so many hillforts as we did. As we all said if all the lights were off so no light pollution and each hillfort had a huge fire then we would have seen them so clearly but the torches were exceptional. PS the RSPB warden was great too."
"Thank you for a wonderful experience and a very enchanting evening! I was delighted the experiment was a success."
"We would like to thank you for the opportunity to take part in the event, we thoroughly enjoyed the evening and learnt a lot about the hillforts in our region. The communication between the sites worked brilliantly. Well done to all involved."
"It was an excellent evening, extremely well organised and very good fun."
"The evening event was a great success and I enjoyed it. I am very interested in history and the past. Thank you for letting me take part."
"I knew very little about hillforts before this event which obviously was a great success. Had the weather been rainy or overcast the outcome would have been very different!!"
"Very enjoyable and well organised. Helped along by the weather. The welsh cakes were wonderful thanks to Ellie."
"I really enjoyed this very well organised event. Thanks for organising it. It was good to feel part of something historic."
"I would like to thank you so much for letting me be a part of the event. It was a really enjoyable experience as well as being informative."
"We all thoroughly enjoyed it, especially being part of a larger group of like-minded people scattered across Wales and Cheshire."
"A well organised and interesting event. I was assisting Ellie by monitoring timing. The fine weather and the rising of the large moon added to the enjoyment and interest."
"Very well organised an enjoyable event. Good information supplied. Staff for the event were very knowledgeable. Good crowd of people, would like to be involved as a volunteer in any future projects."
"Loved the event."
"It was a really good night, enjoyed being part of it."
"We had a fantastic time, we’d love to take part in anything to do with the hillforts again, thanks so much for organising it!"
"Thank you for arranging the experiment. You couldn’t have organised any better night, the weather was great and the excitement of seeing all the other sites winking their torches at each other was magical."
"I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and was much more interesting than I expected. We were lucky to have such a spectacular view of the moon. A great sense of history!"
"I was fortunate enough to take part in the hillfort glow at Beeston Castle last night - and what a wonderful and memorable event it was! It felt thrilling to communicate successfully by light with seven of the other nine hillforts, just as our ancient ancestors might have done, and an experience that will stay with me for a long time. My sincere thanks for making this such a memorable occasion. Wishing I could do it all again."
"There had clearly been a lot of preparation work for the event and we were impressed at how smoothly it went. The gentleman who coordinated our event was excellent and very informative. Many thanks for an enjoyable evening!"
"Thanks for organi sing the hillfort glow event, which was brilliant to be a part of. David Matthews who coordinated our site at Kelsborrow proved to be a wealth of information and really put the various sites and the experiment in genera into context for us. Thanks again to you and to all those who helped make the evening possible. It was really something to remember."
"This for me was fantastic, literally a week or so before finding out about this event a group of us were doing some work around the hillforts in north Wales and had come to a pretty definite conclusion that there was a communication link between them all using fires/lights as signals, linking through Gop Hill at Trelawnydd and possibly further through to the copper mines at Llandudno and maybe further on to Anglesey. We didn’t get as far as linking in through to Cheshire and the Wirral so this was an amazing chance for me to consolidate the work that we had already suspected and have it scientifically proved that it was at least possible."
"Big thank you to Colin Slater and Dave Morris for their help in escorting me and hubby down to our car after the hillfort glow at Maiden Castle. We really enjoyed it."
"It was a most interesting and worthwhile evening."