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Kelsborrow Castle

OS Grid ref:- SJ532676

Kelsborrow Castle is an Iron Age hill fort situated by the village of Kellsall near Northwich.

Kelsborrow Castle Hill Fort and the view from the site of the fort

Kelsborrow CastleKelsborrow Castle

Hill forts are fortified hill-top settlements which were constructed across England during the Iron Age. Along with Eddisbury Hillfort and Oakmere, Kelsborrow forms a small cluster of Cheshire Iron Age hill forts within 3 miles of each other , near the Mouldsworth Gap, a break in the central ridge that runs north-south through Cheshire. The hill forts at Eddisbury and Oakmere lie to the north-east and east respectively.

Kelsborrow is located on a natural headland framed by steep slopes to the west and Boothsdale to the east. A single curved bank and external ditch enclose about 9 acres of the hill. The fort has been quite badly damaged in recent years, having been heavily ploughed and cut across by field boundaries. An early palstave and a fragment of an iron sword were discovered at the site in 1810. The promontory fort, which is oval in shape, has steep natural slopes to its south-west and south-east sides, while an earthen rampart with an outer ditch encloses the north side. A mesolithic blade and 2 Neolithic polished stone axes found nearby support the idea that the promontary may have been important long before the enclosing bank was built.

An artist's impression impression of how the fort may have appeared and a stone axe hammer found close to Cheshire's sandstone ridge

Kelsborrow Hill FortKelsborrow Hill Fort

The original entrance was probably located around the south-eastern end of the rampart, directly above steep natural slopes. On the North side, there is a waterfilled pit on the line of the ditch and the rampart has been reduced opposite it almost to ground level. The defences were probably topped by a wooden palisade.

Geophysical surveys and small-scale archaeological excavations conducted in 1973 and 1996 indicate that there may be structures such as storage pits buried within the hill fort. Limited excavations of the site suggest that the massive ramparts were of a type known as timber 'box ramparts.'

Kelsbarrow is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Route to Kelsborrow Castle from Kelsall

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