Habitat: Broadleaved woodland
ST633253, BA22 7EX
An outlier of the Dorset downs which here just creep over the border into Somerset, local tradition has it that Cadbury Castle is the true site of Camelot, King Arthur’s court. More certainly, it is an Iron Age hilltop fort, with earthworks (some still visible) dated to 400 bc. Nowadays the hill’s flanks are clothed with trees, surrounding a bare crown, and it offers an ideal opportunity to combine some gentle woodland birding, a bit of history, and panoramic views.
All of the expected woodland species are here – Nuthatches, Treecreepers, Jays, Stock Doves, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, and tits including Marsh. An active and noisy rookery is just above the top of the access track. In summer Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs are common, while Garden Warbler also occurs and a pair or two of Whitethroats inhabit the bramble clumps. In winter, flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings often make themselves obvious, and a few Meadow Pipits and Skylarks feed in the grass of the crown. Overhead Buzzards, Kestrels, Sparrowhawks, and Ravens are all likely at any time of year, with Red Kite an increasingly likely possibility.
From the A303 c.2 miles east of Sparkford roundabout, take the exit for South Cadbury and turn south for c.1 mile through the village. Park in the small car park (free) on the left-hand side by the farm, then walk back 100 yards to the track between two cottages.
Free and open access all year. A steep, rough track up to the castle and undulating paths along earth banks once there – some areas are muddy in winter or after rain. Boots or strong shoes required. Not suitable for wheelchairs or those with mobility or stamina issues.
About the Site
Owned by the National Trust