ORGANISERS from the Cheshire West and Chester Council Habitats and Hillforts Project have announced a second attempt at the Hillfort Glow experiment.
This involves local people close to ten hillforts on the Sandstone Ridge, the Clwydian Range, Mynydd-y-Gaer Corwen, Halkyn Mountain and the Wirral, trying to communicate between the hillforts using torch light.
An appeal for volunteers from local communities is being made to take part in this very special historical experiment on Saturday, March 19 when communication is attempted between ten ancient hillforts.
At dusk, on the evening of the March full moon, Cheshire West and Chester’s Habitats and Hillforts Project and north east Wales’ Heather and Hillforts Project will be heading for the hills. Flares will be launched from the hillforts followed by torch light at Maiden Castle, Beeston Castle, Kelsborrow, Helsby, Burton Point, Moel y Gaer Rhosesmor, Penycloddiau, Moel Arthur, Moel Fenlli and Caer Drewyn.
Iron Age settlements can be found on many of the summits of the Sandstone Ridge, Clwydian Range and surrounding hills, dating back around 2,500 years. Most of the hillforts across the surrounding landscape can be seen from each other.
The experiment, originally scheduled for December 2010 but postponed due to heavy snow, aims to see if the glowing fires could have been seen across the hills and acted as a communication or warning system.
Councillor Richard Short, Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, said: “This is such an exciting and visual experiment, possibly the last time these hillforts were connected in such a way was over 2,000 years ago.
“It was a great disappointment that last year’s attempt was stopped by the snow and ice, I’m sure the team will be successful this time.”
The new date was chosen because March 19 is a full moon evening.
Not only will this hopefully provide extra light, it will create even more ambiance for the experiment, trying to recreate something that may not have been done for around 2,500 years, since the Iron Age.
Circles, such as the full moon, are very important features of Celtic Art; fluid and concentric images being favoured by our prehistoric ancestors, perhaps seen as a symbol of continuity of birth, life and death or the seasons. The moon would have helped to define seasons and to mark festivals, both very important as the Iron Age people would have been farmers, growing grain.
The experiment takes part on the day before the March equinox, marking the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere.
Flares will be fired from the hillforts, and volunteers will be invited to help with this mass experiment by manning each of the ten hilltops by signaling with torches in an attempt to make contact across the landscape. Places are strictly limited, so to register to help as a volunteer for your local hillfort, visit www.heatherandhillforts.co.uk/
Once registered, volunteers will be sent information packs with exact timings and locations to meet and what to bring.
Further details about the Hillfort Glow can be found at the newly launched Habitats and Hillforts website - www.habitatsandhillforts.co.uk
Habitats and Hillforts and Heather & Hillforts are Landscape Partnership Schemes funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.