Borough Hill & Cracks Hill

Borough Hill

An imposing feature on the eastern side of Daventry, Borough Hill has been used by humans for thousands of years and is the site of one of the largest ancient hill forts in the country.

Today it is maintained as a country park by Daventry District Council, offering spectacular views of the surrounding area as well as providing a haven for local wildlife and a popular spot for dog walkers.

History

Remains have been found on the hill of two Iron Age hill forts, two Bronze Age barrows and of a later Roman villa and farming settlement. Items from the Neolithic period, the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Saxon and Viking periods have also been unearthed.

The site was first excavated in 1823 by historian and archaeologist George Baker, who discovered the remains of the Roman villa. The remains were then fully excavated and recorded in 1852 by local historian Beriah Botfield. His notes, manuscripts and some of the antiquities found are now kept at the British Museum. The site is designated as a Scheduled Monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

The hill also played a role in the build-up to the Battle of Naseby on 14 June 1645, which saw the Royalist Army of King Charles I crushed by Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army. The Royalist army used Borough Hill as a base in the week leading up to the decisive battle, before moving off towards Market Harborough and into the path of the Parliamentarian Forces led by Sir Thomas Fairfax.

The BBC began broadcasting from the site in 1925. From 1932 the BBC Empire Service (later the BBC World Service) was broadcast from Borough Hill and the radio announcement of "Daventry calling" made Daventry well-known across the world.

The hill also played an important role in the development of radar, after Robert Watson-Watt successfully demonstrated his invention for the first time on February 26, 1935, using receiving equipment set up near Weedon and the signals transmitted from the BBC station on Borough Hill.

His instruments were able to detect an RAF Heyford bomber flying at 6,000 feet – proving to the Air Ministry the effectiveness of his invention.

The BBC station on Borough Hill remained throughout in place until 1992, when, after 65 years of broadcasting the last transmitter was switched off and the forest of masts that once sat overlooking the town was felled.

Only one mast stands on the site today, owned and operated by Arqiva communications. 

Find out more information in our Conservation Management Plan for Borough Hill

Borough Hill 280.jpg

Getting there:

Borough Hill, Daventry NN11 4NB

Additional information: 

Parking is available free of charge on any of the 24 spaces that are available.

Please note that metal detecting is not permitted on Borough HIll.

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Cracks Hill

Situated between the villages of Crick and Yelvertoft, near bridge 14 of the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal, Crack's Hill offers fantastic panoramic views of north Northamptonshire, Crick and the surrounding area.

History

The hill was created during the last ice age, when melt water deposited material underneath the ice. Once the ice sheet retreated it left a pile of silt and rock behind, forming the hill. More properly it is a moraine formed from the debris left by the retreating glacier.   

The Roman Watling Street runs close by and traces of a Roman building were found within the area of the present-day village of Crick. 

It is  believed the Romans used the hill as a sentry point. Evidence of a large pre-Roman Iron Age settlement has also been found in the area.

Daventry District Council was given stewardship of Crack's Hill in 1999, and manages the site in partnership with the Friends of Crack's Hill. 

Crick Millennium Wood Pocket Park, the Jubilee Wood and the canal towpath are all nearby.

A beacon sits atop the hill along with a plaque explaining the history of the hill and the directions of points of interest.

Please note that metal detecting is not permitted on Cracks Hill.

Cracks Hill

Getting there:

Cracks Hill, Crick NN6 7TF