Woodbury Hill

Woodbury Hill, is situated in south-west of the Great Witley parish and is the site of an ancient hill fort covering 26 acres.

Woodbury Hill was the site of a fortified camp as long ago as the Bronze Age. It was probably used  by the Celts under Caractacus and later by the Romans. In succeeding centuries it was used by Saxons, Danes and Normans. In 1405 Owen Glendower  led an army of Welsh and French forces against Henry IV. He marched on Worcester and after pillaging and burning the city he camped on Woodbury Hill. Advance guards of Henry IV had  camped on Abberley Hill and controlled supply lines. For eight days the opposing armies engaged in skirmishes and jousting contests below the hills in Witley. Eventually Henry withdrew to Worcester and the Welsh and French forces retreated to Wales. Woodbury Hill Fort was again occupied in 1483 by the Duke of Buckingham in the reign  of Richard III.

Great Witley in 1970s. Central Garage is on the right, whilst Chiltern Close has not yet been built on the field to the left of the picture. Woodbury Hill in the background has recently been planted.

The hill is now largely covered by pine trees.  Preparation for planting the trees began in 1957, with planting starting a couple of years later and continuing through until around 1965. Local resident and forestry expert Bede Howell helped plant the trees.

The Goodman family remember the wonderful shows of bluebells up on the hill as can be seen from this short family film from a time before the hill had been planted up with conifers. Starring in the film are the three boys Geoff (the eldest) and his twin brothers, Richard and David along with their mum, Mrs Lucy Goodman.  The film was originally taken around about 1947 before they moved from Bewdley to Great Witley when it was quite an expedition.

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  1. Tom Miles says

    I worked on Woodbury Hill tending the young trees, with Bert. This was my first job after leaving school at 15. My brother Rob had done a lot of work with our tractor planting a lot of trees with was specially designed by Major Pilling who was the designer of the plantations for John Brinton. I still carry the scars of working all summer bent over with a hook cleaning the bracken from around the young tree. My spine grew with a curvature and I had to wear a steel corset to help straighten it. I reluctantly left the employment of John Brinton to work in the family general store in Kidderminster where the family had moved to after leaving the farm on the Shelsley side of Woodbury Hill. In 1969 I moved with my new wife to Adelaide in South Australia, which was named after queen Adelaide who lived a lot of her life at Witley Court….. Tom Miles

    • admin says

      Thanks for this description of your work on the hill Tom, we’ll remember all your hard work and suffering every time we look out to the wood now!

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