Cley Hill and its breathtaking views
Recently we ventured out to Cley Hill, which anyone who has gazed approximately south-east from the southern edge of Frome will have noticed. It’s an easy drive from town, into the parish of Corsley (over the border in Wiltshire - yes, we know, we know!) and off the A362 between Corsley and Warminster. There is parking for at least 12 cars; if drivers park carefully.
The hill was given to the National Trust by the Marquess of Bath in the 1950s and is a popular destination with walkers. It offers splendid views from the top but please note that it does not make a suitable day out for the infirm or those in poor physical health because of the steepness of its slopes. The top is 244m above sea level.
It’s chalk grassland and a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). It was also the site of an iron age hill fort and featured strip lynchets (areas of land that are formed into agricultural terraces). Also noteworthy are the bowl barrows - mounds of earth that look like upturned bowls that were constructed over iron age burial sites.
As mentioned above, once you reach the top the views are quite special and you can see for many miles on a clear day: Warminster is obvious; East-North-East. Frome lies about three times the distance to the North West.
There are many legends involving the Devil and all his works and one features Cley Hill! The following is reproduced from a Wiltshire Times article in 2006:
"Legend says the Devil was angry with the people of Devizes for converting to Christianity so he travelled to Somerset and dug up a huge sack of earth, with which he planned to bury the town.
On his way, he passed an old man and asked him how far it was to Devizes.
The old man looked at the sack on the Devil's back and guessed his intentions, so told him he had been on his way to the town for years and his hair had turned grey in the meantime. On hearing this, the Devil gave up and dropped the soil where he stood, forming Cley Hill."