The fort has an oval shape, with a single rampart and ditch (univallate) following the contours of the hill top, enclosing an area of 2.7 ha. The main entrance is to the east, towards Nether Stowey, with a simpler opening to the north-west, aligned with a ridgeway leading down to Holford. The Lady's Fountain springs are in the combe to the west. A col to the south connects the hill to the main Stowey ridge, where a linear earthwork known as Dead Woman's Ditch cuts across the spur. This additional rampart would have provided an extra line of defence against attack from the main Quantock ridge to the west, and it could have been a tribal boundary.
In Saxon times, King Alfred's military road, the Herepath, ran up from Combwich, Cannington and Over Stowey, along the present course of the Stowey road, across Dead Woman's Ditch to Crowcombe Park Gate, south along the main ridge of the Quantocks to Triscombe Stone, then west across the valley to the Brendon Hills and Exmoor. The road connected a series of forts and lookout posts, which allowed Alfred's armies to move along the coast to cover Viking movements at sea and forestall any raids ashore. The path from Dowsborough to the Herepath is called Great Bear Path, and this is taken to be a corruption of Great Herepath, which suggests that Dowsborough could have been a Saxon lookout over the Bristol Channel.
Quantock Hills: Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: England's First AONB and Great Britain's Second Is Famed for Offering Sweeping Views across the Surrounding Countryside but, as Natalie Hoare Discovers, It Offers Visitors a Whole Lot More Besides
Jan 01, 2007; Standing atop the windswept heather-covered dome of Will's Neck, a superb patchwork of West Country farmland stretches out below....