About 3km from Salisbury station is the Old Sarum. After visiting StoneHenge the return bus ride stops at Old Sarum. Its a ruined fort much in the lines of Dholavira but located in a even bigger area of land.
After the bus left us here, we were still kinda lost, coz there was hotel there and the fort ruins was nowhere to be seen. Again Google maps came to aid and we figured it was in the opposite side of the road and a walk through a little dirt track would lead to the entrance of Old Sarum.
The specialty of Old Sarum is that it has always been an important spot ever since pre-historic times. About 5000 years ago this was an important place for the neolithic, pre-historic people and continued to stay so throughout Bronze age and Iron age. Ever since the Celtic Period this became a powerful hill fort. During the Roman Era in 43 CE, this place was used from military purposes. After Romans, this place came under the royals of Saxons.
There is a well in this area, which is now covered with grill for safety reasons. This was the main source of water for the castle. What may have been its depth is unknown, but it could have been about 70m deep.
At another place the ground plan was clear and the entire masonry has wiped away. This had original served as a catherdral. The curved back where the altar would have been is clearly visible from the ground plan. By early 13th C the castle was expanded for King John. However by 1220 CE, the Catherdral moved to Salisbury and this was only a castle & fort.
There are 2 sections of wide and deep moats forming concentric circles. One just around the central fort where still some remnants of masonry exists. Today a wooden bridge serves as a passage to reach the fort across the ditch. The other ditch covering an area of 12 ha, including the cathedral floor plan that exists today. A motorable road and a dirt track connect the main road across this moat. Unfortunately it can be seen only from a helicopter!
These would have been the perfect moats that protect the royals from enemies who could be easily spotted from guards above if anyone tries to cross this place.
Pic Courtesy: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/old-sarum
Honestly I haven't seen such a large expanse of green grass. The entire space and the adjacent land was all green grass lands. The space had 3 football grounds and 1 volleyball ground set up. There were a few families with kids and dogs. The unleashed dogs and the kids were having the best time of their life running about in that green grass. There were some with kites as well.
That's Salisbury town from atop Old Sarum! In the above pic, at a far away distance, in the midst of the mist, if you strain your eyes, you can spot the Cathedral. Unfortunately in winters the Cathedral closes by 4 and it was 3:30 when we left Old Sarum. I may not go soon again, coz the train ticket itself costs much! Let's see when future takes me there!
TO GET THERE:
Refer to my earlier post.
P.S: Check out here to know what I wore to the trip.
Dedicated to Venkat