Constructed around 100BC, the Iron Age Hill fort of Bigbury was a large fortified enclosure, strategically positioned on higher ground over The River Stour. Historians think it was the site of Caesar’s first battle in July 54BC and his defeat of The Britons. This is certainly more than mere conjecture as in Caesar’s own words:
“We marched by night [from Deal] for about 12 miles before coming in sight of the enemy forces. They had moved with their cavalry and chariots down from the higher ground [Bigbury] to a river [the Stour] and were trying … to engage us in battle. When our cavalry drove them back they hid in the wood where they enjoyed a position with extremely good man made defences … because many trees had been cut down and used to block entrances to it [the fort]. The Britons came out of the woods in small groups to fight …. But the men of the Seventh Legion holding up their shields to form a protective shell piled up earth against the fortifications and captured the place.”
Julius Caesar, The Gallic Wars: Book 5
In a more recent battle, Kent Wildlife Trust fought off bidders to purchase the site, now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, for restoration. This was achieved with help from local people, The Heritage Lottery Fund and Canterbury City Council.
With thanks to the Blean Heritage and Community Group