The history of the Iron Age hill fort Wittenham Clumps and its surroundings have been encompassed into the novel Landmark in Time.

Peter Adamson lives close to the southern Oxfordshire landmark in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell and has lived with the historic hills in sight for 50 years.

After a career with UNICEF that took him all over the world writing close observations of places from small villages in Africa, to slums and Shanti towns in Sri Lanka, Peter felt it was time he explored the history of the world at his own doorstep.

The Wittenham Clumps are a an ancient monument, the two adjacent hills are steeped in history, with Roman, Bronze Age and Iron Age evidence being found on site. The landmark has also been the inspiration for many artists and poets over the years.

Herald Series: Front cover of Landmark in Time by Peter Adamson

Inspired by the familiar landmark Peter decided to start researching its history and the stories of its surrounding villages and write a book called Landmark in Time. He soon found that he had taken on an enormous challenge.

He said: “The history in this area proves to be particularly interesting. In some ways the maddest idea of the book was when I decided to try and write a chapter that tells the whole history of England from the views of the Wittenham Clumps. I was astonished that it was possible."

Although the book is full of history Peter feels he is not a historian. He said: “I would not call myself a historian, the book was not written out of expertise but out of ignorant enquiry.”

Herald Series: Fort Hill. Picture from Landmark in Time by Peter Adamson

He added: “Even just looking out from the Wittenham Clumps, at the start I knew almost nothing about all the obvious things you can see such as the science research centre, the railway going across the view, Didcot Power station being taken down, a distant farmhouse, or a manor house.”

Peter's research took him to discover the life of an Antarctic explorer who inherited The Manor in Little Wittenham when he was 24. He unravelled the story of how The Manor became the stage of a celebrated literary love affair in the 1930s.

However, the author's favourite finding was the history of Berinsfield, the first new village to be built in England for two hundred years that he writes became known as a 'problem estate'.

Landmark in Time is available to buy from Blackwell's book shop in Oxford, Wallingford Book shop and from his website

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