Campden artist and etcher, FL Griggs (1876-1938) bought Dover’s Hill in 1926 at auction, when it was threatened with going into private hands. He was in debt for several years but eventually the money was paid off and the land was given to The National Trust. A passionate conservationist, Griggs founded the first Campden Society in 1925 and the subsidiary charity, The Campden Trust in 1929.
The National Trust say:
Dover's Hill is A natural amphitheatre on a spur of the Cotswolds, with views over the Vale of Evesham.
Lying within the boundary of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Dover's Hill stands at 230m above sea level, located on the North Cotswold escarpment near the town of Chipping Campden. The lower slopes of the hill indicate past Roman activity and are now wooded with native trees such as Sweet Chestnut and Larch.
The large open fields and woodland of Dover’s Hill are popular walking areas for the surrounding towns of Chipping Campden, Broadway, Weston Sub Edge and Evesham.
The expansive views from the hill enhance the sense of space and feeling of extensive rolling countryside. Dover's Hill is also the first or last place encountered by those walking the Cotswold Way.
The grassy slopes of the hill are currently managed by grazing sheep.
The Cotswold Olimpick Games are an annual celebration held at the hill on the Friday after Spring Bank Holiday, and may have begun as early as 1622.
The Olimpicks traditionally include events such as shin-kicking, morris dancing and tug-of-war, although in the past there would also have been sword-fighting and horse-racing events. A temporary wooden castle used to be constructed, called Dover Castle, from which ceremonious gunfire was sounded throughout the Games.
Robert Dover, a local lawyer, started the Games with the approval of King James. It's not known exactly why Robert founded this event - perhaps to encourage the local people to stay strong and fit, or maybe just to unite rich and poor. Robert would preside over the Games, riding his horse and wearing a ruff, coat and hat donated by King James.
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