This is a zoomed shot of Cholsey Church and Manor Farm. Parts of the Saxon Church survive and in Alfred's time most of the village would have surrounded the church as it's slightly higher than what would have been boggy and marshy area
All this left Alfred with a dilemma about attacking the Danes. He rode back to the Blowing Stone at Kingstone Lisle, the village taking its name from King's Stone from Kinstanding hill which is the best part of 20 miles
Alfred amassed his men at a castle that now bares his name near Ashbury while his brother camped at Comptom Baeuchamp below Uffinton Castle where the Danes had amassed. Now if you look at the map you can see all these places are within a stones throw of each other so to speak. The Danes would have seen the Kings Camp and he would have been glaring back at them. Alfred on the other had was out of sight over a hill.
The map above shows the encampments Black the King, Red the Danes and Blue Alfred
According to the account
" So the young Prince had to make a decision: should he wait for his brother or fight the battle without him? He could not keep his troops on edge for long. The Danes had already deployed themselves on the higher ground, and to let them charge first would mean certain defeat. So despite his brother’s orders to the contrary, Alfred rode forth and gave the cry for his own men to attack first and the battle to begin. Never had Berkshire seen such carnage, and never would it again. The bravery of the English warriors overcame all disadvantages, and after a long and arduous conflict, the invaders were no longer able to withstand the Saxon attacks. They were chased from the field across Berkshire to Whistley Marsh where their previous conflict had ended. Thousands of bodies covered the plain, amongst them, King Bagsecg and the five Danish Earls. Victory was Alfred’s."
I think accounts get out of hand when told from one person to another and things get elaborated. I have no doubt Alfred & his Brother King Ethelred did watch the Danes from Kingstanding Hill and Alfred raced back to gather the troops together. The King came after with his retinue and camped at Comptom Baeuchamp, the Danes would have seen them leaving and followed trying to finish what had started and the night the camped at Uffington could only see the Kings camp. If the King had left for Aston Alfred would have had a real dilemma so in the morning there was a lot of jeering and fist waving from both sides and when the King forces lined up to face with the Danes and started to move up hill the Danes would be ready to fight thinking they could just roll them back down again. Once the two forces met the Danes would have been to busy fightings the Kings force and they would have been surprised to see Alfred's force coming along the ridgeway with his men and then realising they were outflanked retreated back along the Ridgeway to go back to Reading. It was probably a running fight with stragglers being picked off by Alfreds men who had more of an advantage being on the Ridgeway. Could the Danes have gotten lost when they got to Blewbury Down and turned right towards Compton?
In the meantime the King split off to go and pray at Aston. So come the morning the Danes found themselves in a boggy bottom at Compton and Alfred just dropped down on them from High with the King following along a little later to mop up. The bottom of Thorn Hill is where the river Pang flows and would have been most likely flooded and boggy from the winter rain & snow so would have been hard work trying to slog through there
The ridgeway going towards Compton
All of the stories are legend and in reality it is unsure where the battle took place
I have read an account which is more plausible. The Ashdown hills are what is know as the Berkshire downs and where the battle took place. For the life of me I cannot see the battle have happened at Whitehorse hill, it's too far away for the king to travel back & forth and logistics don't hold up, why would the Danes want to hike 20 odd miles across the downs to fight. It would take at least a day to move all those men and their gear. The current thought and most likely is that the battle took place on Lowbury Hill about a couple of miles from Kingstanding Hill
The stitch photo above shows the Goring Gap from Streatley Hill, the Thames runs right to left and is the view you get from where the green circle above is
So someone could have been watching the Danes go past. Alfred and the King were watching from Kingstanding Hill (Red) this meant it was all covered. The Danes would not had marched so far to go to meet up with the Saxons. The Account mentions the Planes of Ashendune or Ashdown. The ridge that is known as the Berkshire downs was know as Ashdown or
This is Lowbury hill as seen from the footpath coming from Blewbury, Aston Tyrold is over to the left of me a few miles away the Ridgeway over to the right over the hill
Question is how did the Danes arrive?
One suggetion I read was the Danes came up along the Ridgeway by Thurl Down at Streatley
Thurl down is on the left and current Ridgeway splits the valley
This the other side with Lough Down in the distance (green Circle) to the right
While the Danes trekked up to Streatley Warren at the top the Alfred's scouts could have been watching from the top
This looks back down
Once at the top they would have just walked around this way
and over to Lowbury Hill which is in the distance
My personal view is that if they were in Cholsey one way was out of the village was along the old Roman road that is assuming the were unfamiliar with the area and took the quickest route which would have brought them to Moulsford where they could have gone along Mousford Bottom below
where a slight incline brought them to Unhill Bottom Below
If you walked on along here the valley bends past Starveall Farm
and turns into Deans Bottom Below
Now this is a good place to catch you enemy from up on the hillside and the Ridgeway is just over to the right of the picture
Arthur and the King only had to come from this direction to catch the Danes to where I'm stood on Lowbury Hill
The trig pillar on Lowbury Hill where we look in the direction of the vale of the White Horse and Wantage.
Reading the last account I found on the supposed location was backed up by the various archaeological finds of Dane origin like swords shields and such like, they have been few but nothing like that has been found around Whitehorse Hill. Were the battle was is only known to History but historians uncover more each year, who knows what they will find tomorrow.