Guthorm's Invasion of Wessex:
King Alfred Gathers his Army for a Fight
Alfred knew all along that his countrymen needed time to plant their crops
before they would leave their farmsteads to join his army. If he took them
before the fields were planted, there may not be enough food for winter. So he
waited through spring at a place called Athelney, just a little hill protected
from invasion by thickets and swamps all around it. Here he built a fort and
used it as a base to launch small, quick attacks against Guthorm's army.
Throughout March and April, Alfred also sent word to the Saxon men of the
area to prepare for an attack on the Danes. His countrymen responded, and by May
they began their march north-east to meet the Viking army.