High-resolution large-eddy simulation is used to investigate the mean and turbulence properties of a separated flow in a channel constricted by periodically distributed hill-shaped protrusions on one wall that obstruct the channel by 33% of its height and are arranged 9 hill heights apart. The geometry is a modification of an experimental configuration, the adaptation providing an extended region of post-reattachment recovery and allowing high-quality simulations to be performed at acceptable computing costs. The Reynolds number, based on the hill height and the bulk velocity above the crest is 10595. The simulated domain is streamwise as well as spanwise periodic, extending from one hill crest to the next in the streamwise direction and over 4.5 hill heights in the spanwise direction. This arrangement minimizes uncertainties associated with boundary conditions and makes the flow an especially attractive generic test case for validating turbulence closures for statistically two-dimensional separation. The emphasis of the study is on elucidating the turbulence mechanisms associated with separation, recirculation reattachment, acceleration and wall proximity. Hence, careful attention has been paid to resolution, and a body-fitted, low-aspect-ratio, nearly orthogonal numerical grid of close to 5 million nodes has been used. Unusually, the results of two entirely independent simulations with different codes for identical flow and numerical conditions are compared and shown to agree closely. Results are included for mean velocity, Reynolds stresses, anisotropy measures, spectra and budgets for the Reynolds stresses. Moreover, an analysis of structural characteristics is undertaken on the basis of instantaneous realizations, and links to features observed in the statistical results are identified and interpreted. Among a number of interesting features, a distinct ‘splatting’ of eddies on the windward hill side following reattachment is observed, which generates strong spanwise fluctuations that are reflected, statistically, by the spanwise normal stress near the wall exceeding that of the streamwise stress by a substantial margin, despite the absence of spanwise strain.