|Frankly, it's not that easy to know how to follow a visit to the not too distant Bigbury, the mind a veritable cauldron swirling with tales of heroic deeds and defiance against the Roman invader. Go for the smooth 'chill-out' option at Jullieberrie's or Bodsham long barrows, perhaps? However I saw those a few years back, the eye instead settling upon a group of barrows, these of the 'round' variety, situated in chestnut (?) woodland a little east of Godmersham, not far from Ashford. Yeah, that'll do. To be honest I could have chosen a number of others in an arc around Canterbury.... clearly there's a lot more to Prehistoric Kent than I've thought to date.
Anyway, leaving the A28 at Godmersham, a minor road sneeks beneath a viaduct and proceeds to snake its way this way and that... as all good country roads should do... eventually arriving at the hamlet of Sole Street. Needless to say, take care... single track leading from a pretty popular pub... need I say more? A little way beyond, 'Penny Pot Lane' heads left (north) to pass through Eggringe Wood. There is a parking area on the right, but carry on to a much larger area and park here. You'll know it's the right one since, looking to the left (south-west) you'll see two large round barrows - not that tall, but of pretty substantial area - within a clearing either side of a forestry track. Somewhat overgrown and unkempt, but hey, what can you do? And at least the trail bikers haven't destroyed them. Yet. According to Pastscape these monuments are:
TR 09665035 : 24.0m in diameter, 1.0m high.
TR 09635041 : 27.0m 1.7m
Not bad for starters. However follow the (much smaller) track into the woods to the approx north-east - albeit more akin to a stream during the official 'drought conditions' of May 2012 - and two more, with in my opinion a far superior vibe, can be visited with relative ease. Trending left, follow the track to a crossroads at a clearing. Ignore the left branch and carry on for a little while before veering left. Here, if you're lucky, competent (or whatever) the barrow at TR09965091 (according to Pastscape c27m diameter, 1.0m high) sits in a clearing. Blue bells adorn the damaged mound, birds give it all they've got - quite a bit, it has to be said - and innumerable ants turn a decaying tree stump into a shimmering mass of industry. Nice. So that's where several fierce looking soldiers ants clambering over me live, then? Belieing the not too promising forecast, great white clouds advance across the otherwise pristine blue sky in serried procession. Yeah, this is a spot to lie back and think of England. No, literally. Although if you happen to get carried away by the 'moment'...........
But wait, there's more. Returning whence I came, a short distance beyond the cross-roads... a very indistinct path leads through the trees to my right (west) to the boundary of a field. Here sits another damaged round barrow within another, much more isolated clearing, literally engulfed with blue bells today (Pastscape - TR09795069: 21.0m, by 1.7m). The feathery remains of some species of bird beside a burrow suggest the occupant isn't to be trifled with. So I don't. Sunshine streams through the fringe canopy and, just for a while, everything's all right with the world. It's good to 'recharge', you know? And Eggringe Wood is the ideal spot.
Posted by GLADMAN
12th May 2012ce
Edited 12th May 2012ce