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Urban Landscape

Took a short drive up to Bedfordshire to 'tick off' another couple of sites in the book.

Followed the River Lea from Wheathampstead, deciding to ignore the signs to Devil's Dyke. Dating from only 50b.c.e. I thought it was far too late for a write up on a site like this :-)

Drove through the hell that is modern Luton Town Centre, and eventually had to resort to the GPS to find our location on the OS map, only to find we were only two streets away from our first destination - Waulud's Bank.

Waulud's Bank — Fieldnotes

The book states that this is in the middle of a housing estate, and so it proved to be. There were a couple of burnt out motor vehicles and so much urban rubbish that archeaologists of the future will truly have a 'field day' here...

The source of the Lea is trapped in a concrete and steelwork cage, as mentioned by Julian. It's very difficult to make out the layout of the bank itself from the lea-side. The course of the bank is more obvious from the road, but looks just like the soundproofing embankments so loved of modern planners. The only difference between the bank and its modern equivalent is that there are no houses behind it.

From there, it was a short hop along the A505 to Dunstable and Five Knolls, up on the beauty that is the Downs.

The Five Knolls — Fieldnotes

Wind. Lots of it. The Downs in February are cold. The gliders were out in force, swooping overhead like circling hawks. The wind was biting, taking my breath away, yet standing among the barrows, all seemed quiet.

Magnificent views to the north, and to the west is a slightly higher ridge. If the landscape were unchanged, I can't help feeling that the higher ridge would have provided a better site/sight for the barrows, being in view of Ivinghoe Beacon across the valley.

Despite the signs exhorting no damage, the barrows all look as though bikers have been using them for jumps, each barrow having a track right across its top.

We returned home via St Albans just as the weather turned inclement.
ocifant Posted by ocifant
2nd February 2003ce
Edited 13th April 2004ce

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