The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

The Devil's Bed and Bolster

Long Barrow


Visited 6th April 2013

Following the fine directions given by previous contributors, and the particularly useful link provided by Rhiannon, I managed to find this place no problem, and worked it into a visit on a round trip from Glastonbury taking in both Stoney Littleton and the Faulkland standing stones first.

As suggested parking at The Bell Inn (right next to the A361 Frome Road at the village of Rode) is by far the best plan, and the public footpath is easily accessible just across the road. Once over the first stile and into the fields proper you soon see the copses of trees on the rise ahead, to which you have to aim. The fields up to the copses were currently fallow, but clear paths around their edges allowed me not to get my feet too muddy. Gates were all open and access was easy, with only the occassional distant report of a shotgun giving me a vague sense of unease lest I become unwitting cannon fodder for a trigger happy farmer.

As I head across the fields I disturb a pair of deer grazing at the newly emerging shoots, and we both freeze, staring wide eyed at each other for a moment, before they turn and flee from this noisy interloper.

Soon I'm at the barrow, huddled amongst the trees, the outline of the monument clearly visible since most of the vegetation has either died back in the harsh winter, or else been cropped by the fiendly neighbourhood deer. As I take in the whole of the monument it almost looks like a cutaway diagram of a barrow, the footings of the mound still clearly visible, the entrance portal stones standing proud, and a thick stone defining the end of the barrow (presumably the Devil likes to prop his feet up when in bed).

I crouch down to take a closer look at the portal stones, getting a few nettle stings in the process, but noticing what could possibly be three cupmarks on the interior facing of the stone. Once again I curse the fact that I've left the camera at home, and so am forced to take photo's with the phone (which singularly fails to provide a decent picture of the cupmarks), oh well just an excuse to return I guess.

As I sit quietly here a buzzard swoops in low and lands in the tree next to me, and I'll echo Rhiannon's thoughts, it is lovely here, and the sort of place you could spend hours. It seems as if few people visit, there was certainly no evidence of any rubbish or offerings at the site, and it feels like this is the Severn-Cotswold barrows best kept secret. Often it is some of these lesser known places that retain a more tangible atmosphere.

I notice that the village church seems to be in a direct line with the barrow, which along with attributing the stones to the Devil, is one of those terribly insecure Christian gestures, to defame any other alternative beliefs. Well if the devil has all the best tunes, then he also seems to have the best places, as I'd much rather be here in this magical place than in the cold dour surroundings of the local church. With that thought I head back to The Bell, to finish off a site visit in the best possible way, with a nice pint.
Ravenfeather Posted by Ravenfeather
7th April 2013ce
Edited 7th April 2013ce

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