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

West Down Gallops Barrows

Round Barrow(s)


These barrows look easy enough to spot from the O.S. map but the layout of the gallops and field boundaries seem to have changed since the map was printed. The changing use of the land and the management policies followed preserve some sites while others are destroyed forever. These two barrows seem to have survived well, as compared to the earthworks which surround them. I could only spot the Knoll Down Earthwork when I visited, mainly because it was halfway down a hillside and is impossible to plough out. The same cannot be said of the ancient field boundaries which surround these two barrows, which can now only be seen from the air or Google Earth.

The two barrows are covered in thick, course grass which I believe is a form of primitive barley. I don't know but the area around the gallops looks like unimproved grass land and it is certainly not a good quality pasture suitable for sheep grazing. This felt like a fragment of ancient agriculture and made me wonder as to its purpose in the Bronze Age. If the Beckhampton Avenue did start/end here, what relation did these barrows have to it? Silbury Hill is directly between here and the Sanctuary and the top of Silbury seemed level with this point.

I got the impression by the number of dog walkers I met that although this is not public access land, walkers were tolerated while there was no horse riding activity. I walked around the headlands from the Roman Road to the car park at Knoll Down. Car parking is provided on the A361 lay-by and the lay-by off the A4 at Knoll Down. Beware of thieves in both of these areas and lock away valuables or take them with you.
Chance Posted by Chance
17th August 2013ce

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