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

Old Bath Road Barrow

Round Barrow(s)


From a distance this round barrow looks well defined and does not seem any different from the rest of the humps and bumps that scatter this section of the downs. Only when you get up close can the modern brick and concrete be seen, revealing this barrows' mutilated core. I've seen lots of disfigured barrows, most the result of ploughing, some the result of quarrying and some the result of ancient treasure hunters. This one stands out though, not as the result of what was originally inside but what was placed inside in modern times.

This barrow has the misfortune to overlook Yatesbury Field on the north, West Down to the east and North Down to the south. During the dark days of 1940 when invasion by Nazi Germany was a real possibility, this site was chosen as a Royal Observer Core lookout post and its Bronze Age contents sacrificed for the good of the nation. When Sir Edmund Ironside, Commander-in-Chief Home Forces, laid out plans for the defence of Britain, this area was designated a stop-line where the opposing forces would be expected to fight to the death to stop any advance north.

The WWII structures are well preserved if very overgrown. I did not get into the slip trenches to examine the insides of the bunker as the site smelt like the dumping ground for dead badgers. The remains of the barrow are cut into by the old coach road and I wonder if the height of the barrow was extended by the spoil from the core digging.

I parked up at the Knoll Down lay-by just off the A4 and walked down the old coach road which is now a bridleway. This site was one of the many barrows that are spread over the West Down area. On the south side dry valley below this barrow, runs the Knoll Down earthwork and further south and directly opposite are the two West Down Gallops Barrows.
Chance Posted by Chance
17th August 2013ce

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