|Visited 23rd November 2013
It’s been too long since I was last here, probably a good twelve years, and a visit on a crisp, clear winter’s afternoon is a perfect antidote to the stresses of a morning spent Christmas shopping.
Pulling in to the tiny, muddy parking spot just off the road on the edge of the field, I catch a glimpse of the mound, and something seems different, but it takes me a few minutes to work out what. The barrow is no longer fenced in, and stands proud in its field, looking all the better for it. As we approach I’d forgotten how big it was, and also the way the mound seems to slowly sag, like a deflating soufflé, and I wonder if perhaps Rhiannon is onto something with her speculative musings on the site having been named after a type of suet pudding. Whatever the case it’s a great shape, and the very definition of a ‘tump’ in my book.
I’m pleased to see the pathetic scrawling’s on the lintel are starting to fade, and duck low to ease myself into the passageway, again forgetting just how low the entranceway is. It’s good to be back inside Hetty’s welcoming embrace, as my eyes adjust to the gloom I notice how clean and tidy it is inside, not a cobweb or any detritus to be found, almost as if the place has had a spruce up. Only a small bunch of vegetation, taken from the nearby field, unceremoniously (or possibly ceremoniously, but if so it’s a strange offering!) dumped just inside the entranceway, impinges on the tidiness of the chambers, it won’t be there long though as I’ll be removing it on my way out.
From inside only the occasional drip of water breaks the quiet, along with the muffled cawing of crows from the field outside, again my memory of the place seems at odds with the reality, the passageway inside being much shorter than I remember, but I’m probably just getting the place mixed up with Stoney Littleton. I lean back in one of the side chambers and just relax, breathing in the calm atmosphere of the subterranean room, and even manage to just about see enough in the dim light to write my fieldnotes, whilst Ellen walks around the outside of the tump, the crouched entrance lintel proving a little too low for her.
Eventually it’s time to emerge, although I could have stayed there all day, so peaceful and welcoming does the place feel. Outside Ellen is confused by the enigmatic circle of low concrete posts which surround the tump, which must have been too small to be fence posts. At first I’m also baffled, but then remember other sites where such posts have been used to show the original circumference of the mound so guess that this may be the same principal here.
As we walk back to the car I keep casting glances back toward the mound, and promising myself it won’t be so long next time before I visit Hetty again.
Posted by Ravenfeather
5th March 2014ce