|The weather forecast was grim, promising thundery showers. We nearly didn't go, but decided to chance it. The plan was to get down to Stoney Littleton, then visit some of the other sites in the area. Reading the entries on TMA, I thought "the last thing I want to do is forget the torch". And sure enough, the last thing I did before leaving home was forget the torch. Stopping on the M4 for breakfast, I took the opportunity to swiftly rehash the day's plan.
First on the list was Aldbourne Four Barrows, but I took a wrong turn, and ended up on the wrong side of the hill, so I decided to try to loop back this way later in the day (it didn't happen). Next was the Coate Stone Circle. I couldn't get to the stones themselves, as several extremely healthy looking horses were in the field, the site gave a good feeling, and it was a good first site for the day.
I didn't check for alignments when I was there, but I suspect there may be a possibility of a line up with a 'sleeping figure' in the hill to the south. I took a picture at the time, I'll have to dig it out and check.
Has anyone else noticed or mentioned this?
A minor spot of retail therapy in the delightful village of Criklade was next, in order to appease Mikki – she's far too patient with me at times and needed some more craft materials.
Shopping done, we headed over toward Stroud, to see the Longstone of Minchinhampton. I parked, and with the comment "it should be here somewhere", climbed out of the car, only to have it stare me in the face on the other side of the fence.
Next was Hetty Pegler's Tump, a wonderful barrow. Not having the torch, I decided not to climb inside on this occasion, but will certainly return another day, better prepared.
As Nympsfield Long Barrow was just up the road, it seemed churlish not to visit, and for anyone who can't visualise the construction of a chambered barrow, this site affords a good view of a barrow 'with the top off'.
We next headed down to the Giant's Cave at Luckington, which was every bit as wonderful as Rhiannon's fieldnotes suggest – the bluebell's were out and the place had a wonderful atmosphere to it.
What a wonderful site. Majestically ancient and mysterious, with a couple of resident horses who didn't pay me any attention whatsoever.
I guess we're lucky that the Victorians didn't take all the stone. It's still possible to make out a couple of the chambers from the stone peeking through the earth, although they're covered in moss and I would guess will be impossible to see in high summer.
I loved this site, and will treasure the memory of it for a long time to come.
We'd been fairly fortunate with the weather so far, with only a couple of minor, brief showers. Lugbury Longbarrow was next on the list, and as we arrived on the Fosse Way, the heavens opened. Luckily the rain didn't last too long, just enough to get on the camera lens and spoil the photos of the site…
Like Rhiannon, it was raining when we arrived here, but luckily it was only another brief (though heavy) shower. We'd parked right by the gate to the field, by the footpath sign and I donned my waterproofs for the first time this year for the short trip across the field to the stones which were easily visible from the car.
I've never seen so many dandelions in one field before. I also have to say I've never seen so much dung in one field before either. And so varied in colour, texture and consistency! Keeping my head down to check my path, essential in these conditions, I progressed carefully to the stones.
The wind must have been in the right direction, as although the M4 was clearly visible, there was no traffic noise to be heard, even when the rain finally stopped.
There's not much left of the original mound now - it's probably less than a foot or so high from the rest of the field, but easily discernable. The landowner had stacked up a lot of brushwood at one end, and the stones themselves had quite a bit of undergrowth on and around them.
What we have here are two uprights, and what looks like a collapsed capstone leaning against them. There is indeed a 'bite' out of the lower end of the capstone - see the photos. It reminded me very much of the hole in the capstone of somewhere like Trevethy Quoit, but cut out to the edge of the stone.. a sad and dilapidated site holding only memories of it's previous splendour.
...and I couldn't find the wheelbarrow....
We dropped down to see the Three Shire Stones before heading for home, but passed them twice, before turning to the trusty GPS to locate them. Weird site, they made Mikki laugh in wonderment.
Heading home along the A4, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to turn off after Cherhill onto the Avebury road. This time, I turned left through Avebury Trusloe to take a stroll up to Windmill Hill – my first visit to the site, and a fitting end to a long day.
We didn't manage to get to: Stoney Littleton, Devil's Bed and Bolster, Lanhill Longbarrow or Aldbourne Four Barrows, but there's always another day, (and a torch!)…
Posted by ocifant
27th April 2003ce
Edited 2nd August 2004ce
ocifant's TMA Blog
1-10 of 35 Posts |