|Today's trip involved another spin around Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, culminating in a lovely cuppa at Jane's.
First stop was Chipping Norton for a bit of breakfast, and shopping. The bookshop was open (it's always been closed on our previous visits), and I fell in love with a two-volume 'Book of Days' from 1869. One visit to the bank later…
We moved on to Churchill Village to see the stones there, before looking for the Goose Stone. We didn't find it (at either of the map references given on TMA), but Chastleton Barrow Fort was a nice consolation prize, with a couple of beautiful horses thrown in for good measure.
Looking for the Goose Stone
, I found this fort at the same map reference, so I've added it as a separate entry.
The 'fort' consists of a round bank, 7-8 feet high with two entrances (roughly NW & SE), and is currently being used as a paddock, but a public footpath passes through the fort, so access is no problem.
(I didn't find the Goose Stone).
Next was a bit of a drive, up to the Tibblestone in Glocs, on our way to the day's main target, Belas Knap. It stayed dry on the climb, until I got to the barrow, where a group of walkers were enjoying their sandwiches in the rain. Taking brief shelter in the NW shelter I was upset to find the remains of a tealight, some dead flowers and obvious evidence of smoke damage to a couple of the stones at ground level. Why do people do it??
Esso is now Texaco.
This didn't feel old. It seemed out of place, like those stones that are used as garden ornaments in council estates to give them some 'character'. Lifeless and lost.
I get the feeling this is a site you need to visit alone in order to get the real sense of why it's here as opposed to somewhere else. Boy, did I pick the wrong day! It was like Picadilly Circus up there (and living in London, I should know!)
Obviously a popular site, there was a large group of walkers enjoying their lunch when I arrived. The sudden rain shower didn't seem to put them off, they just carried on munching on their sandwiches. Obvioulsy a British group :-)
Consequently it was difficult for me to gauge the site. I took a look in each of the chambers, and was upset by the detritus left there by previous visitors (see photo). Interesting to note the plastic meshing peeking through the mound, there's obviously been a lot of restoration work done here. Also interesting was the possibility of a hidden cavity, spotted on the SW side - it may just have been slippage of the mound, but some brickwork was seen under the grass, and there was a gap in the brickwork - difficult to discern whether this was original or part of the restoration work.
With no sign of the walkers moving on, and Mikki waiting patiently in the car below I took my leave, not really satisfied that I'd 'met' this site properly yet.
Checking the map for the best route home, we spotted a couple of long barrows at Hazelton which seemed worth checking out. We were mistaken, there was nothing left to see at the site, which has just about been completely levelled.
Marked on the OS map, we spotted this as we were passing.
Sadly, there's not much to see here now at all. There's a slight mound above the level of the field (6 or so inches), but unless you were specifically looking you'd never know it.
A piece of antler was found during the 1979-82 excavation of the North Barrow.
(Added to save other people time and bother looking...)
With time moving on, we swung by Notgrove to see it before the summer growth really took hold.
As Ironman says, easy to find, and there's a huge layby less than 100 yards away. Just follow the signpost(s).
The only good thing about this site now is that it's a bit of a haven for wild flowers, being covered in the same specieis that I saw at Hetty Peglers Tump the other week. No idea what they are - I'm crap at botanical identification.
I agree with Treaclechops - let's bury Gloucester Cathedral in case it gets vandalised!
Sites we had to miss out on this time round included Condicote, the Swells and Cow Common - too many sites, not enough time!
The final stop of the day was Jane's house. She has wonderful artistic talent, and excellent pictures of the Rollrights, Uffington and other sites were on view. Jane was sadly too busy with potential customers to spend much time chatting with us (that sounds awful, but one of the main points of her open house exhibition was to sell paintings, and we're glad she did so well. If we hadn't visited the book shop earlier, I'm sure we would have indulged), but Treaclechops managed to keep us more than entertained with some of her marvellous B&W photos.
Sadly, all too soon the time came to depart, but I'm sure we'll be able to meet up again at some point in the future. TMA group meet-up anyone?
Posted by ocifant
11th May 2003ce
Edited 2nd August 2004ce
ocifant's TMA Blog
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