|I’m quite amazed at how much history still exists around the Surrey stockbroker belt, and the Aldershot/Farnborough squaddie belt, and this is just using one portion of the OS Explorer map (145) for the Guildford & Farnham area.
If you want an example of a barrow taken over by modern life, look no further than the large Cockadobby Hill Barrow which is now part of the busy “Queen’s Roundabout”. I was going to name it the Queen’s Roundabout Barrow until I researched it on the internet and found that it is already known as Cockadobby Hill, which thankfully is much more fitting name for a messed up site.
I then tried to find a barrow that was marked on the map but which I suspected would be part of an army barracks. A spotty 17 year old on guard duty with an SA80 couldn’t confirm or deny its whereabouts but I think it is probably within a barracks. I'll call it the Barossa Barracks Barrow.
Next stop was the fantastic Caesar’s Camp Hill Fort, with great views, and little regard for access prohibited signs. No else seemed to care either. Not that far from Caesar’s Camp a gaggle of ‘tumuli’ are marked on the map, but I couldn’t stop easily so i'll return another day and take a closer look - I've called them the Heath Brow Barrows.
Then past Farnham to the rather plain Bourne Wood Barrow which is strictly for the hard-core only – nice little wood though.
And finishing with the Frensham Common Barrows which stand on the Kings’ Ridge and overlook the marvellous Frensham Great Pond, which surprisingly dates back to the 13th Century as a man made pond to provide fish for the Bishop of Winchester’s Estate, and now includes a sandy beach and accompanying burnt flesh on such a stinking hot day. It’s believed that the common was a forest until Bronze Age stock rearers settled in the area and cleared it.
Plus there is still a lot to see in this map area, and I’m still finding stuff through the marvellous Hampshire County Council website….so expect more of this low-fi archaeology from the bull in the china shop.
Cockadobby Hill barrow - 31.5.2003
Aka - Queen’s Roundabout Barrow
If you want an example of a barrow taken over by modern life, look no further than this large barrow that is now part of the busy “Queen’s Roundabout” where the A3011 and A325 meet between Farnborough and Aldershot. Parking is obviously a bit of a problem, but there are several side roads within a 5 minute walk, or try the Holiday Inn; just off the roundabout.
The road, and a brick wall, cut into this bowl barrow on the East side, and a stone fountain / war memorial cuts into it on the North side, but otherwise it’s still a pretty impressive size, maybe 3m high and 25m in diameter, encrusted with large trees all over, and some small but dense pines on the East side.
The Hampshire County Council website says that the barrow is on a natural rise in small clump of trees and is mutilated on the south west by old trench. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (number 12155) - grid reference SU 8683 5343.
Caesar’s Camp Hill Fort - 31.5.2003
Caesar’s Camp is a fantastic Iron Age hill fort with stunning views all around, but I’m not convinced about access to it. “Access prohibited - Water Catchment Area” signs are dotted everywhere to the West and North; presumably due to the reservoirs to the West, and the general proximity to the heavily militarised area of Aldershot and Farnborough. However, I saw several people in the area, most at the summit of the fort, so either there is some permitted access somewhere (maybe from the South?) or maybe we were all just ignoring the signs!
After approaching from the west (‘accidentally’ ignoring the signs) and leaving via the north, I’d say that the simplest way to get to the fort without going beyond too many signs is to park at the large but rough car park at SU831510. Apart from here, there is supposed to be no parking just off the main road - there are lots of forest tracks/roads but all say ‘No Parking’ and other various warnings. From here, walk South East through the woods staying just north of the road, and then cross the road somewhere around SU836807. In this area several paths lead to towards the hill fort, which is clearly visible due south.
The hill fort itself is excellent, especially its large and doubled ramparts on the south side. It must have been a brilliant site; a hill with steep sides for defence but a huge flat interior, about 500m across its longest parts. The Surrey / Hampshire border cuts right through the fort. The view stretches for miles across the forest all over the north and west, cut only by the Farnborough Airfield site to the north east, and Tweseldown Race Course to the north west. The space age reservoir cover (?) can be seen from the north side, like a mini Eden Project dome.
The Hampshire County Council website and the Rushmoor Borough Council website say that it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (number 20185) - a large multivallate hillfort and later park pale at Caesar's Camp - grid reference SU 8355 5006. Jubilee Clump is a Stone Age (mesolithic) area of the interior of Caesar's Camp. Finds include cores, microliths and two tranchet axes. SU 837 502.
Heath Brow Bowl barrows - 31.5.2003
Not that far from Caesar’s Camp
Hill Fort four ‘tumuli’ are marked on the map just to the SU822493. At a quick look this may also be ‘sensitive’ ground and there was no obvious place to park. I’ll hopefully return another day and take a closer look.
The Hampshire County Council website says that they are a Scheduled Ancient Monument - “Five bowl barrows situated at Heath Brow, east of the B3013. The group is sited in heath land among pine trees, bracken and heather”
The website also mentions occupation and finds in the area - “Many mesolithic implements found including scrapers, saws, long blades and two axes. Several other sites noted in the area, though some have been obliterated. Some finds in Willmer House Museum, Farnham.”
Bourne Wood Barrow - 31.5.2003
A lone barrow lies in Bourne Wood, which is part of the Foresty Commisssion’s ‘Alice Holt Forest’, just off a minor which runs from Farnham Train station to Tilford.
There are many ways into the wood but a simple one is to turn off the main road at the north east cornetr of the wood, into ‘Dene Lane’. There’s no official parking place but the lane is wide enough at this point to park., whereas it’s much narrower further down. Walk 150m down the lane, where multi-million pound houses doeminate the north side, and a small footpath starts at a wooden railing thingy and takes you up into the wood. After about 200m take the first footpath to the right (opposite the rear of Lobswood Manor) and about 150m further on the barrow lies on the right of the track. Or, I presume it does! A soory looking mound definitely stands out a little at this point and has a severely dug into top – the most dug into I have ever seen. The land confusingly drops significantly away to the north side; but it still looks like a barrow….just.
Frensham Common Barrows – RB’s - 31.5.2003
The common is full of well marked and maintained footpaths, so you can get to these wonderful barrows from many directions.
One simple and charming walk, is to park at the large carpark for Frensham Great Pond (which includes toilets, shop and free ‘Walks Around Frensham Common’ leaflet) and walk east around the north of the lovely pond, which is complete with sandy beach and good looking women. Then follow the yellow marked footpaths across the main A287 road, and up to the ridge ahead of you (‘The King’s Ridge’). This will take you straight to the edge of ‘Barrow 2’ where a really nice info board tells you about all four barrows.
The OS map shows 3 substantial barrows but in reality there is a lone barrow (‘Barrow 1’) 150m to the north of a tight cluster of three barrows in a row (Barrows 2, 3 and 4). Barrows 1 and 2 are very substantial, with barrows 3 and 4 being a smaller size. ‘Barrow 1’ has an info board again – a repeat of the one at Barrow 2.
Thankfully a lot of work has been recently done to reduce further erosion to these barrows, with cyclists and horse riders now forced to go around the barrows. The view from the ridge / barrows is spectacular, and there is an abundance of wildlife in the area (birds, lizards).
Barossa Barracks Barrow - 31.5.2003
I tried to find a barrow that was marked on the map but which I suspected would be part of an army barracks. A spotty 17 year old on guard duty with an SA80 couldn’t confirm or deny it’s whereabouts but I think this is within an army barracks, and that the area will be strictly off-limits to general visitors. Either that or it may be slightly further south and may not being off limits.....
The site of the Barossa Barracks (see below for some of the history) is now taken up by the amorphous Montgomery Lines barracks, which includes 4 separate barracks; Arnhem Barracks, Bruneval Barracks, Normandy Barracks &, Rhine Barracks.
Judging for the map the barrow seems to be just off the road called ‘Pennyfathers Rd’ on the street map, possibly part of Bruneval Barracks?
The Hampshire County Council website says “north east of the grounds of the prince Consort’s library. 20.0m in diameter and 1.0m high. Trees grow on the perimeter. Barrow mutilated to form band-stand in early 1890s in grounds of the newly built Barossa Barrracks (on site of original hutments). Barossa barracks demolished early 1960s.”