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Stony Littleton

Long Barrow


Access using the route we did, it's a fairly long walk (a few miles). A lot is uphill, some fairly steep. Ground is largely pretty even. Couple of stiles and a few gates.

We parked in a passing place-cum-layby which was plenty big enough to still be used for passing even with my car parked at one end! This was at approximately map ref ST727565.

Bear in mind that other people on this website have left their cars somewhere they refer to as a 'car park'. While references to this seem to be tongue in cheek, it was almost certainly at least as good if not better than where we parked!

We walked down the hill to a left turn heading north east along a lane which runs alongside a small river. About a quarter of a mile along, we turned right, through a kissing gate I think (though it could have been a stile). The path crosses a narrow grassy area, through the trees and across a little bridge over the river.

At the other side (east) of the river, the path heads briefly uphill across a field, meeting a farmtrack or bridlepath running roughly north-south. We turned left and followed the track northish.

The track stays maybe 50-100 yards from the river for a few hundred yards, but before long we could see a hill in front of us and the river was getting further away. There are some farm buildings just the other side of the river.

Very soon we could make out the profile of the barrow up on the hillside in front of us and to the left. About halfway up the hill I guess, we took a lightly worn but distinct path off to the left across the field, still going uphill. At the hedgerow was a stile and, I think it was here that there was a signpost to the barrow.

Over the stile and right, along the field edge following the hedgerow, slightly uphill I think. After only 100 yards or so I'd guess, there was a collapsed stile back to the other side of the hedgerow. The barrow is clearly visible and close, side-on straight up the hill from here. I think there is an English Heritage sign. There may be one more fence and stile, more-or-less directly in front.

Tuesday 16 September 2003
Reaching the barrow, I commented to John that the final approach from this direction was a tiny bit disappointing, being uphill and from the side.

I feel it would be more impressive if you could approach the barrow directly towards its entrance, by continuing up the main track to the level of the barrow and then approach it by turning left. John was quite happy with it the way it is!

Maybe I'd been expecting something a little more overtly striking because I'd been looking forward to 'meeting' this place for a few months.

Approaching from the side, the first thing I noticed was the low retaining wall round the bottom of the long barrow's embankment. It seemed incredibly neat and well-preserved. I was pleased with how well it had survived and wondered if it is one of the elements of the barrow that has been restored.

Round to the entrance and the barrow took on an extra beauty for me. It's proportions are lovely and the stonework around the portal is beautiful (except for the scar where there has been a nasty plaque on the right.

I was proud to have remembered my torch for once, so we took a look inside. And discovered that the batteries were sadly inadequate!!! One day I'll get it right!

Quite a few signs of the repairs and reinforcements made before the chamber was reopened to the public. They don't exactly look subtle, but I suppose they're better than nothing. I'm no structural engineer so I'd better not complain. Funnily (?) enough, they're even more evident on my photies....

Speaking of photies, I was going to take one of the legendary giant ammonite on the left upright of the entrance. But we couldn't find it!!!

I have to say that at the time I couldn't remember where it was and hadn't seen a photo. Having checked on this website since, I really can't see how we missed it. Unless we missing it because we were too close and it's SO big?! Guess it must still be there?! My only photos of the entrance are a fraction too distant to make it out now I know where it is.

But most of the stones throughout are just dripping with chunks of shell and stuff - never seen owt like it. I was impressed. But then, I'm not a geologist either & know nothing about shelled creatures!

The chambers themselves are impressive, possibly even more so because it's a bit of a squeeze to actually get in there and manoeuvre about to see them - or is that just me being perverse?

Probably not, as this really is the first barrow to even vaguely make me feel 'cocooned' - or perhaps what I really mean is 'cockooned' given the spectacular feminine imagery of Severn-Cotswold style barrows like this!
Moth Posted by Moth
9th October 2003ce
Edited 10th October 2003ce

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