|Impressed at the quantity of long barrows marked on the OS map for the Cotswolds, Moth and me couldn't resist going out again to look for a few more. I'm a long barrow kinda girl.
To my surprise, I noticed a tumulus of apparently some size marked on the map right by a busy roundabout on the A40 which I have driven round many times. I couldn't picture it at all and presumed it to be no more than a insignificant bump in the ground obscured from view by crash barriers or ugly road signs. Au contraire! Asthall round barrow is an impressive tump. Situated by the busy roundabout on the A40 midway between Burford and Witney just where it becomes a dual carriageway (or indeed ceases to be dual carriageway, depending on your direction) this huge mound is of about 15 metres in diameter and we reckoned rises three metres, maybe four, from ground level. Walled up with dry stone rubble to protect it from erosion on 50% of its circumference, it sports the usual array of mature trees, brambles and badgers holes.
It's dead easy to see from the road as you approach it coming from the west…it's that huge lump! However have I missed it all these years? Perhaps I have been distracted by watching the planes come in at nearby Brize Norton, or just been vigilant and kept my eyes on the road. It may be just a round barrow, but it's seriously impressive, nonetheless.
[This is actually an Anglo-Saxon barrow and has been removed from the website - TMA Ed]
We drove right up the farm track and parked next to the field in which it lies. Reduced to an uncultivated patch in the distance, we didn't dare walk over the field to see it for fear of becoming caked in mud up to our knees. I noted that the farm on which it stand is called Lad barrow farm, which may be why it still exists: you wouldn't plough up the very thing your land was named after would you? Though big, from this distance it really is quite underwhelming, though its position on the highest land up here is stunning.I was desperately disappointed to find that Lodge Park long barrow was on National Trust land, part of the Lodge Park estate, closed to visitors in the winter. Grrr! I really didn't feel like trespassing today, especially as there was no path that we could have possibly 'strayed from'. Moth was surprised at my reaction, but I felt uncomfortable about this one, which is bloody shame cos from baza's pics it looks like this one has a really nice exposed chamber.
Lad barrow was the next on our list. From ocifant's notes, it looks seriously underwhelming but as Moth says: "Gotta get 'em all!"
This is – or was – an absolute beauty. Ten metres longer than Belas Knap it shows signs of once magnificent side chambers, à la Belas Knap, perhaps as many as six of them. There was a lot of rubble underfoot, some still stacked up, which you could see if you lifted some of the leaf mulch and dug around a bit with your fingers But at some point it has been carelessly dug out. One single standing stone at its head end is all that's left upright; 3 feet tall, 3 feet wide and only 6 inches thick.
Despite its terrible condition, I was really impressed with this place. I guess I have seen enough long barrows now to be able to fill in the blanks in my imagination.
You really wouldn't want to come here in the summer when the undergrowth is at its height, the brambles turn it into Ankle Laceration City, even in winter.
Reduced now to a virtually imperceptible swell in a meadow, you have to be a real Long Barrow Detective (cue for TV series?) to even notice this let alone get excited by it. I walked its length. At some point it was very big, but this has melted away to almost nothing. What a bloody shame.Map reading our way towards Lamborough banks long barrow, I became engrossed in wondering how a copse en route to it could end up with a name like 'Cinema Copse', my mind went into overdrive and I almost missed the place to stop. Lamborough banks is itself at the back of a little copse behind an ugly agricultural unit. There was no one to ask to see it, so we walked down the side of the field on the edge of the copse and climbed over the fence out of view of anyone.On our way home, I noticed en route a place called Farmington long barrow. We had to stop to see what was there as it looked rather big on the map.
Posted by Jane
31st January 2004ce
Edited 23rd May 2007ce
Jane's TMA Blog
1-10 of 108 Posts |