|Tue 21/12/04 3:53 pm
When you say to most people that you will be celebrating the Winter Solstice on the top of a wooded hill in Croydon they tend not to believe you.
In fact the view from the ridge over Purley, to the south west, and the effect of the street lights coming on just after the Winter Solstice sunset was more beautiful than I expected. This really does form a perfect arena for this event, with the woods all around, except specifically to the south west.
We first came up here with friends a year ago for the sunset. They are also druids and had decided to find sites where they lived that could be used for druid ceremony, rather than always coming down to Sussex.
The only downer is that, as usual, I could not actually see the sunset. As a Pagan I have NEVER seen a Winter Solstice sunset. I've looked at where they are happening at exactly the right time every year, but my failure to actually see the Sun is almost a tradition now. It is testament to our friendship that I am welcome back next year, despite the fact that our friends HAVE seen the sunset up here at the times I haven't joined them.
Maybe next year...
I came up here to photograph the site two days before the Solstice as the light was good considering the time of year.
It is a very low barrow that does not come out well on camera, though is easy to make out while actually there. The setting is perfect for a bronze-age burial and it is still very easy to imagine what the view looked like before London existed.
On the Winter Solstice the Sun apparently sets along the Crooked Valley that apparently gives Croydon its name. This is the valley through Purley that the A23 now follows.
In the woods to the south east, along the ridge, there is a raised area of ground that looks like it MAY be another barrow, but I can't be certain. It isn't marked as such on the OS map. The established barrow is at TQ338632 and this other area is at TQ338631. The path divides either side of it and when I was there it was a distinct area of greenery (See picture)