|Liddington Warren Farm Long Barrow - May 11th 2008
This long barrow sits on top of a ridge over looking the B4192 from Liddington to Aldbourne.
The road shows the precision of a Roman hand and I get the impression that this was the territory prized for it's fertility. This whole area of the Ridgeway was rich agricultural land long before any Roman marched here.
The Aldbourne Circular Route, a bridleway/ride, follows the ridge and runs next to the barrow.
The way this route follows the top of this ridge, from the old Ridgeway at Liddington Castle down to the Aldbourne Four Barrows and on into the church at Aldbourne, is very processional. This whole area must had been the height of pre-roman achievement. Once the Romans came, it would had mushroomed into a major agricultural complex.
To visit this Barrow, I would suggest you park at SU 21822 80419, where the other cars pull up when visiting Liddington Castle, at the top of the hill. The traffic is slower here and you can see what's coming. This road is an accident black spot, as the signs proclaim. If you park here, there is a stile leading into the field and a straight track directly up to the barrow. If you want to get nearer, park at SU 22035 80044 and get under the wire. The road past this point is tree lined with Horse Chestnut trees and can get very dark. It is very wide too, with well dug side ditches and numerous pieces of sarsen half buried. I could imagine it being a drover's road, long before any car thundered along it.
It would have been the main road out to Cirencester, the second largest city in Roman Britian.
Walking up to the barrow you can see the fence line cutting the Eastern flank. This fence is the border. The parish was marked out on known landmarks and you don't get much older a Neolithic Long Barrow. The barrow has been mutilated by man and beast. The black and whites are resident here and they have made quite a mess. When the fence was erected in 1890, three skeletons were dug from the barrow with a fourth, that of an adult male, was found later. The bones of at least one of these were forwarded to St Thomas's Hospital. All are now lost.
The barrow mound is ovoid in plan and orientated WNW-ESE.. It survives to 42m in length, is 30m wide and stands 1.5m high. Although no longer visible at ground level, flanking ditches, from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument, run parallel to the north and south sides of the mound. These have become in filled over the years but survive as buried features 3m wide.
The barrow was first recorded by A.D. Passmore in 1922, who recorded a mound 165 feet long, 42 feet wide and up to 5 feet high, oriented SE-NW. Any sign of the side-ditches had been obliterated by ploughing. L.V. Grinsell was quoted as believing twelve sarsens protruding from the mound, although I could only see two. As it has never been properly excavated, these may be in situ from the original burial chamber. The hollow in the central area of the barrow mound represents only partial excavation by antiquarians, probably in the 19th century.
There might not be a lot to see at this barrow, but it does date from the same period of the ancient Ridgeway. It survived for 5000 years, but has only fallen into a ruin in the last 100 years.
Posted by Chance
12th May 2008ce
Edited 12th May 2008ce