|Wow! Visited 15.2.2009. Entered the wood from Cranham Lodge Sawmills (thanks for the tip Hamish) and then cut SE along various minor tracks. I had read Rhiannon's comments about the barrow being so big you couldn't miss it and scoffed, thinking that the trees would obscure it. I was wrong, Rhiannon was right - at this time of year you can see it pretty well, particularly in the snow. My advice to anyone trying to find it is to find a high spot in the wood and look around (this won't work in the summer!).
Seen from the west, the barrow appears as a lowish ridge, and I had to walk around the south side to be sure I had found it. From the SE, the "horned extremity" of the forecourt is clearly visible.
"She stands all alone/You can hear her hum softly".
Let me say that I am not usually susceptible to atmosphere/vibes, etc. But here! All the other barrows I have ever visited have just felt like "it" - this one definitely felt like "she". A she who had seen better days and was looking rather past her best, but definitely a she. A very welcoming spot, I had the odd feeling that West Tump wanted visitors and that she felt rather lonely in the woods, an aging princess in need of a suitor. Clearly I'm going soft or mad.
The forecourt is clearly descernable at the eastern end, above this is a roughly circular excavation scar. The barrow is also used by mountain bikers to give their woodland ride a bit more excitement, and a dirty brown stripe runs along her back through the snow. I sat for ten or fifteen minutes in the snowy forecourt, where the remains of four people from 4,000 years ago were found. A lovely, peaceful spot, with only the birds singing and the white clothed barrow for company.
"She fills the bags 'neath her eyes with the moonbeams, and cries 'cos the world's passed her by. Didn't time sound sweet yesterday?"
As I left I found my eyes drawn back to the barrow, which is clearly visible through the trees at this time of year. But it's off to the busy B4070 and Hazel Hanger Wood. I will be back.
Posted by thesweetcheat
15th February 2009ce
Edited 15th February 2009ce