The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Devil's Den

Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech

Fieldnotes

Visited this site for the first time at the weekend. A sorry admission since I spent 18 years of childhood and youth in Swindon a few miles up the road and was a regular visitor to the Avebury henge and environs during that time.

Harvesting was well underway this weekend. Whilst walking up the field boundary to the dolmen, a farmer, presumably Kommisar Clatford, drove headlong towards (to the untrained eye damaging his own crops whilst doing so) to remind us that we were on private property. This is the field that Evelyn Francis, in her cute Avebury Wooden Book, suggests should be dedicated to St Pesticide. Mmm.

This farmer was angry as hell and pompous as well.

Deja vu at the Devil's Den. This was all too much like our recent experience in Cork and Kerry. I explained that little boys in shorts and 4 foot high stinging nettles don't make for a happy day out and he responded that that wasn't his problem. I enquired as to whose responsibility the management of the public footpath was and we then had a really fascinating exchange of opinions about the rights and wrongs of permissive access to national treaures.

After a sincere empathetic recital of the country code on my part - a useful skill I picked up when having a similar chat with a Corkmam farmer a few weeks ago - he gave us permission to walk on to the dolmen. His summing up, concluded "Technically no-one should be allowed in here as it [the Dolmen] is on private land. Still I suppose some people are better than others". Not sure what to make of that but I resisted the temptation to say the same thing to him!

This encounter detracted somewhat from the experience of visting this most un-Wiltshire-like place. More like the Dorset Hellstone than say, Devon's Spinster's Rock, this gnarled little specimen was a nettly oasis from the Combine Harvesters which surrounded us. I wasn't AS "moved" as others have clearly been here (but then my heart and soul really belongs to Gurranes) and was surprised to note the large slab of concrete holding the edifice up on its eastern side. Still a wondrous place mind you.
RedBrickDream Posted by RedBrickDream
3rd September 2002ce

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