NB: Unless otherwise stated, this image is protected under the copyright of the original poster and may not be re-used without permission.
Loving your pics of The Five Knolls! (They just appeared as a random homepage pic, if yer wonndering!)
I lived in Dunstable for 15 years (for my sins) and never really appreciated what we had in the area, both ancient and natural. Some of the surrounding countryside is fantastic, isn't it?
I remember, as a child on a school trip to Tring Museum, seeing the skeleton of one of the bodies buried in one of these mounds. For some reason the image has stayed with me all these years. I remember seeing it in a foetal position, and thinking it odd as I only ever knew of people being buried laid out in a coffin prior to that.
I wonder if Tring Museum still exists? I fancy a bit of a visit to Dunstable to revisit my childhood haunts - and see what I missed!
[EDIT: I know what I meant to say! I see a fence in you pics - have they actually got around to fencing them off now! When I were a lad, they were far too accessible and were being knackered by motorbikes and cyclists like you'd not believe]
Cheers for your comments and glad you like the snaps.
Yeah, I grew up within 5 mins of the Downs and my parents still live there so when I go back I always squeeze a visit in. You’re right there’s some very nice countryside round there like Ashridge and obviously the Chilterns, not to mention the prehistoric sites!
Not been to Tring museum but I did go to Aylesbury museum and they had loads of stuff from the Chilterns, only the Buckinghamshire stuff though. They did have the bronze age sword which was found by an illegal metal detector (at least they handed it in!) on Ivinghoe Beacon hillfort. My understanding was that Tring was a natural history museum so will have to check that out. There’s also the Luton museum which has the finds from Maidenbower causewayed enclosure, 5 knolls and Waulud’s Bank henge. They’ve got the skeleton from one of the knolls so maybe it was this one you visited? They’ve just updated the gallery and have got an expert to do a clay facial reconstruction of the female skeleton.
The sites round there are thin on the ground but there’s plenty of settlement evidence and ring ditches and the ancient Chiltern hills give you the feeling of prehistory when you drive/walk round the area, and Ivinghoe is the start of the ridgeway to Avebury.
Am I right thinking you live down there now? That would be the dream move for me, I suffer from cabin fever living in a city centre!
It isn’t fenced off unfortunately, there is just one running by the side on the path. There are still bikes and worse being driven over the knolls. Someone recently took a JCB to the bank of Maidenbower to create a more convenient ramp for motorbikes!
I moved away from Dunstable in 1985, and rarely visit at all these days! I still have family there, but just don't feel the pull at all.
Sadly, as I may have mentioned, I just didn't have the interest in history at all, when I was there. I blame some pretty uninteresting history teachers! ;) It was more likely that I just didn't get it... Shame!
And in retrospect, the skeleton from the burial could have been any museum at all in the area... Seems unlikely it was Tring, doesn't it? You're right, of course, about it being a natural history museum - I remember there being a display consisting of 2 fleas under a microscope, fully dressed in miniature people clothes! Bless... :D
I'd love to go back there to explore all the bits I missed, or ttook for granted. We spent a HUGE amount of time at Totternhoe Knoll, and I never knew it was a hillfort till years later! We also spent many happy weekends at Ashridge.
We lived in near Dunstable Downs till I was about 7, then at the foot of Blows Downs (again - no idea of any history/prehistory of the place!) till I moved away aged 14. My enduring memory of both Downs is how amazing they always were when it snowed - looks like it's still a great place for it!
You've whetted my appetite for a return visit. Thank you. :)
(PS - can't help thinking - wouldn't it be odd if it turned out we knew each other!)