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

Tow Barrow

Long Barrow


August Bank Holiday weekend isn't usually noted for providing much opportunity to exercise the old grey matter... not that there's anything wrong with the usual cliches, you understand, but I can do without garden centres and barbecues if the opportunity to do something different arises, thanks very much. So a trip to see The Mam C in South Wales is a welcome prospect this morning. Once the customary extreme reluctance to drag myself out of bed is overcome, that is. Today, I decide upon a diversion in Wiltshire en route. As you do.

As Chance notes, the area south of Hungerford could well lay a claim to be 'long barrow central', such is the volume of sites to be seen. Arriving early morning at the tiny hamlet of Tidcombe, the deep blue sky promises a beautiful day. A bridleway - initially of tarmacadam - ascends Tidcombe Down (ha! how our language must confuse the Germans!) to the approx SW, the mutilated, yet nevertheless substantial Tidcombe long barrow itself visible to south-east. The track continues, the surface grass now and sodden with heavy dew which plays havoc with my light boots, crossing a field of golden crop . What looks mightily like the long barrow rises beyond... yet it is in the wrong place according to the map. Hmmm. The route bisects another path and here, to the right, a concrete water tower leads the visitor to an OS trig point near the rogue 'long barrow'. Aye, 'tis a reservoir after all. I follow the path downhill towards a copse of trees and a wondrous view, veering across grass to the left. Sure enough a large round barrow is soon visible, an even larger example apparently standing up hill to the south. But no, even in its seriously overgrown state, side ditches proclaim this to be the long barrow, if a somewhat short, long barrow. Right on! A further large round barrow sits in the field below to the west, beyond a herd of somewhat perplexed cows. The beauty of this landscape is spellbinding in this light, not spectacularly so as that of a mountainous region, perhaps, but captivating nonetheless with The Vale of The White Horse on the northern skyline, that of Pewsey the western.

It's difficult to find somewhere to sit - OK sprawl - amongst the nettles, but, that feat accomplished, what a morning to contemplate 'stuff' - human stuff such as relationships and what not - with the moon hanging suspended in an impossibly blue sky. Hey, I swear the insurmountable suddenly seems feasible up here. And why not? For me this is one of the key reasons to visit these wonderful places... clarity of thought. That's not to say it's absolutely quiet at Tow Barrow today.. but farmers have gotta do what farmers have gotta do. I'm glad I came.
4th September 2010ce
Edited 4th September 2010ce

Comments (2)

Your mention of Tidcombe long barrow attracted my attention Gladman, I visited it a couple of months back and am surprised there is not more written about it. A very unusual shape due, I believe, to it being plundered in times gone by. It clearly was once a substantial barrow though.

I also wanted to comment of on loveliness of all your sky-(deep)-blue photos.
tjj Posted by tjj
4th September 2010ce
Thanks Tjj. Yeah, I visited Tidcombe a few years back, together with Botley Down... apparently the deep trench was caused by 'treasure seekers'. The usual.

Incidentally, not sure if you've had the pleasure of Botley Down, but if not it's a very fine, but heavilly overgrown long barrow in woods. There's also an excellent disc barrow very close by to it, too.
4th September 2010ce
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