|Starting from the small car park by Oliver's Castle we headed right along a trackway towards King's Play Hill and long barrow. A typical January day, chilly with a hint of rain in the air but it was a pleasure be out on the Wiltshire Downs again. A round barrow sits on the crest of King's Play Hill, to get to it we did a back shuffle under a barbed wire fence (a first for me) to come upon an amazing almost sheer drop on the other side of the hill - made negotiable only by the tiers of sheep tracks.
My walking friend, being a keen map-reader, pointed out the long barrow, although not very prominent, sat just below the crest of the hill - where we had just come from on the other side of the barbed wire, so back we went to take a closer look. From where we were standing we could also see the round barrows in the distance on the highest point of Furze Knoll near Morgan's Hill.
Ultimately, we were heading for the village of Heddington to pick up the track at the bottom of Roundway Down back to Oliver's Castle so it was under the barbed wire again to make our way downhill along the sheep tracks. This is when the astonishing hillocks that Rhiannon mentions in her fieldnote came into view - similar to the ones near Oliver's Castle but far more ridged (see photo).
Once on lower ground our way became very muddy; at one point we had to pass through liquified mud by a farmyard near Heddington. A farm worker directed us to the path 'up on the left'. I looked up and heard my horrified voice say "But there's a dead cow lying there".
Farm worker: "Yes, she dropped dead yesterday." Horrified Voice: "Oh ... what are you going to do with her."
Farm Worker: "The hunt will have for the hounds". For a townie out walking, this is one of the unpalatable realities of country life.
Posted by tjj
25th January 2011ce
Edited 25th January 2011ce