|Back on 4th August 2002 we decided to finish off our summer holiday in the south east of England by visiting some sites in Gloucestershire on the way home. We planned to get an early start, but it being a holiday, we didn't get up all that early. Then we hit a serious traffic jam on the M25 and ended up not leaving the M4 until lunch time.
William was very hungry by the time we reached our first site, a long barrow called Windmill Tump near the village of Rodmarton. We had our picnic on top of the barrow just above the really obvious porthole entrance where the nice people from Gloucestershire County Council had cut the grass.
The second site we visited was the Longstone of Minchinhampton. This took us off the edge of the OS map, and onto a horrible road atlas. Louise did a fantastic job navigating, and we eventually found it. There was some sort of equine event going on opposite the stone, so we visited it under the gaze of a policeman who was directing traffic.
Site number three was Nympsfield Long Barrow which was a bit disappointing. We didn't stop there for long because there was practically no ambience at the site. There were lots of visitors and an ice-cream van in the car park, and a traveller's camp close to the barrow. It felt a bit crowded really.
We knew we were about to see something better than the Nympsfield barrow, so we pelted down the B4066 to Hetty Pegler's Tump. I was a bit over excited by the time we'd parked up and walked to the barrow. It's got all the ambience that Nympsfield lacks, and best of all you can go inside! Luckily we'd got William's torch (from his Fireman's kit) with us, so we took this into the chamber. We ended up loaning it to a couple who arrived after us, and they were really grateful (even though it's a pretty poor excuse for a torch).
After that we decided we would have to use the motorway if we were going to make it up north before it got dark. We hopped onto the M5 and drove to Cheltenham where I reluctantly conceded we had to get some food. I'm afraid we resorted to eating at Burger King, and it wasn't a very pleasant experience. It served it's purpose though (just about) and we headed east towards Belas Knap with bellies full of (something resembling) food.
Belas Knap was a bit of a drive from Cheltenham, then a bit of a walk from the car (Lou was pregnant at the time). It poured with rain and the light was fading fast. We really enjoyed Belas Knap despite this, and I think we'd all like to go again when it's less wet and less dark!
Our last site was on the way home from Belas Knap. The little Tibblestone sits just off a roundabout where the A46 meets the A435. It really was dark by this stage, and much later than we'd planned to be rounding off the tour. After that I had a three hour drive back to our house in Wales!
Here are the images for each of the sites I've described above. If you want to see the individual Fieldnotes that I posted for these sites, use the links in the text above and search them out:
Posted by Kammer
28th November 2002ce
Edited 28th November 2002ce