|You know how it is... you love your job so much that you find yourself in the 'use it or lose it' annual leave situation upon entering February. How the hell did that happen. Again? So a week at The Mam C's in South Wales it is, then. En-route, however, the usual Gladman improvisation kicks in and I arrive a little past 8am just south of Cheltenham. As you do. Ah, Crickley Hill....
However, having visited the Cold Slad some years back, I've my little eye focussed instead upon an apparently rather fine long barrow the Sweatcheat kindly brought to my attention a while back. A minor road leaves the A436 near the A417 roundabout and, in a short while, a bridleway leads to the left beside woodland.... where it is possible to park a car. The path, initially very muddy - hey, this is a field after all - leads gently uphill to a further belt of trees, Crickley Hill rising to my left. The long barrow lies within the field beyond to the north, the field best entered by the gate mentioned by SC in its western (left) flank.
First impressions count for a lot, or so they say. Sadly I concur.... sadly, since I've no doubt we miss out upon so much which is not readily and immediately apparent at first glance. But not here. One glance is enough to completely entrall this early morning visitor, a classic copse of trees surmounting what appears to be a very substantial long barrow indeed. For once a foreshortened aspect does not deceive - not in the slightest. Horses grazing the surrounding pasture approach to check out the intruder and - apparently satisfied - resume what horses do best. Hey, perhaps that 'horse whispering' stuff actually works? Or perhaps I simply told them to 'piss off' in horsey language? I hope not.
As I climb the mound and settle down for coffee the sun breaks through the morning mist, sending well defined shadows of monument and tree line across the field. The moment resonates with abstract meaning I cannot define....
The long barrow is in pretty good nick, it has to be said, despite some obvious damage at the eastern end where, presumably, a chamber was once located? Not sure whether this was the result of 'excavation' or treasure seeking muppets, but needless to say the end result was the same. The visit turns into a full morning hang, the munching horses adding to the aura of calm and well being here. No reason to leave.
N.B - According to the OS map a 'tumulus' lies a little way to the approx south of the long barrow. Perhaps I'm not that perceptive, but it would appear very little remains save an almost imperceptible rise. If this is not the case, I guess the former applies!
Posted by GLADMAN
8th March 2011ce
Edited 8th March 2011ce