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

Deerleap Wood Barrow

Round Barrow(s)


With an hour or so to spare, following an excellent visit to nearby Holmbury, I decide to drop in and see what actually remains within Deerlap Wood. Not much, probably. Wrong! Anyway, I park in the NT car park near the memorial to Samuel Wilberforce, son of the remarkable anti-slave campaigner William (and by all accounts not a patch on his dad, judging by his alleged high profile mockery of Charles Darwin). Deerleap Wood lies on the opposite side of the road, it being immediately clear by the numerous 'Private...' signs that the Wotton Estate landowners are perhaps intent upon following in the tradition of 'Soapy' Sam, not the awesome Mr Darwin. In short, there is no official access to the woods, save a public footpath linking several houses with West Lane. Every path to the centre of the wood is fronted by one of the aforementioned signs.... except one, that is. 'Perhaps this is intentional to allow access to the barrow?' thinks I, full of faith in human nature and progressive, forward thinking. So, with no-one around to ask, I decide to take a look.

Upon arrival, however, the somewhat oppressive vibe suggests I'm most probably being naive, so grab a few pictures and enjoy the brief presence of a superbly preserved bell barrow - complete with well defined ditch and berm (the level terrace between ditch and mound) - before making a tactical withdrawal. What a pity, eh? The Wotton Estate could gain great kudos within the community - and beyond - with a simple concessionary path 'to the barrow only'... (think how much excellent PR the Forestry Commission has regarding access to its land). Sadly they choose to plant a Scheduled Ancient Monument with new trees instead. One can only assume the proper legal procedure has been followed - and everything's above board - but it still doesn't seem morally right to me? But there you are. Different viewpoints. Here we have the paradox of a very fine Bronze Age monument, historically well preserved no doubt due to its location within a private estate, now threatened by the very same factors.

Needless to say I could never advocate trespass, so if you can manage to obtain permission from the estate, go and see this barrow before it's too late. Seems it needs all the friends - and public exposure - it can get. Wouldn't it be great to remove the mutual antagonism? Yeah, wouldn't it?
7th May 2011ce
Edited 9th October 2016ce

Comments (4)

I'd not normally advocate trespass either, but if this is a case of a SAM getting trashed, I'd perhaps be prepared to consider making an exception.

Planting trees on ancient monuments is shocking bad hat. Shame on you Wotton Estates.
Hob Posted by Hob
8th May 2011ce
What goes on when they think no one's looking, eh? Or perhaps it really is a case of 'no idea'....... GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
8th May 2011ce
Looked up Wotton estate, welcome to 'hospitality' its a big company that owns plenty of hotels everywhere, pricey of course, so no risk they want the locals/village idiots/heritage buffs pottering through their woods and disturbing the guests.. moss Posted by moss
9th May 2011ce
Bah, this land is your land, this land is my land etc...

That's some lousy tree planting. Nice barrow though. Sorta reminds me of this one:
danielspaniel Posted by danielspaniel
9th May 2011ce
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