Armed with the day-glo book we rolled up in a borrowed car.
Greeted by a very nice lady who owns the house next to the stones. The tour is enlightening and the lady really conveys enthusiasm for her pagan garden ornaments. The
highlight was trying the divining rods which gave me a sensation on being stuck in an electrical current emanating
from the archway of the site. The longbarrow also gave off
a lot of energy. I was an agnostic until that experience. I wish now I had the means to get out an visit more of these special places.
Incidently, the woman says she's not battling with the Dept of Transport and has no recollection of a J Cope visiting the site although the photo obviousle proves it.
We drove to motorway land - Kent is more the carpark of England than the garden of England. We did visit Addington, and the Chestnuts. This was a lovely, peaceful diversion. The remains of the long barrow are in a private garden. For 50p a head a personal tour was given by the owner.
The barrow has been ploughed out and no soil remains, the chamber is still there, a little dilapidated, but partly restored. The stones are large, it must have been a big barrow. The owner then produced dowsing rods and gave us a lesson. I've been sceptical, but something made the rods twitch and turn and cross over. Pip and I were told that a line of earth energy passed through the site.
Very near, on either side of the road is another barrow, ploughed over and shrunken and totally cut up by the road.
An eye opening site - see a Longbarrow without it's clothes on!
And an amazing, enthusiastic, interesting woman to meet.
Last summer visited the stones of Addington and the Chestnuts with my wife and son. The sun shone down, illuminating the whole area with a pre-sunset glow. After asking to be shown around we were treated to a very informal tour by the very kind lady who "owns" the land (who was impressed by the book by the way!) and then left alone to take it all in. My two year old kept running in and out telling the stones they were cool. I agree.
Along a minor road between Addington and Wrotham Heath – immediately south of the M20. An O/S map would be handy although the barrows are signposted from Addington. Parking can be had at the entrance to Rose Alba.
The entrance to Rose Alba was closed and locked. The sign on the gate gave a telephone number you could ring to make an appointment for a tour of the barrows - £1.00 for adults / under 16 free! I rang the number but there was no answer so I walked back along the lane to have a look at the Addington long barrow.
From the lane you are really quite close to the stones but a barbed wire fence prevents you from getting too close. The stones were a little overgrown with long grass all around. However, the stones are large and can be easily seen. In fact, I am sure I was standing on the edge of one of the fallen stones which comes out to the edge of the road. By standing on the stone you are a couple of inches higher to look into the field. Dafydd and Sophie were none too impressed with the stones – I can understand why. No doubt had we been able to have a ‘tour’ things would have been different.
From the road you cannot see the Chestnuts long barrow which I assume is the other side of the house? Pity there was no one home, I would have loved to have seen the Chestnuts………..
Mr. Larking has since made some excavations at one of the cromlechs of the parish of Addington, the only result of which was the discovery of some fragments of rude pottery, but they were attended with a circumstance which shows how long the ancient superstitions connected with such monuments have lasted. He had fixed on the site for excavating one afternoon, when the keeper happened accidentally to be present.
Early in the forenoon of the next day, Mr. Larking, with some workmen, proceeded to the spot, and he was rather surprised to find the keeper and an assistant waiting for him with picks and spades, and to see them work with extraordinary vigour and earnestness.
As the day passed on, and nothing but a few bits of pottery turned up, disappointment was visible in the features of the keeper, which became still more apparent when they all quitted their work and prepared for their departure. Before they separated, however, he communicated to my excellent friend the cause which made him work so diligently - in the preceding night he had dreamt that the cromlech contained a large crock of gold, and he was in hopes to be the fortunate discoverer of it!
Following my discovery of the roadworks on the barrow and a phonecall to Kent Heritage, I went visiting today. A team of three, including a young lady who I have been emailing regarding the Medway Megaliths for six months, were busy mapping the site, and then I got a nice surprise. Thinking they were getting ready to explore the pothole repair, I was stunned to be shown a large, squarish hole with a buried kerbstone, beneath the tarmac and metalling of the road. I was told I was only the 4th person to see that stone in over 500 years, which is a bit of a buzz!
The road is now closed for "as long as it takes" and I have been invited back at the weekend to see the next stage. They are planning a fullscale survey and possible excavation in the next 12 months, and will keep me informed so I can visit every day and blog it.
And about bloody time too...
PS In return for showing me underground, the team asked that I ask that no visitors descend on them this weekend please! Next year, when the real work begins, no problem.
"A local vicar carried out excavations here in about 1845 and human bones were said to have been found. The eastern chamber still had its capstone in place then, but due to the attention of this over enthusiastic cleric the chamber collapsed as a result of his excavation. He also threw away all the pottery, bones and artefacts he found, as he felt "That they were rude and common stuff" !!!"
(This article originally appeared in the January 1999 issue of the BAG newsletter)