Continuing north, I take a left (west) at the crossroads. A few yards on, a metal right of way sign points south for a bridleway and north for a footpath. I take the latter, for this leads very conveniently to the Saintbury round barrow. This could easily be overlooked as just another ploughed down barrow in the Cotswolds, but Carl’s previous notes indicate that it’s worthy of attention. He climbed up from Saintbury to the north, whereas my route takes me northwards downhill to the barrow. It’s very muddy and the hill seems to teem with springs, so I’m glad to be wearing my waterproofs, even as the sun has now come out.
The barrow is quite a way down the sloping field, and is not visible until I’m practically on top of it. Before it comes into view, there is the rather surreal sight of the top of the lofty (ha) spire of Saintbury church appearing below me. The barrow itself is small, but quite well preserved for these parts, with the possible remains of an infilled ditch around it. As Carl notes, the positioning is terrific. Perched just above the steeper part of the scarp, the views are wonderful indeed. To the northeast, trees block Meon Hill fort, but otherwise there is an expansive panorama, from Bredon Hill, the distant Malverns, across into Mid-Wales and at the furthest limit of my sight, Titterstone Clee and Brown Clee, maybe 60 miles away and near where I grew up. The darker, wooded hills in front of them possibly even include Croft Ambrey, the fort I used to visit on Boxing Day walks. Breathtaking.
Spotted this on the map when visiting the nearby Willersey Camp and Long Barrow.
I parked near the church in the village of Saintbury and followed the footpath through the churchyard and out the other side through the wooden gate. From here the path continued uphill, through a small wood and out into an open field.
Once in the field the Barrow is easily identifiable as a low grass covered mound approximately 0.5 metres high and 8 metres across.
The Barrow isn't right on top of the hill, but near the top on the north facing slope. When visiting sites up and down the country I always try to think as to why a site was chosen. Sometimes it is obvious – often not. There is no doubt why this particular spot was chosen as the last resting place for someone no doubt important – the views to the north are simply wonderful. This is one of those sites which make what we do so worthwhile; I could feel all my cares fade away as I sat atop the Barrow and admired the vista in front of me. I could have stayed for a long time here but as ever I needed to head back to Karen and the children sat waiting patiently for me in the car.
I really enjoyed my visit here and felt 'recharged' by the experience. A site I would certainly recommend and access is easy as long as you are able to walk up a steep, muddy path through the woods. Top place.