This ones dedicated to TheSweetcheat and his Dad and all our Dads without whom we just wouldn't exist.
Parking can be tricky, there is no good place, I parked on the first corner to the south of the barrows on the A34 next to a pond.
A five minute walk up the road brings us to the woods in which is the first of today's sites. A weakness in the hedge was exploited to good effect and I was in the woods, not knowing exactly where the barrows was, only that it was quite big, I simply headed up the slight hill to its highest point thinking that is where it would be. Twas.
It is a big one too, bigger than I thought Cheshire had, shows what I know, and it shows you there's still plenty to see, even in your own back yard, though my back yard is fifty miles across and today it was foggy and snowy but not too cold.
It was a strange one to photograph, from the south it's just another hilltop and there's a lot of dead wood about, especially on the northern side of the barrow, and all the trees about it either get in the way or make an avenue leading straight to it, there is a big mature tree growing right out of it's center. Iv'e driven past it a few times but never spotted it from the road, Iv'e only seen its northern nieghbour.
Back on to the A34 and two hundred yards up the road and I can see the pedestal topped barrow dimly through the thick helpful fog.
It was helpful because these barrows are on extremely private property, Capesthorne park, in thick fog no-one can see you sneak (sorry Aliens is on).
So a quick jump over a gate and a straight to it walk of five minutes is all this trespass takes. The barrow is more plowed out than it's neighbour but is still quite prominent. The two barrows would have been inter visible if not for the trees and a house and the pea soup. The pedestal on top seems to serve no purpose other than to direct the eye across the perfect lawn, past the groups of four trees to the bump, to the barrow that is now only a lawn feature.
I will have to come back in the spring to get another look, especially to the wooded one.
Here's a romantic thing. It's not got anything directly to do with the barrow. But it does relate to what is immediately beneath the hill with the barrow, one of the famous Cheshire meres. They're quite strange things, the meres and mosses. They make for quite a peculiar landscape with their bogginess and dark pools ringed by vegetation. You'll remember Lindow Man, the Iron Age 'bog body', also from Cheshire. So these places had significance for our ancestors.
And this particular mere has a legend of a floating island, which strikes me as rather Arthurian. It seems that it features in Alan Garner's 'Moon of Gomrath' (though I'd forgotten this, call yourself a fan eh Rhiannon).
A country legend accounts for the floating island by a story, that a certain knight was jealous of his lady-love, and vowed not to look upon her face until the island moved on the face of the mere. But he fell sick and was nigh to death, when he was nursed back to health by the lady, to reward whose constancy a tremendous hurricane tore the island up by the roots.
We have in one of our Meres - Redesmere - a floating island. It is a mass of peat moss, about two statute acres in extent; its outer edge carries a belt of alder and birch trees (some twenty yards wide), some of the trees being twenty feet high and a foot in diameter. The interior is formed of a mass of long grass, cranberry, bog myrtle, and heather, all matted together. It requires a flood and wind from a particular point to move it from its usual position; but occasionally, when retained in deep water till the flood subsides, a very slight wind is sufficient to make it shift its position, and it has done so, the Rev. R. Heptinstall informs me, three times in one day. It has now been stationary about two years, and it requires some depth of water in the Mere to allow it to move say a distance of one-third by a quarter of a mile.
How superb. If I had a lake I would definitely want a floating island in it.
Two bowl barrows in the grounds of Capesthorne Hall. EH descriptions:
NW barrow (SJ 84297 72889)
The monument includes a bowl barrow located on the summit of a rounded knoll 200m north-east of Capesthorne Hall. It includes a slightly oval turf-covered earthen mound up to 1m high with maximum dimensions of 27m by 25.5m. A broken ornamental stone pedestal on the barrow's summit is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath the pedestal is included.
SE barrow (SJ 84512 72570)
Despite some minor disturbance to the monument by a combination of rabbit holes and tree roots, the bowl barrow 450m south-east of Capesthorne Hall survives well. It is a rare survival in Cheshire of an unexcavated example of this class of monument and will retain undisturbed archaeological deposits within the mound and upon the old landsurface beneath.
The monument is a bowl barrow located on a local high point in woodland 450m south-east of Capesthorne Hall. It includes an earthen mound measuring 20m in diameter and up to 2m high.