After the hamlet of Wood Stanway, where a passing farmer greets me with laughter and a disbelieving “you must be mad”, the route reaches its steepest climb, up to Stumps Cross. I take the ascent rather gingerly, but it’s not a huge climb and I reach the bench at the top without any major problems, despite the mud at the bottom and drifted snow on the slopes. From here, there are expansive views across the vale to the west on a good day, but sadly little to be seen under the low cloud today.
I visited the two round barrows a little over a year ago, but neglected to write any fieldnotes. Aside from the view from the escarpment edge, which is now obscured by trees from here, there is little recommend these barrows. They have been ploughed within an inch of their lives and unless you knew they were there, you probably wouldn’t notice them at all. However, if positioning is everything, they would have been impressive in their day and can be compared with the Saintbury Barrow a few miles away along the escarpment edge. Incidentally, Stumps Cross takes its name from the base of a now otherwise gone medieval cross alongside the road junction below the barrows.
Despite some disturbance in the past, the two bowl barrows known as Stumps Cross round barrows survive well.
The monument includes two bowl barrows, aligned north west-south east, set just below the crest of a hill in the Cotswolds and within two separate areas of protection. The northern barrow mound measures 20m in diameter and is 0.6m high while the barrow mound to the south measures 18m in diameter and is 0.5m high. Surrounding each mound is a ditch from which material was excavated during the construction of the barrows. These ditches are no longer visible at ground level, having become infilled over the years, but survive as buried features about 2m wide.