This bowl-barrow lies on the side of a hill, south west of the hamlet of Campion, Enford on the A342.
My visit came at the end of a day's trek through the lower Pewsey valley. I had been out on manoeuvres, researching the Redhorn hill area. After travelling through the major sites of the area, along with the public houses, camp sites, village and farm shops, it signalled the final objective of that day's mission. Having checked out the facilities around Urchfont, me and my bike were going up in the world, well trying to follow in the footsteps of the ancients, up the bridleway and onto Urchfont Hill. The game plan was to climb up onto the MOD impact area, cycling round the edge of the range, past Casterley Camp, and on towards Enford.
I was looking at a cycling route from stonehenge to Avebury. The route would involve travelling from the observation post at su 059554 over Chirton Gorse, via Ell Barrow at su 073574, to the outer observation post at su
077491. From here the choice is to travel right past the disused Greenlands camp army base and onto the the camp site at Orcheston. The left path leads past The Barge Inn, Rollestone Camp and into the Stonehenge World Heritage site via the haunted airmans corner and the Winterbourne Stoke or up the Packway's hill and Fargo road, down the by-way to Stonehenge itself.
Riding along the track that sunny afternoon was great. The track itself was well maintained, and after the rutted Ridgeway, was a joy to me arse. The plain is a surreal place. When there are no exercises, it seems like a nature lovers Shangri-La. The army vecheles and personel seemed I encountered seemed pleased to find this guy crusing through their territory, on his way to who knows were. Twice buzzed by choppers, my primary objective was Casterley Camp, with it's observation post and dog walker's car park.
Casterley Camp turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. After the photo shoot, I was keen to move onto the Enford bowl-barrow. One final check of the map to see the direction the barrow was in and I weer gone. The top of the hill revealed the barrow to my left, high and proud. Standing out from the freshly cultivated soil, the green barrow signalled the continuing echo's of our Bronze age ancestors.
Down the gully and onto the farm track. approaching the site, I decided to drop the bike into the nearest cover. The plan was to follow the edge of the fields (the headland), over the wire and under the barrow. This of course, was illegal. As there was no crop in the fields, standing or drilled, I felt justified to carry out the study up close and personnel. I had attracted the attention of the Land Rover passing the lane below, but making it clear I was taking pictures and the barrow was my only purpose, I pushed on. Moving round the side of the barrow, I startled 3 young doe's who ran off towards the top of the hill, only to stand a watch this strange intruder.
The barrow is geert, as any local will tell you. At 48 metres in diameter and 5 metres high, it remains one of the largest surviving bowl-barrows in England. Bowl-barrows of this type include the Aldbourne Four Barrows group and probably the most famous barrow in England, Bush barrow , excavated by Sir Richard Colt Hoare in 1808. Enford bowl-barrow lost out to the likes of Sir Richard Colt Hoare's hand and the marked depression on its
summit, is not the penetration mark of Greenwell's shaft. Alas the cavity extending from the centre towards the east is evidence the barrow has been had. When this took place, and by who's hand is unknown. Who was resident, or what 'treasure' was found, is also unknown. L. V. Grinsell's visit of 1950 (see below), may be the only account left to us.
Having got to the centre of the barrow I performed me little ritual. "Blessed be to the ancestors", "Blessed be Green Tara" I pronounced in me mellow voice. Digging into the tiny jar of honey with a straw from the barrow, an offering was made. It would had been nice to meditate upon that lovely hillside but shadows were beginning to lengthen and I had to haul my ass back to the A342 and heavy traffic. That was, if there wasn't some irate farmer waiting for me at Compton farm.
Back in the saddle, and building up speed for a quick exit, the farm and it's current custodians of the land were soon replaced by the buzz of prime time traffic. Pushing on past Upavon to Pewsey, the burger bar was calling, and the canal towpath would then take me back to http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/facility/50 The Barge Inn and my humble one man tent. Travelling by bike is not the easiest way to go, but it gives you a relationship with the llandscape that remains supreme.
A beer or two later and I slept like a log. Felt good, like I'd done something worth while. Had two more objectives the next day, the Giant's Grave, Milton Lilbourne (SU189583), above Pewsey on the Everleigh road, and the Everleigh barrows (SU184561), beside cart-track from Lower Everleigh to Pewsey Hill.
Had a great day that day. Kept records of the characters I met, the facilities I visited and the sights, smells, sounds and emotions that came my way. If I ever get it together to finish "Down and Out in Ancient Wiltshire", it will contain great content.
This round barrow, one of the largest in Wiltshire, is said to conceal a golden chair at its bottom. Some visitors tried to open the hill, but were stopped by the local people. This was told to LVG in 1950, by Christopher Oliver of Shaw House, West Overton.
(From Grinsell's Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Britain. Also in
Barrow Treasure, in Fact, Tradition, and Legislation
L. V. Grinsell
Folklore, Vol. 78, No. 1. (Spring, 1967), pp. 1-38. ).