This great monument of enormous megaliths comprises what is left of a whopping burial chamber, aligned, Joan thought, on the winter solstice. Carefully selected, shaped sarsens stand in a line 10 to 15 metres across making up the portal stones and main interior chamber which is all that is left now, but these are incredibly impressive. It remined me of Pentre Ifan, but without the cuttlefish topping. I liked the glistening of them in the drizzly rain and the way the peppermint-green lichens shone out of the surface of the stones. The idly strewn capstones, which must weigh 15 tons or more each lie at the back of the stones which still stand. What a fabulous thing to have in your back garden! What a huge responsibility! Fortunately for us all, they're in the safe hands of Joan Bygrave. Learn from her, ploughmen.
Visited on New Year's Day, purely on the off-chance. Luckily, the friendly woman who owns the house was taking her dog for a walk, and kindly offered to let me see the stones.
I thought it was funny that she had to pop in and get her crib sheet, but the potted talk she gave was very interesting and informative. I couldn't 'see' the formation until it was explained, then all became clear.
I did the dowsing bit, but wished I hadn't once I got home, as the card in my digital camera had been corrupted, and my pictures of the day's visit (including the Cotys) were irretrievable. Ah well, I'll just have to go down again at some point :-) Must remember to make an appointment next time...
The Chestnuts are well worth the visit, we spent a very interesting hour being shown around the site by the woman who lives at the house. The dowsing was fun, having never done anything like it before I really enjoyed it. If you have time ask to see the womans collection of stone and flint tools, it made such a difference being able to hold them, rather than just having to be content with looking at them through glass in a museum. For those who don't know, the site visit is by appointment only, we didn't know this before hand, but were lucky that the woman was free to show us around, so it may be best to check before going.
My girlfriend and I visited our local pre-historic site last autumn after reading about it in The Modern Antiquarian. It was a great experience and felt as if we were entering a new world; according to my school, Britain's history only began in 'AD' 43.
The tour of The Chestnuts was extremely interesting and informative - the dowsing rods provided by the owner certainly had minds of their own and were continually drawn to the same stone. We felt bad only paying 50p for admission to the woman's back garden to see The Chestnuts although she assured that this was plenty to pay for her lawnmower's petrol consumption. A minor point for the update of the tome: the lady living there told us that she is not suing the Department of Transport as that matter was resolved in the 1960s.
All in all, a truly eye-opening experience. 2 down, 298 to go.