I liked this hugely. The sense of time here is something else. Although it the barrow itself is very ruinous, the fact that there were some stones left made me very happy.
What was especially impressive was its location deep in the heart of what's left of the vast and ancient Wychwood Forest, previously a royal hunting ground of great importance. Today, there remains a flavour of what this woodland must have been like 1500 years ago, and as the delightful Jane said, it was very easy to understand how the Eastern European fairy tales came about when people lived in such environments.
But as we sat next to the dilapidated barrow, listening to the blue tits and great tits calling to each other, I found myself pondering on the terrain. Had this barrow in fact been built 6,000 years ago in a treeless landscape? Apparently, there were many other barrows (or remains thereof) scattered through the forest. Was this part of NW Oxfordshire as important a place as the Avebury area? What *did* it lok like in the Bronze Age? How many barrows have we lost? Did it actually look like modern Wiltshire up here?And the peace and quiet was sublime. This is a very special place. *Please* ask for permission should you wish to visit. It would be wrong to spoil the trust of such a landscape - if you know what I mean.
Our ability to read maps and chart a course through the delightful Wychwood forest on rough trackways meant we found Slatepits Copse Long barrow more easily than I could have hoped. Its about 70ft long and appears to be melting back into the undergrowth of the forest effortlessly, as trees and scrub overtake it. The chamber is clearly visible at the front of the mound, whos profile undulates, its back broken by poor excavations in 1850 I believe, when three skulls were found.
The only hint to the passer by (or trespasser) to it existance on the ground are the three great flat stones which form the chamber at the western end. We sat in amongst the fallen branches by the chamber and enjoyed the utter peace of being pretty much alone (but for squirrels, deer, birds) in this fairy-like woodland.
Badly neglected, yet probably only still in existance by its position tucked away deep in a remote corner of Wychwood forest.
(SP 32891651) Long Barrow (NR) (1) Remains of Long Barrow rediscovered Oct 24th 1922. It lies 66 paces east of main north-south ride, at a point 240 paces south of point of intersection of the rides. It is 97ft long (taped) and about 6ft high (estimated). Oriented approximately east to west). At the eastern end are three large stones at right angles:- 'A' = 3ft 10ins actual height, 6ft 8ins wide, 1ins thick and 2ft 9ins vert height. 'C' appears to be 4ft 7ins wide, and is certainly 2ft 6ins, it is standing upright but partially covered. 'B' leans eastwards and is either a fallen lintel or upright of a chamber; 'A' and 'C' are 4ft 10ins apart. Digging west of chamber only and that evidently only superficial; well worth preservation and eventual excavation. Much black earth to south of mound. (2) Slate pits Copse: Long Barrow. (3) Located at SP 32901652, this barrow is much as described above. The cist is still clearly visivble and stone 'B' is almost certainly a leaning upright. The dark earth is at present covered by dense seasonal undergrowth. Resurveyed at 1:2500. (4) SP 330165. Slate pits Copse long barrow, scheduled. (5)
You need permission from the Estate Manager at Cornbury Park to see Slatepits Copse Long Barrow and Churchill Copse Long Barrow. Expensive People frequently have fun killing deer here, so to avoid shot in your arse, permission is recommended!
Phone 01608 811276 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
They were very nice to me and I didn't even have to flutter my eyelashes or show 'em my tits.