Ashover (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Fieldnotes
These pair of stones are returning to nature. The little fenced rock garden, that houses the stones, is now overgrown in June and the designs are becoming moss covered. The stone with the lightly pecked motif is now completely lost to the moss; and many of the cup marks in the design of the neighbouring slab are also moss filled.
It may be the intention to let the stones get a more natural feel to them. Although I much preferred them when they were free of moss and the like and more of a feature in the garden. Each to their own.
A highly visible hill located between the Staffordshire Moorlands villages of Calton and Blore to the South-East of Musden Low. Hazelton Hill is a distinctive dome-shaped hill with a clump of woodland upon it's summit. The hill is rather similar to Waterfall Low in appearance and good views of it can be had from the summit of Musden Low. Hazelton Clump can also clearly be seen from the A523 Leek to Ashbourne road which lies to the South.
A flat-topped barrow in the midst of a plantation on the top of Hazelton Hill was opened by Carrington in 1849. No primary burial was found but three secondaries, all cremations, were found.
One was accompanied by two arrow points of flint which were described as being of inferior quality as they were made from flint and broken pebble.
The second consisted of a few burnt bones placed under a small, inverted, plain cinerary urn.
The third was accompanied by a circular flint implement, some flint flakes and a peice of lead weighing more than 3 1/2 ozs.
Other finds included small pieces of a course urn, numerous pebbles, many large stones and a piece of iron ore. (Source: Bateman, T. "Ten Years Diggings..." 1861 p.140-1)
Although public footpaths run around the base of the hill to the North and South I am not aware of any public access to the site. There is a car park at the picnic site beside the Blore to Ilam road off to the East of Hazelton Hill near to Lady Low.
The site is marked on OS Maps by an earthwork symbol. The hill is marked by the label Hazelton Clump in plain text.
The smallest surviving hillfort in Staffordshire, Bishop's Wood is an Iron Age Univallate Promontory Hillfort located within that portion of the smaller, more northerly of the two coniferous plantations called Bishop's Wood that lies within the parish of Eccleshall, Stafford District. In fact the District and Parish boundary with Loggerheads Parish, Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme runs along the western limits of the site.
The hillfort measures approximately 80m North to South, 50m East to West enclosing an area of roughly 0.2 hectares and sits at the South-Western end of a promontory. Close-set double ditches cut off the neck of the promontory and the inner ditch continues around the crest of the hill. A double bank and ditch facing North-East may mark the original entrance - though the modern roadway passes through the gap in the earthworks now. The defences continue for a short distance to the North as a scarped natural slope. A discontinuous outer line of defences has been added to strengthen where the natural topography is weakest. At the South-West a short stretch of ditch and bank defends the approach up the southern slopes of the promontory.
The site is not known to have been excavated but was surveyed by R.C.H.M.E. in 1988 as part of the Staffordshire Hillforts Project. A.H.A. Hogg lists this site as "Eccleshall Hillfort" in his Index of British Hillforts.
I have to say that despite there being public footpaths running through the wood this was not the easiest place to visit. The road leading to Bishop's Wood meets the B5026 Loggerheads to Eccleshall road near to Hookgate. (Look for a small sign on the opposite side of the B5026 pointing to the lane that reads "Fairoak Holiday Cottages - 1 mile"). There is a small cluster of houses and a farm at the head of the lane and this may be a public highway, however a short distance further on a sign states that the lane is a private road and no vehicular access is permitted without prior permission. The B5026 is a narrow but busy main road and not an ideal place to try and park and the lanes in the vicinity are very narrow. I can only suggest that you do what we did and park in Loggerheads and walk down to the site.
Follow the lane right the way down until you pass "Burntwood" Severn Trent Water station on the right. On the bend in the road just beyond that facilty there is a small metal gate with a spring-loaded catch that marks the start of the public footpath - ignore the direction the footpath fingerpost is pointing (it appears to have been knocked out of position and is now pointing straight at a tree trunk!) and instead follow the access track that winds through the woods. The track curves it's way around the base of the promontory that the hillfort sits upon. The whole site is aforested but ditches and banks are visible in parts.
The parish church for the parish of Loggerheads (The church of St. John the Baptist) is not located in Loggerheads itself but in the village of Ashley to the East.
The Auctioneers Mound is an earthen mound scheduled as a round barrow situated in the field adjoining the church. The site is easy to find as it is located immediaetly to the rear of the house to the North of the church (directly opposite the village pub). On the far side of that house a track leads a very short distance down to a field gate, on the right-hand side of which is a stile labelled "Path to Podmore and Maer". Climb over the stile and the barrow is on your right in the next field on the other side of the barbed-wire fence.
The earthen mound is 1.8m high and 20m in diameter and has a flattened top 9m in diameter. An infilled ditch approx. 3m wide surrounds the barrow. In 1958 it was noted that an annual church service was held on the mound on Plough Sunday - but this tradition had apparently ceased by 1974. Presumably the name of the site comes from the idea of the Auctioneer standing atop the mound while conducting a sale of livestock giving them a panoramic view of both the stock and the bidders below.
The Auctioneers Mound is not shown on OS Landranger map 127. The mound is not known to have been excavated and it has been suggested that it could be a Bronze Age Bowl Barrow, the motte of a timber castle or a burial mound covering medieval plague victims. It's location next to the church would not be unusual for any of these explanations.
The Tumulus marked on the OS at SK0944 5881 is called "The Cops". The barrow has a field boundary wall running over the top of it and it is completely destroyed on one side of the wall but fairly intact on the other side.