A very easy site to access being right next to a minor road with plenty of places to pull over on the grass verge.
The Long Barrow is approximately 2 metres high x 10 metres wide x 20 metres long.
It stands in a field of wheat and is covered in tall grass / nettles etc. There were a few stones sticking out of the grass at the western end. The opposite end of the Long Barrow seems to have been destroyed by the field hedgerow. There are no signs of the Long barrow in the field the other side of the hedgerow. A large tree grows out of the Barrow at this end.
The O/S map shows a tumulus in a field to the south (under the electricity pylons) but I didn't have time to go and look for it.
A Spring visit this time and it's currently the haunt of partridges. This barrow must have been really something once - it's still reasonably high and I felt irritated that the other end of the barrow is totally flattened. It made me ponder how many other barrows must have existed but been wiped clean away. I couldn't see any of the big stones I'd seen in winter as plants cover everything - but there are a great deal of little flat stones round about, and I did wonder whether they could be from some Cotswold Severn style walling?
I was pleased to spot the barrow's twin* for the first time, through the hedge on the other side of the road. It seems directly opposite - it made me wonder how old the road is. The crops are only just sprouting so the barrow was clearly visible by its contrasting tufty grass. The multimap aerial photo shows it was ploughed, but it's quite clear on the Google map now. The farmer obviously looks after it now, which is excellent - surely the poor thing's been hammered enough over the millennia. It's on top of a small rise, but in the middle of the field so you can't really get to it. You can get an easier but not quite so clear view from the field entrance (which is blocked by some huge slabs of stone, which I did wonder about too).
*[gah - now looking at Magic it appears someone's changed their mind and this is now down as some round barrows - though there's no additional information. They are pretty much parallel to the long barrow though. I liked it when I thought there were two long barrows. Oh well. At least they make their own appearance on the SMR.]
I watched the sun go down from here last night (threading its way through the pylon lines. How romantic). It's amazing how different places are in different seasons. The mound itself has been largely cleared of vegetation and is covered in tiny nibbled clumps of grass surrounded by thousands of tiny sheepy footprints. No sheep about this time though, but their trails led up to the mound as though they like this for a place to hang out.
What I was delighted to see were some largish stones at the edges of the mound (the barrow being too overgrown for me to have seen them before): the largest 2-3ft long on the top of the barrow, right at the middle at the far end from the tree. Whether the farmer moved it here deliberately I don't know but it is in the perfect spot. I sat on it and realised that the mound is aligned towards the midwinter sunset. My shadow and that of the big oak tree stretched out behind us in the low light.
It's so noisy here though - the sound of the motorway is so loud and constant. But sat freezing on the barrow I tried to let it wash over me. I tried to think of nothing at all.
It's rather a pocket-sized longbarrow this one, and almost cute with its fluffy (and spiky) summer vegetation. I would have sat down and relaxed - but the plants were so high I wouldn't have been able to see out, so I didn't. I expect it looks smaller than it once was - it is right on the field boundary and cut in two by the hedge, the eastern side being ploughed. The huge oak tree growing out of it lends a certain character to it. To get here you have to drive along little lanes through great open fields - it feels most remote, but there in the background is the drone of the motorway, only yards away really.
Its record on Magic mentions "an additional long barrow survives some 160m to the north-west. Such pairs are rare and give an indication as to the density or length of time during which areas were populated during the Neolithic period." I wasn't aware of this at the time - the other barrow is on the other side of the road, and is not indicated on the OS map. The county boundary follows the road.
As I parked the car and got out a load of cyclists began pedalling past along the long straight road. Why should I care what they thought? There's usually only one reason why someone would be popping behind a hedge in the middle of nowhere. It's probably easier to leave them to their assumptions than explain a strange interest in overgrown mounds in fields.
I went here on a rather hot day, the air filled with swooping Swallows and Martins, although near the M4 it is a peaceful place not frequented by many people on foot. The barrow itself is overgrown with long grass and other vegetation which makes it difficult to get an overview of its condition.
To find it from Tormarton take the Marshfield road, cross the M4 and take the first left. The barrow is about 200 meters along the road, there is a field gate and easy access and easy parking.
ST 78087791. Long barrow 135 feet long by 60 feet wide by 6 1/2 feet high, aligned NE/SW. It is shown as two round barrows on the OS 6" map, but the balance of evidence is in favour of a long barrow. (2)
Long barrow discovered by Passmore in 1939; rectangular with square ends and rounded corners and no sign of side ditches. The NE end is less well-preserved than the remainder, being in another field which is under the plough. At the SW corner is a small outwork almost touching the barrow. (3)
This is a long barrow. The description above is correct except that the mound does not have squared ends and there is no trace of the "outwork". It is unlikely that this was in any way connected with the barrow. Resurveyed at 1:2500. (4)
No change since report of 3 7 62. (5)
Between West Kington village and Tormarton the county and parish boundaries run parallel and south of the Burton—Bristol Road ; on this is milestone 12 from Christian Malford ; 475 yards S.W. of this and just south of the road is an unrecorded long barrow discovered by the writer in February, 1939. It is a green mound, noticeably rectangular with square but slightly rounded ends, still standing seven feet high at a point east of the centre. It is 150 feet long by 57 at the S.W. end and just over 60 at the N.E.; its direction is 40 degrees magnetic. Three parts of the barrow are in fine preservation but the N.E. end being in another field has been somewhat ploughed down but is still some feet high and well defined. A hedge passes over it at 45 feet from its termination in that direction. There are no signs of side trenches.
To the north there is a field wall by the road side and a small excavation has been made in the N.W. flank of the barrow for wall stone but it is merely a shallow hollow which has caused very little damage. At the S.W. corner there is a very curious small outwork not connected with the barrow but almost touching it, which is hard to explain.
Close to this spot the six inch O.M. Wilts Sheet XVIII, N.E., marks two small round barrows, Goddard's No. 1 and 2, West Kington. There is however no trace of these mounds now and it is doubtful if they ever existed. But in tlie next field in its W. corner and close to the head of the long barrow is a small barrow ploughed very low hitherto unrecorded. Over the road to the N. are two round barrows now ploughed very flat. To the E. is a round barrow, Goddard No.3 West Kington. This is a low bowl-shaped mound opened at top, about 50 feet in diameter and three and a half high. It differs from any barrow I have ever seen by having a platform on its S. side, apparently part of the barrow.