I parked on the main road just past the farm entrance and walked up the mud track which leads into the trees. Luckily it has been a dry month or otherwise it would have been a very muddy walk indeed!
I would have asked permission to visit but there was no one about.
As you approach the wire fence on your left you will see a blue plastic water tank near the fence. Turn right here and in no time you will at the Long Barrow.
The Barrow has been clearly dug into in several places and was looking a bit sorry for itself. Although very large it was covered in brambles and bushes, making access quite difficult. I wouldn't fancy trying to explore in the height of summer!
This site is recorded on my large AA map (the type you can but in petrol stations etc). I wonder what criteria they use when deciding which sites to include on their map? There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason? You would expect to see the 'main' sites (Avebury, Stonehenge etc) but why select only a few of these 'minor' types of site. Afterall, parking is not great and there is no public access to the site. Even when you do get there access is difficult. Just a thought.
Walking from Bibury towards the lovely village of Ablington, past an area marked as a 'settlement' on the OS map (though no visual evidence). After leaving peaceful Ablington we made our way to a strange other-worldly valley which felt like a stream or river had once flowed there. This we followed up to some abandoned stone pigsties, then with Gambra Hill to our left we followed a field edge to Lamborough Banks long barrow. On the edge of a grouse rearing wood, the barrow is behind a Cotswold stone wall. We didn't attempt to climb over the wall as a very good view of the barrow without doing so. Like most un-restored long barrows, this one is much damaged and overgrown with brambles - though probably the longest long barrow I've yet seen (excluding WKLB). Today parts of it were covered with a profusion of wild violets.
Timothy Darvill in his book Prehistoric Gloucestershire describes another nearby mound as a beehive chamber. We did manage to locate the mound a short walk from Lamborough at the side of a nearby farm – again enclosed by a stone wall and at the centre of a newly planted saplings. (Sometimes described as Ablington Barrow 2)
Forming the final visit to a triumvirate of long barrows today - and preceded by the mighty Crippets and evocative Coberley - Lamborough Banks was, in retrospect, perhaps on a hiding to nothing in the Gladman appreciation stakes.
The unusual nature of the visit to come was perhaps foretold by a village sign along the B4425 duly announcing 'Barnsley'.... now my route finding is bad, granted. But not that bad, I'd have thought? It's not, the Ablington turn off at Bibury leading me past the former to an seemingly abandoned farm within trees to the left of the minor road. With no sign of a farm house (that I could see) and a deserted commercial concern of some description to my right, I decide to go walkabout down the seriously muddy track, veering right as suggested in previous posts. Sure enough, a break in the trees heads left past a large enclosure of chicken wire.... and there it is. A seriously overgrown long barrow.
And I mean seriously overgrown, a single orthostat upon the southern end of the mound all but consumed by brambles. So then, not a place to hang out unless you have a cast iron constitution... or happen to be a devotee of the Marquis de Sade. But hey, who am I to judge? Despite this, a walkabout hacking one's way through the undergrowth reveals Lamborough Banks to be quite an upstanding monument, one featuring traces of what may well be chambers in addition to the previous mentioned stone.
And then the shooting starts.... shotgun reports to my north, south, east and.... yeah, there it goes... west. I'm surrounded by 'individuals' with guns, the sort who think shooting 'things' is fun. Oh dear. Time to leave unless I fancy a walk on/carry out part in a remake of 'Southern Comfort'. Speaking of which, a man lurks silently in the trees as I return to the car. To be fair, however, a landrover parked in the yard suggests this to be the farmer not wishing to make a big deal. If so, I appreciate the gesture.
So, self preservation took precedence over the study of antiquity this time around - although the visit did last an hour. Come to Lamborough Banks when the guns remain silent and no doubt a great time can be had by all.
This is – or was – an absolute beauty. Ten metres longer than Belas Knap it shows signs of once magnificent side chambers, à la Belas Knap, perhaps as many as six of them. There was a lot of rubble underfoot, some still stacked up, which you could see if you lifted some of the leaf mulch and dug around a bit with your fingers But at some point it has been carelessly dug out. One single standing stone at its head end is all that's left upright; 3 feet tall, 3 feet wide and only 6 inches thick.
Despite its terrible condition, I was really impressed with this place. I guess I have seen enough long barrows now to be able to fill in the blanks in my imagination.
You really wouldn't want to come here in the summer when the undergrowth is at its height, the brambles turn it into Ankle Laceration City, even in winter.
This barrow is one of the ones vandalised by the Victorians, and it is in a very ruined state as you can see from the photos, but worth a visit. Ask permission in the farm, if you cannot find anyone follow the lane one the right you will come to a pheasant brake, the barrow is in here.
(SP 1075 0941) Long Barrow (NR) The long barrow known as Lamborough Banks measures 300 ft by 75 ft high, aligned SSE/NNW. Excavated in 1854 by S Lysons who found a single orthostat of a blind entrance at the south end between two V-shaped horns built of dry-stone-walling, which extended to form inner and outer revetments enclosing the whole barrow. At the north end was a cist or lateral chamber containing a single primary inhumation (Witts' No 1). (2-3)
The 'Lamborough Banks' Long Barrow survives as a tree covered mound 90.0m in length, 2.0m in height and 38.0m in width at its widest (SSE) end. Its W side is flanked by a modern stone wall beyond which it is ploughed out. The barrow was very badly mutilated by Lysons excavations, the holes of which were left open, and it is now in a poor condition. Nothing of the horned entrance, nor of the revetment walls, chambers or ditches can now be recognised.
SP 10890924 (1). The Ablington Beehive Chamber is an underground circular chamber situated in the south slope of a long low irregular mound, which, though covered with undergrowth, appears to be aligned roughly E/W with a length of over 150 ft. The chamber is constructed with dry-stone-walling, with stone seats and three cupboards or niches, above which the wall is corbelled to an entrance at the top, 6 1/2 ft above the floor. It was excavated c 1865 by Samuel Lysons, and again in 1925 by A D Passmore and E C Daubeney, when no dating evidence was found apart from a module of flint foreign to the district. Locally it was supposed to be a shepherd's cot, but Passmore believed it to be a prehistoric burial chamber in a mutilated mound, possibly a barrow, and O'Neil and Grinsell list the structure as Neolithic. W F Grimes points out its similarity to the barrow near Saltway Barn (SP 10 NW 2) and other neighbouring barrows, suggesting a culturally distinct sub-group of the long barrow folk. There is a tradition of another bee-hive chamber being found in Hole Ground, a few hundred yards to the NE.
A possible long barrow orientated WNW-ESE measures 40.0m by 14.0m by 0.5m high. The corbelled chamber is exposed towards the west corner of the south side. 'Hole Ground' is not known locally. Surveyed at 1:2500 on PFD.
There are actually two long barrows very close to each other here.
Lamborough Banks itself is the northernmost and overlooks a dry valley. It's a 'cotswold-severn' type which had v-shaped horns of drystone walling and a false entrance at the south end. It was excavated in 1854 by Canon Samuel Lysons who also found a stone-lined chamber with a single burial. The site's in rather a dishevelled state now but at least it's in its own walled area.
The other barrow is much shorter and orientated in a different direction. Lysons excavated this one too, and found an unusual circular underground drystone walling chamber. It's in the shape of a beehive and has three stone 'seats', above which are three niches, and the wall is corbelled to an entrance at the top, 2m from the floor. The chamber was backfilled, although apparently the top few courses of stone are still visible. It's an unusual feature in a long barrow, although according to the SMR similar structures have been recorded elsewhere on the Cotswolds.