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Open Data LIDAR: Henges
The following images are obtained from the recent releases of open data LIDAR by The Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales. I've used this amazing dynamic map which has been created to use the open data. Thank you to all concerned for your time and resources!
I have gone through all sites categorised as Henges on www.themodernantiquarian.com checking if a) LIDAR exists and b) they are visible to my untrained eye. This has unfortunately trimmed 70% or so of the listed henges.
All henges in Scotland and Ireland are right out. A high percentage of those left are missing LIDAR. Thornborough North and Central, Arbor Low, The Bull Ring and half of Mayburgh are some of the better known casualties. Those where LIDAR exists but we don’t see them can be categorized as small henges less than 20m wide which presumably have shallower ditches, lost to quarrying, buildings and agriculture.
Each picture is at maximum resolution, so you can download two (or twenty) and directly compare them.
Buxton Museum - a taster
I recently tried to occupy a hyperactive 18 month old with Buxton Museum, then got very distracted and decided to a take a few photos for here instead. The 18 month old did not approve so apologies for the slightly blurry photos towards the end :)
I've tried to lay these out in the approximate order they are in the museum which is kinda chronological within arbitrary time periods. Dating governed entirely by the labels. It does unfortunately mean finds from multi-period sites which range from iron age to palaeolithic are separate but gives a good idea of artefacts from similar ages.
Late Bronze age bronze implements:
Probable Bronze Age:
Early Bronze Age:
Late Neolithic - Early Bronze Age:
(I have a few axe images for Derbyshire to upload into this section as well...)
Shown at this point are two plans of lismore fields which I have combined:
Late upper Palaeolithic:
"Its my first time", I whispered to no-one as we stepped foot onto exmoor for the first time, at the start of a couple of visits in a weekend also including depressing footy & the beautiful woolacombe beach.
First up the moors just south of Porlock.
[visited 1/7/6] Having never visited an exmoor site before, I had some trepidation as to how much we'd be able to see in high summer. The answer is, pretty much all of it. This is a weird little thing, about the same diameter as (say) Kingston Russell
but with stones that struggled to reach my knees. I liked it but couldn't help thinking, is this all it is? Now, having visited different sites on exmoor in short open grass I can apreciate how powerful this could have looked 4 thousand years ago, stones very much defining a ritual space.
is very good, we parked just down the road but there is parking by the gate to the field. Someone had actually parked in the field within 10 metres of the circle and seemingly then gone for a walk. Which was unsightly and spoilt the "we are in a desolate moor" effect, I think the circle was aiming for but never mind. You can find the circle about 20m to the right of the sheep fold as you look from the road.
[visited 1/7/6] This was a strange little beasty and I guess the majority of stone rows about these parts look very similar. We found 6? stones in a double row pointing roughly towards the porlock circle|circle and then another stone on the same alignment about 5 metres closer to the circle. We think it was the row, but its hard to tell, the stones were barely 10cm above the ground and hidden in heather. The two rows were about a metre or so apart, with the stones in each row being about a metre or so apart as well. The row itself was located just off the brow of the hil and off the path to the right.
Access is good, its maybe a 5 minute walk up an open path to where the row is, though you may have to negotiate heather to get to it.
[visited 1/7/6] Getting used to the underwhelming size of the stones took a bit, but having warmed to the task we quite liked this 'setting' (apart from the random blood on one of the stones). Apparently people used to think this was the remains of 2 concentric circles and now they think its the remains of two rows. Personally I have no idea. I stood at pretty much every stone we could find and surveyed the weird arrangement of stones, seemingly raised upright at random, but once in a while offering glimpses. A possible curve here, 3 in a row there. So unless a lot of stones were removed which would have made this clear, I suspect the builders were on strong drugs when they put this up.
Access is ok but probably only by foot unless you have one of those fanangally off road wheel chair things. The circle is easily accessible to a moderately fit person, its about 15 minutes walk along tracks through the heather, ferns and peat, from the nearest car parking spot.
[visited 1/7/6] Its a weird thing relative perspective, in a different place & time I'd have called these smallish, but here they are massive. Two gert big chunks of rock leaning to the side, I don't know whether they were ever standing but tbh they look as if they were. Apparently they were used as medieval forrest boundary stones so I'm unsure about a prehistoric provenance, all complicated by a weird metal thing attached to one of them (see pictures)  its an OS thing apparently (see misc notes) so I didn't bother putting the extreme closeup up. The views though, oh the views. The moors off to the right and the beautiful devon/somerset cliffy coast to the left.
Access is ok, but difficult for wheels as you need to go up a bank and along a narrow path in the heather. Parking is by the side of the road, or by the clifftop and a little walk.
Next day just time for two sites, first one we didn't really aim for & then one to say goodbye to devon.
[visited 2/7/6] Drive towards Two Gates from the A-road, trying to find a setting next to the road, stop randomly to take bearings, realise you've gone far too far but are close to some other settings, go to those instead. And it was a real treat to see by accident. My first triangular setting, again no stone higher than my knee, but with two in short grass we really saw the power that these small settings can provide. I kept thinking if I stand in the middle and say the right incantation I'll be imbued with a mystical power, but sadly no.
Access is good, its about a 5 miunte walk from the car in a straight line or a 15 minute one walking in zigzags. Keep on the path and head down the hill, if you can still see your car, you're not far enough down.
We tried to find the setting across the road from Clannon Ball at this point, but were driven back by some cows. Damn you cows!!!
[visited 2/7/6] If ever a stone was a way marker at the top of a valley, this was it. Its in lovely location and its flat faces point north down the lush green landscape into the valley. The stone is one of the largest we saw over the weekend and possibly the nicest. Head away from the road and bear left down the hill, you should see it about 30 yards away at the head of the valley.
Access is good. About 5 minutes from the road, over open moor with low grass.
Well all in all, very enjoyable and we'll be back again. There is a 3m standing stone, a circle and lots and lots and lots more settings and rows to see. mmmmm.
Another year, another few days with the family in Dorset. I've been somewhat neglectful of wandering of late, partly brainstate, partly beer, partly HA. In particular I seem to have abandoned new sites in favour of the path well trod, revisiting my faves again and again, partly because I love em and partly to make sure they get the tlc they deserve. However, I think I'm coming out the other side and decided to celebrate this (and a new OS map) by visiting 3 hill forts I'd not seen before.
[visited 27/12/05] I've been pondering on visiting this place for years, finally getting off my arse to see this and hambledon in the same day. So, firstly, this place is huge. I'm not surprised the Romans went to the additional hassle of cornering off part of this massive fort for their pad, the iron age ramparts would have required many hundreds to defend properly. Walking the ramparts in December is a chilly affair but the views either side of Hambledon are awesome, looking out down the side of Cranbourne Chase and onto the vast plain in front of you.
Access is for the reasonably fit, the car park is at the bottom of the hill then its up a steep slope to the fort.
[visited 27/12/05] After 20 mins eating my lunch and warming up in the car after a visit to Hod Hill, I set off for Hambledon Hill. A neolithic enclosure, long barrow AND a hill fort? Its enough to make a megarak go weak at the knees. I parked at the carpark between hambledon and hod, which meant the view to the North was saved till last, delaying gratification is always for the best I find.
So I came to the long barrow marked on the OS map and the neolithic enclosure first, the barrow is denuded but still obvious to an observant seeker. As is the enclosure, split with a fence but still followable as a line of bumps in the grass. I'm surprised the enclosure isn't further forward tbh, there is a lot of hill to the North untouched. Eager for the view I hurried on, down and then back up to the fort entrance and onto a melange of weird banks. I think I picked out the fort from the medieval lynchets, but with a Maes Knoll
esque cross bank, I'm not convinced the fort itself went right to the end of the hill.
And what is with the large long barrow shaped top of the hill, just to the north of the cross bank? What possible defensive function did this fulfill? Is this related to the strip lynchets? Reading the notes here on TMA, this is actually a barrow? Did the farmers fill in the defenses at the North end of the hill?
Confusedly I struggled against the biting wind to the View. And what a View. I couldn't stand and stare for long as I wanted to leave the hill without losing bits of my face due to frostbite, but on a clear day you must be able to 20miles from up here. I'm coming back in the summer, because this is one of the best views for miles about and I love my Views.
is a mile or so from the carpark, up a fairly steep slope and through a few gates.
After those, I had a couple of visits to old faithfuls, Nine Stones and Rempstone. More pathetic chalk swastikas at Nine Stones dampened my mood, as did a No Entry sign newly errected at Rempstone, but I pushed through with the help of scrumpy and on my way back to Bath decided to pop in to the giant breast I keep driving past.
[visited 28/12/05] I almost crashed first time I drove past this on the way to Dorset, not only are the ramparts immense but there was a gert huge nipple on top of a giant breast, just to the right of my vision. Cut to 1 1/2 years later, I finally had the Warminister map and went "Oh thats Cley Hill". This is a popular place and I was fortunate to get a parking space as I headed up here for sunset.
The defenses are steep, in fact the whole hill is steep, I imagine they had all sorts of fun trying to get the carts with provisions in up to the top here. Now perhaps my brain just sees breasts, but the barrow is large and very carefully placed... As a whole the hill is still in great condition and sees a lot of use, not surprising given how prominent it must be from Warminster.
Access is up a steep hill and through a gate from the car park.
Another chapter (previous ones unpublished :) in a good hard look at zummerzet's ancient sites, this time with a relative newbie to the area, so a couple of classics for good measure. Unfortunately due to damaging my knee walking a couple of weeks ago, not as many sites as I'd have liked.
Starting in Bath, we had the obligatory stop off at Stoney Littleton first and then onto a newbie for me.
[visited 28/11/04] Yet another possible trashed ancient site, I'm not that picky me, so I popped along. I counted 5 medium sized stones (4ft+) scattered on or near the village green including the two set up either side of the stocks. They certainly had the look of very weathered stones to me, covered in lichen as they were. I didn't go looking for the cottage called "The Cove", but I do think the evidence weighs in favour of this being the site of an ancient monument.
Access is excellent, you can park within 20 yards of the stock's stones, on the edge of the green.
Heading west and back to the classics with the second largest circle in britain/europe/world at Stanton Drew. Being more of a longbarrow man myself, I was pleasantly surprised that my companion prefered Stoney Littleton...
Now the true aim of my day kicked in, a few of the monuments about Priddy and the edge of the mendips.
[visited 28/11/04] The lure of a concrete copy onsite lured me here, but I kinda failed to find it. I think I saw it across a field, but pain & mud put me off till the spring.
For those who are tempted in the meantime: Starting on the B road, head west to east along the footpath that goes past Pool Farm. On the other side of the first field on your left is what I think is the remains of the cist.
Access is unknown but looks like being across a muddy field.
[visited 28/11/04] Yet to get into the field to have a close-up look at this, but through the hedge and the gate its little more than a ripple in the grass. The barrows in the henge are semi-visible but as with the henge, clearly ploughed out. The whole site has that fuzzy look about it. Sadly there is also a hedge across the henge so you can't even see the whole thing in one go.
The field containing the henge is on a country lane with 70mph cutthroughers, so if you keep your wits about you access is good as they don't come along that often.
[visited 28/11/04] I'm loathe to include this as a seperate site from priddy nine barrows
(PNB), but as it is seperate on other websites and an extra eight or nine barrows would make PNB very badly misnamed... However, these should almost certainly be counted as the same cemetary, being less than 10 minutes walk from PNB and highly inter-visible. But maybe then the idea of a barrow cemetary is fundamentally flawed when you are talking about barrows. Where do you draw the limits?
Moving on, this is a nice linear cluster, acting almost as a counterpoint to PNB who's line lies slightly further to the east. They are all in relatively good order and a fair size for todays barrows. One thing that did puzzle me were the ditches either side of the barrow line expecially as the Northern ditch had large stones within it. Whether this is a mendip thing I'm not sure, there is a solitary large barrow at 545492, with 300 metre long ditches either side of it. The ditches look newer than bronze age however...
is a 100 yards down a track then 200 yards across a muddy muddy field.
[visited 28/11/04] This is really only half a barrow cluster, there being another line of barrows (Ashen Hill
) 1/2 a mile to the North. One thing I noticed when up here, besides the fact its cold on the edge of the mendips in late November, is you can't actually see the levels from here. In fact they are a touch oddly placed imo.
I presume the sight from the Priddy Circles
to the North would have been unimpeded 3-4 thousand years ago and this lovely linear cemetary would have visible shining white on the horizon.
is across a few fields, but you can see these beauties from a fair way off in most directions (except North).
[visited 28/11/04] These caught my eye a few months ago and finally I've had a chance to visit. The view was gorgeous and well worth the trip to these parts all by itself, but the site itself, hmmmm. Lets start with the dead badger lying close to the stones, not their fault I will admit, but it really didn't add to the ambience of the place, though did provide a useful comparison for the photos.
Onto the antiquity of the stones, I've seen a fair few standing stones now about these parts and they have all to a rock, been considerably more weathered than these two. They've had much more lichen and are on the whole darker. These stones stood out lighter from a distance, which is never the best of signs.
Perhaps they've come from a barrow hereabouts, the roundbarrows round here contain cists after all, or perhaps they are a more modern introduction.
Reading the site notes, one stone should defn be less weathered, presumably the upper stone as its lighter.
Access is via a 10 minute walk from one of two ebhor gorge car parks, along a road for a bit, then in a field.
[visited 28/11/04] Apart from the Priddy henges, this is the one I've been wanting to visit longest in this area. I got the OS map of the area and then had to drive past the mendip main tv transmitter everyday, knowing there was a longbarrow I'd not visited right underneath it. Finally however I got to it, having picked our way across a sea of mud, the barrow is in its own little enclosure.
Its positioned perfectly, running along the crest of the hill and the view across the somerset levels is gorgeous. Of course most of the land you see now was underwater in the neolithic, but the distant hills were certainly occupied and the gods are always watching.
The barrow is in fairly good nick but is clearly denuded, I couldn't see any sign of stones around or on it, so this is presumably an earthen longbarrow. Unless someone has nicked them all of course. I'd recommend this site, though the huge transmitter may put some people off as it really is hard to forget about it towering above you.
is up a metalled track to the transmitter, then round to the left, through the gate and the barrow is in front of you enclosed in fencing.
One more thing worth looking at is the weird linear feature to the east of the barrow which you'll probably see before the barrow itself. This is the 'bank barrow' Rhiannon mentions. I'm not convinced it qualifies to be in the same league as the dorset ones. Its just not enough of a brute for that in my opinion, its too small in width and height.
It does however look similar to the weird tracks
leading up to the Barrow above the long man of wilmington. I'd bet someone elses house on it being as old as the barrow.
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Normal societal norms need not apply.