The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Churn Knob

Barrow / Cairn Cemetery


A narrow chalk footpath/bridleway leads up from Blewbury to the Downs. Today the track is lined with field scabious, poppies, cornflowers, lots of blue flowers which I couldn't identify and the most wonderful little purple orchids which are quite rare and only grew on very chalky soils such as was now underhoof. A quick canter past the old chalk pits lead us up to the top of Churn Hill and... there it is! Churn Knob! We couldn't actually get very close on horseback, ironically, because it lies directly beside one of the privately owned 'gallops' which casual riders are forbidden to use by The Expensive People. We got as close as we dared without being shot or set upon by slavering hounds for me to take a couple of pics.

It's quite big, perhaps, 10 or 15 metres wide at it's base and seems to rise quite steeply. At this time of year it is resplendent with wild flowers glowing purple in the hazy sunlight. But it's the position of the knob which is so impressive, for the views up here are remarkable. Looking north you seem to look vertically down over Blewburton Hill and across to the Wittenham Clumps. The graceful curves of the cooling towers of Didcot Power Station are just over to the west and on a clear day I'm sure you'd be able to see Oxford. It's from this position that St Birinus (whoever the f**k he was) preached a sermon. To remember this, for the millennium, local Christians have erected an unsightly and monstrous cross on the Knob. A deeply offensive and outrageous piece of vandalism in my opinion. Throw the perpetrators to the lions!
Jane Posted by Jane
6th July 2003ce
Edited 29th July 2003ce

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