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

Stony Littleton

Long Barrow


Visited 6th April 2013

It feels like the first proper day of spring today, so a trip out is definitely in order. I've a great fondness for Stoney Littleton, it was the first site I visited as a result of buying the papery TMA all those years ago from a bookshop in Glastonbury, prompting me to visit it that same day, and firing an obsession that has lead me to many wonderful sites over the years.

Take note if you've not visited before that the small brown signpost pointing the way up the lane to the barrow as you enter Wellow is now completely obscured by vegetation, so it's easy to miss the sharp right-hand turn as soon as you enter the village.

After negotiating the narrow lane I parked up in the small parking spot, idyllically placed next to the bubbling Wellow brook, and walked up the hill towards the barrow. It felt good to be out and about, surrounded only by the call of birds and bleating of the sheep (and some very cute lambs).

The barrow was looking neat and tidy, and as I descended into the long passage, which really does seem to stretch back forever, I was heartened not to find any old tealights, litter or other 'offerings' which on previous occasions have been mouldering away in the inner chambers. Instead I just crouch at the back of the barrow and contemplate for a bit.

Stoney Littleton has a sort of understated grandeur, it's not the largest long barrow, and doesn't have an impressive portalled frontage, just the fine artistic eye of whoever selected that amazing fosillised ammonite for the entranceway, but it doesn't need them. This is a place that feels right, a perfect example of the barrow builders art.

Outside I sit against the barrow to write my fieldnotes. The warm yellow Cotswold stone of the perimeter dry stone walling of the barrow infuses the place with a warmth, no sombre feelings of death here, just a glorious remembrance and re-birth. Sitting here I'm pervaded with what I can only describe as a mellow vibe. The barrow sits perfectly in the bright spring landscape, even the old nearby landfill site has now blended into the landscape, and the concrete plaque cemented to the barrow entrance, proudly proclaiming it's restoration by affixing a great anachronism to its frontage, which normally irritates me, now seems rather quaint, an antique in itself as most of the inscription has now worn away, a signifier of the monument's more recent past, like the old Ministry of Works signs you still find from time to time at megalithic sites.

Days like today just underline to me everything that's great about visiting the remains of our prehistory, and why I love this hobby so much, Stoney Littleton is truely special place to be, and one of the best barrows you can visit.
Ravenfeather Posted by Ravenfeather
7th April 2013ce

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