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Locked gates and four-leaved clover at Thornborough

I took Sandra (my wife) to visit Thornborough henges on Sunday. I wouldn't say that she shares my enthusiasm yet, but she likes the fact that ancient sites give focus to a nice country ramble!

The gate at the central henge was padlocked as was the one opposite leading to the southern henge. A notice on the gate said "private land, no public access". There was another couple from Derbyshire at the gate and we struck up a conversation, wondering whether to ignore the signs (my wife is a head teacher and is consequently rather nervous about getting involved in anything that might bring her into disrepute). A Landrover pulled up and a farmer-type got out. He declared "Bloody 'ell, they've locked the gate", then he hopped over the gate and went striding off across the field.

We chatted to the Derbyshire couple for a while about the Nine Ladies and Arbor Low. When the farmer returned, I decided to engage him in conversation. He was quite interested in the henges and asked me if I knew what they were built for. I said I was hoping he could tell ME that. I asked him if it was OK for us to go across the field to see the henge and he replied "I have the grass let over this land and it's alright by me".

We walked the full circumference which I calculated to be around one third of a mile! The mound is about 15m wide and around 4m high at best ignoring the burial mound. I added another metre to allow for erosion and then calculated the entire volume to be around 50,000 cubic metres. So the three henges required about 150,000 cubic metres to be piled up. That's half the volume of Silbury Hill.

As we left the central henge to walk to the southern one, we found a clump of four-leaved clover. I've never seen one before and always though that they were a hoax. There were some five-leaved and even a six-leaved clover in the patch. I guess it was our lucky day.

Steve Gray Posted by Steve Gray
11th May 2004ce
Edited 11th May 2004ce

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