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

West Kennet

Long Barrow


The journey to West Kennet Long Barrow has many distinct parts, starting with the car park. Apparantly, this is one of the most thieved-from in the county. A man in Marlborough came up to me and warned me to lock my bike if I stopped there. Arriving, I saw that shattered glass lay all around. I marvelled at the incongruity of this, in the presence of the quiet dignity that is Silbury Hill. It felt like a test of the heart, so I left my bike without lock and lifted my head. Take time to stop under the wonderful oak at the side of the meadow. A kind soul there abides.The climb up through the barley shows all sorts of detritus in the soil. I picked up a heart shaped sliver of flint and a couple of lumps. The surface felt like soupstone, so hard, yet so soft. I caught up with a couple of ladies and we reached the barrow together. I walked off round the outside of the barrow, leaving the ladies to the "Hey, You!" of the stones at the entrance, and came back along the spine. A small pit seemed an appropriate recepticle for the stones, so I left them there. The heart I gave to my wife when I got home. The back of West Kennet is scarred, deeply, by the excavations of the curious, and the greedy, but the scars are old and make the path up the spine into a mini adventure. I felt like a giant striding across the downs. The roof of the chambers is a mixture of huge stone plates, glass bricks and concrete. It had a hint of the Cold War utilitariarn to it, but only affected the Glamour of the place. West Kennet has deeper levels of meaning to it than that. Met a Canadian couple who had just come from Dunscore, the small village in Scotland where I lived as a boy, and smiled. What were the chances....? Inside, the stones are beautiful, all swoops, scoops and curves. I didn't feel much life beyond the stones. The word I would best use is 'cold', not malevolent, just dead. I suppose this is fitting, if this was a site associated with death. In the time I was here, at least 9 army helicopters flew directly past, usually in pairs which seemed intent on corralling us. I suspect that this is intentional but feel it as an impotent fury. When here, smile and wave. Who knows what hearts might melt, behind the Rayban Shine.... Incidentally, my bike was still there when I returned! Posted by Equinoxboy
23rd July 2004ce

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