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The Devil's Bed and Bolster

Long Barrow


This long barrow lies near Rode church, and is apparently a popular spot for local people to scatter the ashes of their departed loved-ones*. Also it is a spot on the Mary or Michael ley (I forget which), which some people believe crosses from Cornwall to East Anglia, and is explored by the dowsing writers of 'The Sun and the Serpent'*.

In the Bath Nat. Hist. and Antiq. Field Club journal for 1872, there is an account of an excursion to the area. They spoke to a local man who said that the Bed and Bolster was once twice as large as it is now, adding that when people had tried to take the stones away, bad weather had always prevented them. At the time about 22 sarsens were visible, with 5 upright - 3 or 4 (strange they couldn't remember) at the east end, and one large flat one at the west. The writer also noted that the site was in full view of the Wiltshire Downs and the White Horse (at Westbury).

(on my visit in 09/07 you could certainly not see the horse, and only part of the downs if you walked further along the path).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th April 2002ce
Edited 26th September 2007ce

Comments (4)

We tried to get to the Devil's Bed & Bolster today. We followed the public footpath opposite the Bell Inn, but could not find the site. My husband went up to the copse but could not see anything, at which point we were approached by an aggressive farmer who said there was no right of way up to the Devil's Bed & Bolster. Further along the public right of way an electric fence had been erected across the right of way through a field. On our return to the Bell Inn Car Park, a field had been freshly cut and a straw bale placed directly over the right of way. We got the distinct impression we were not welcome. Posted by StephanieJ
16th August 2009ce
Outrageous. Apart from the shoddy behaviour of this farmer, electric fences across a right of way could cause harm.

You should complain to someone, whoever the appropriate body is.
Hob Posted by Hob
16th August 2009ce
There does seem to be an a poor attitude towards visitors to this site. The first time I went there I was approached by somebody asking me where I was going (I was on the footpath at the time). They told me I was going the wrong way and sent me off in the wrong direction. Fortunately I still managed to find it and found a much easier way back keeping to the footpaths where possible.
As there is no right of way to this site it is always a good idea to get permission first and most land owners don't mind. However there are a lot of farms surrounding this site so it is not immediately obvious who owns it and therefore you could spend a lot of time driving around. But I am not sure that would have mattered in this case anyway.
Repeating what Hob said, if the footpath is closed or blocked then a complaint should be made to the council (I may be wrong but I think it is BANES).
scubi63 Posted by scubi63
16th August 2009ce
That's strange, as when I went I was impressed with the helpful notices that had been put up - it wasn't on a traditional right of way but the landowner had agreed to make it a 'permissive path' and there was a map showing the route. I have to admit I was a bit confused and wary before I reached the map but the notice gave me confidence that the farmer was Agreeable. Could you have been in the wrong place?? The stones are very obvious when you get there - maybe your hubbie was in the wrong copse. or maybe it is that things have changed. Too many geocachers perhaps... :) Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
19th August 2009ce
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