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

Hackpen Hill (Oxfordshire)

Round Barrow(s)


The morning looked bright and clear, and so a quick visit to this barrow (i only live minutes away) seemed an easy option to grab some photographs.

The barrow is located above the Devil's Punchbowl and not far from the Ridgeway itself. I parked where the Ridgeway crosses the Lambourn Road, and where the Model Aeroplane Club have their site.

By the time I got half way across the field, I realised that I wasn't dressed up enough to cope with the icy wind which blasted away and nearly took me hat with it a couple of times.

This was a nice reminder for me of what I always preach to others, which is: always go properly dressed if you're going up the rudge. It may be pleasant and warm down in the valley, but it's amazing how a few hundred feet up the chalk, the wind, temperature and weather can be totally different!

Away to my right, and on the distant horizon, I could make out the large hump which has Beacon Hill Hillfort on its crest. The view down into the Vale is outstanding on a clear day, and to my left I could see over to Boars Hill. Ahead, the towers and chimney stack of Didcot Power Station dominate the landscape. Glancing over my shoulder I could make out the denuded barrow of Pigtrough Bottom and wondered if the two graves were related in any way (same period, or possibly even same tribe?).

The lump lies next to the fence and nearly adjacent to a small stile. Once across, I had a close up look. There's a single Elder bush next to it that seems to be doing quite well, given the exposed location. The usual bunny holes have penetrated the barrow in a few places and were quite deep. A quick rummage around the spoilheap, but no treasure was found!

The grave sits not far from the edge of the punchbowl and I thought about all the times I've walked here and never gone the extra few feet to investigate. The Punchbowl is an impressive piece of topography, in a funny kind of way, like the manger below Uffington Castle, although not quite as stunning.

The last time I was in the vicinity was to walk my friends lurcher, Lenny, who sadly passed away (old age) a few years ago, he'd definately of flushed any bunnys out and had a good time!

I took a few snaps (before I lossed all feeling in me paws) and wandered over across the ploughed piece towards the edge of the punchbowl. An object caught my eye on the ground, and I bent down to pick up a coin. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a half penny of George VI from 1949 in very good nick.

Happy that I'd found treasure (a stone with a hole in it is a valuable treasure to me - i'm easily pleased), I started back to the motor and it was good to finally get out of the wind.

PS When I got home, i looked on Google Earth and you can make out lots of marks on the ground near this site - could those be remains of the workings that J R L Anderson saw when he visited?
wysefool Posted by wysefool
27th September 2007ce
Edited 27th September 2007ce

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