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

Cherhill Down and Oldbury



I came up here at the weekend for the first time. It was quite a steep climb for a weed with the sun bearing down, but I certainly felt refreshed at the top because the wind coming over the crest was relentless. And that's what struck me most about this place, that its various sides are quite different. I kept feeling quite disorientated.

There's the side you see from the road, with the horse and the obelisk, and more interestingly, the swoopy undulating dry valleys (one has a very closed entrance making a better manger than at Uffington). But once you're at the top, this side doesn't seem so important. Also the obelisk, which is so overbearing from the road, doesn't even seem in the 'right' place. It points aggressively up to the sky, but your mind isn't on the sky at all now, you're looking out over this enormous view. If no-one's got any objections I suggest we blow it up. It's only commemorating some toff's ancestor and it's falling apart anyway.

Looking to the southwest there are some more intriguing valleys at Calstone Down. I particularly liked that direction. It was fantastically blowy though and I had to sit behind one of the many, many banks and hillocks. It looks so clear on the map, but seems so complex when you're here. I wondered if some of the rounder dips were dewponds. It was lovely though amongst the woolly thistles and the anthills and the harebells. There are lots of windswept hawthorns that add to the atmosphere too. It was warm and I could have fallen asleep.

Walking round to the flat area ouside the banks to the east, I was delighted to spot Silbury Hill, as large as life. If you're on the road you have to wait some distance for a glimpse, but up here (as often happens at such places) everything was starting to fit into place. There was absolutely no-one around now, which was surprising considering the numbers of people over by the obelisk. And now somehow out of the wind, that gave the place a strange air too. I walked along the high banks back to near the horse and sat down for a bit.

I felt like my mind was working very clearly (for once). Maybe being up here in the fresh air, elevated above mundane things, encourages a clarity of mind. I wondered if the prehistoric people that lived up here felt the same. Or perhaps they were indifferent once they were fed up of the draught through their roundhouses. I skittered down the chalk path and back to the road.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th August 2009ce
Edited 25th August 2009ce

Comments (1)

Damn. I was planning on using that Obelisk as a background for some light painting. But perhaps if I can time it right, the explosion and dust cloud should make an interesting backdrop. Hob Posted by Hob
25th August 2009ce
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