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Withington Long Barrow

Long Barrow

<b>Withington Long Barrow</b>Posted by thesweetcheatImage © A. Brookes (30.8.2020)
Also known as:
  • Monument No. 327654

Nearest Town:Cheltenham (12km NW)
OS Ref (GB):   SP03041416 / Sheet: 163
Latitude:51° 49' 31.98" N
Longitude:   1° 57' 21.19" W

Added by Chance

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<b>Withington Long Barrow</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Withington Long Barrow</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Withington Long Barrow</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Withington Long Barrow</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Withington Long Barrow</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Withington Long Barrow</b>Posted by thesweetcheat


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Of the four new-to-me Gloucestershire long barrows I visited during the post-lockdown summer months, Withington is both the best preserved and potentially the least easy to get to. Visited 30 August 2020.

I start from Colesbourne down in the picturesque Churn valley, a nice summer Sunday stroll along a quiet lane heading east then north up onto the high ground of the west Cotswolds. A bridleway from Hill Barn provides somewhat muddy access to Withington Woods. I get the feeling that this woodland is a 'country pursuits' kind of place, as various quad-biking lads wearing gillets and farming gear pass me en route and the distant crump of shotguns, a Cotswolds staple, breaks the peace.

Once in the woods I'm foolishly confident of choosing the right forestry track from a selection, but not sure how overgrown the barrow might be at the tail end of August. In any event, I end up going round in a circle, as the barrow isn't apparent on my initial pass of the area where I think it is. Second time around, I realise that I missed it because it's actually inside a high-fenced pheasant or partridge enclosure. Luckily the gate into the enclosure isn't locked, otherwise there would be no way of getting to the barrow.

The barrow is actually much better than I'd expected, a fine upstanding mound covered in pieces of limestone under a sparse covering of shrubby bushes and less undergrowth than I envisaged. I find no sign of the chamber referred to in Chance's miscellaneous notes but it's still an impressive monument.

Despite the nice woodland setting, the barrow isn't a particularly inviting place to hang around, as being effectively enclosed by 7 foot high wire mesh with only one way in or out kind of kills the atmosphere. Still, it's really pleasing to find a decent monument here, the main threat to which seems to be tree roots and some light animal burrowing in the flanks.

Having escaped the wire, I head northwest along a broad track to seek out Withington West round barrow.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
21st December 2020ce
Edited 21st December 2020ce


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Details of long barrow on Pastscape

SP 03061416 Long Barrow (NR) A long barrow measuring 140 ft by 60 ft high, aligned ENE/WSW. Witts noted the existence of chambers disturbed by earlier excavations, and Mrs O'Neil found a badly disturbed chamber, possibly a lateral
chamber, 45 ft from the west end on the central axis. SP 03041416 A long barrow, situated upon a gentle SE facing slope in woodland. The barrow, orientated ENE/WSW, is 58.0m in length and 12.0m in width. The height increases from 0.4m at the western end to 1.7m at the eastern end. The mound is densely covered with brambles and small trees, but is seen to be composed of broken limestone. There are no signs of side ditches. The chamber located by Mrs O'Neil rremains exposed 14.0m from the W end and in a very mutilated condition. It is 3.0m x 1.5m x 0.8m deep and contains limestone fragments. Several flat slabs average 1.0m x 0.8m x 0.2m thick lie in and around the chamber; it cannot be determined by inspection whether the slabs originally formed the chamber sides or were capstones. There is a circular depression 3.0m in diameter and 0.5m deep on the barrow spine, 17.0m from the ENE end. An early ? excavation. Published 1:2500 survey revised on AM. (5)
A probable Neolithic long barrow in Withington Woods survives as an oblong earthwork oriented ENE to WSW. It is visible on aerial photographs of 1946 as an extant earthwork prior to the area becoming densely wooded. It has since been surveyed on the ground, as well as being mapped from aerial photographs as part of The Cotswold Hills NMP project. The barrow as visible on aerial photographs of 1946 is centred at SP 0305 1417, approximately 676m to the south-west of Colnbrook. It appears to measure approximately 48m WSW to ENE and 11m NNW to SSE, although its visibility on aerial photographs is partly masked by low scrub. On all later aerial photographs the trees of Withington Wood obscure the aerial view of the barrow (7).
Chance Posted by Chance
10th June 2014ce