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

Fieldnotes by Emma A

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Bradbourne (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited yesterday on the first properly warm day of the year. In a really lovely part of Derbyshire, but not easy to get to and rather lonely, this poor stone is almost entirely covered with dried mud/muck (although who knows when the field was last muck-spread as the grass was pretty long). It was a shame as I couldn't see the crinoids in it (-I love crinoids - if I was going to erect a standing stone, I'd use one full of fossils too! - ), apart from a little tiny one in the top.

Also Bradbourne church is worth visiting too - Saxon cross-shaft and Norman carvings round the door.

Pinkwell (Long Barrow)

A fairly substantial grassy mound. Easy to find and easy to see (if you know what it is). Also saw a barn owl and an aerobatic display from a biplane so it was even more exciting!

Seven Ways Plain (Hillfort)

I can't believe this site isn't already on TMA as it is so easily accessible, in a beautiful place and it's easy to see the remaining parts of it.

In Burnham Beeches, an ancient woodland full of huge, gnarly, old beech and oak pollards, the hill fort has been quite badly damaged due to quarrying and WWII vehicle activity. The banks and ditches are clear to see where they remain. Beware that this part of the wood is grazed - I saw some very pretty cows, some ponies and a tiny deer (muntjac or Chinese water deer)!

I didn't go there specifically to see this site - the forest alone is worth a visit (especially if you're into large, ancient trees) and the hillfort is an added bonus! The forest feels bigger than it is, I think because you can't see out of it.

Free parking in the week. I expect it gets very busy at weekends. Definitely worth the trip though!

Beeley North (South 2)

Supposedly two ring cairns next to each other (confusingly called Beeley North South 1 and 2) - this one is the obvious one which is a clear rubble ring once you're on/in it. It's hard to see from a distance though.

The other one should be adjacent, but there's no discernible ring there, although there are some stones on the ground which might mark a bit of it (I forgot to take a photo though!).

Raven Tor Triple Cairn (Cairn(s))

Had a bit of a job finding this as we'd headed too far to the east and ended up amongst lots of quarry lumps and bumps and thigh-high heather (tough going if you have short legs!). We found the triple cairn eventually though and it's unmistakeable once you're there. Wonderful views - barrows galore on the horizon.

The disused quarry for parking is at SK 282662 not SK 282684 as stated below. There is also a little layby further along the road to the west.

Dudwood (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Just picked up a map and guide to the area around Elton (a village nearby), produced by Elton Local HIstory Group, which says:
"South-west of Robin Hood's Stride, next to the path behind Wattscliffe quarry, look for the stone foundation of a small, circular Romano-British building, thought to be a shepherd's hut."

Norbury Camp (Upper Coberley) (Hillfort)

I come here quite regularly and see more of the hill fort each time I come!

It's marked by Victorian beech trees - while they are good for marking the layout of the banks and ditches, they do obscure photos! The banks and ditch sweep round in an arc and act as the field boundary, which is planted with rape at the moment. I mistook it for just a field boundary on previous visits which is part of the reason I'd never managed to see much before!

It's a lovely walk up there though, easily accessible if you park just off the road from Colesbourne to Hilcot (off the A435 Chelt to Ciren road) and walk up the gently sloping track. Skylarks and woodpeckers provided our soundtrack today.

Also worth seeing (although not strictly within the remit of this website!), is the beautiful, little, unusual cottage further along the track. It's like someting from a fairytale and you come up to it unexpectedly. I think it used to be a toll house.

Such a peaceful place: great views and no traffic noise (despite being fairly close to the A435).

Combend Farm (Round Barrow(s))

This barrow's easy to see from the road that links Colesbourne to the A417. Elkstone village is visible behind it. I didn't go right up to the barrow this time, but I have before. It's a good one to visit if you fancy a drive in the countryside rather than a walk!

Green Low (Burial Chamber)

I was quite awestruck by this place - I wasn't expecting it to be so spectacular! I thought it'd be another grassy bump, but it's like a mini Nympsfield (in Gloucestershire) with fewer people and better views. Possibly my enthusiasm is heightened by the fact that this is the only ancient site I have ever reached entirely on foot, so it felt like a proper adventure. (I like adventures!)

The horned forecourt is still visible and the entrance is aligned dead straight with the distinctive peak of Harboro' Rocks - surely this can't be a coincidence? Other sites which can be seen from the barrow or very near it include the edge containing the Bonsall Lane rock shelter, Aleck Low and Minninglow (surprise surprise). There are probably loads more too which I just don't know of/recognise from a distance.

I did wonder about the stone with the hole in it which is part of the separation between passage and chamber. Was it chosen on purpose, maybe to let the spirits out? I don't usually go in for spirits or ritual or lands of the living and dead etc, so maybe they chose it purely because it's interesting and the right shape.

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