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Fieldnotes by CARL

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Showing 1-20 of 1,861 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 20

Coed-y-Caerau (Enclosure)

Visited 17.2.18

This month's YAC meeting involved trying to locate several 17th C boundery stones. The event was run by Mark Lewis (who works for the National Museum of Wales) who gave us a running commentry of all the things of interest during our walk. One of the first things he pointed out is the camp/enclosure at Pen-toppen-ash. This was easily seen from the lane which runs along its southern side. Mark said that although the site was built over by the Romans it is of an Iron Age, possibly Bronza Age origin. Mark added that limited excavation work had taken place at the site which showed that the stone walls are very well preserved beneath the turf. The turf covered ramparts of the Roman site were easy to make out.

COFLEIN states:
Site Description There are three co-joined earthwork enclosures at Coed-y-Caerau, Pen Toppen Ash. They are set along the summit crest of a steep ridge above the left bank of the lower Usk. The south-western enclosure is roughly oval, about 84-94m in diameter, defined by a single bank, with an apparent inturned entrance, having traces of an outer circuit on the south and south-west. The central enclosure is sub-circular, about 74-80m in diameter, defined by what appears to be a partially spiralling bank, within a roughly concentric outer embanked enclosure, that springs from the south-west enclosure circuit, about 136-142m in diameter, counterscarped on the north-west and having inturned entrances on the south-east and north-east.

The north-eastern enclosure is possibly a Roman fortlet, though an Iron Age date seems more likely given its association with the other Iron Age features. It is rectangular, about 96m north-east to south-west by 108m, and defined by a single bank with rounded angles. An outer, roughly concentric circuit, generally 166m square, appears to respect the central enclosure

Skipsea Castle (Artificial Mound)

Visited 5.8.17

In the village of Skipsea. Signposted as it is an English Heritage site. You can park near the field gate which gives access to the site. You walk across a field and then through a second gate. The field had a herd of cows in it.

My main reason for visiting was to knock off another English Heritage site. I have been to many motte and bialy castles over the years but this is one of the most impressive. Both the motte and bails are very large. The views from the top of the motte are impressive over the surrounding flat countryside. I would heartily recommend visiting the site - just watch out for the cow pats!

Westow (Long Barrow)

Visited 30.7.17

Along a minor road, east of Kirkham Priory (EH site). OS map required.

The long barrow is in the field adjacent to Westow Grange farm. There is no public access into the field which is overlooked by the farmhouse.

The barrow is visible from the edge of the field as a grass covered mound approximately 1.5m high by 30m long.

Collinswood Farm (Round Barrow(s))

Visited 30.7.17

East of Sledmere on the B1253

The field was in crop (wheat). The barrow could still be made out as a low, long mound. It is only a matter of time until it has been completely ploughed out.

Rudston Monolith (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 1.8.17

Looking at my previous fieldnote I am back here exactly 2 years later - I had no idea!

When you are anywhere near the area of this hugely impressive stone you just have to visit. And it is just as impressive the second time around (no doubt also the third, fourth, fifth etc).

All was quiet in the churchyard (we were the only visitors), the sun was shining, the birds chirping - very peaceful on this late summer evening.

The stone still dominates the church, as it has always done. Rudstone is one of those special places that everyone should try to visit at least once in their lives.

*** Don't forget to check out the cist and Roman coffin lid in the corner of the churchyard under the trees.

Maelmin Henge Reconstruction

Visited 26.7.17

Signposted from the village of Milfield, on the A697. There is a free carpark immediately adjacent to the site. Access is via a gate or the site can be viewed via a raised viewing platform.

This is an excellent place to visit. Access couldn't be easier and there are several information boards which have rather amusing cartoon-like drawings on them. You basically follow the path, reading the boards as you go. This reconstruction really gives a feel for how a henge would have looked like when originally built.

Alas the Mesolithic hut has now gone, although the information board relating to it is still there.

Scarborough Castle (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Visited 31.7.17

I guess a Summer holiday rainy day out in Scarborough is as close to being typically British as it is possible to get? Even down to the two smiling ladies enjoying their ice creams whilst sheltering under a brolly during a torrential down pour with thunder and lightning added as a bonus!

On the walk up to the castle myself and Dafydd sheltered in the porch of St Mary's church - during yet another down pour. Whilst there I spotted the grave of Anne Bronte - one of the famous writing sisters - although the closest I have ever come to any of their work is listening to the classic Kate Bush song!

Anyway, upon reaching the castle and looking around there is a series of information boards showing the history of the site. The first board shows an artistic impression on a Bronze Age settlement which was discovered during excavations. There is a well within the castle (also called St Mary's I think) which is thought to have been a water source for the Bronze Age folk. (From my experience of Scarborough all they would have had to do was tilt their heads backwards and open their mouths if they felt thirsty!)

There is also the remains of a Roman lighthouse at the castle -if you like that sort of thing?

Great coastal views to be had in all directions. No wonder the ancients set up home here. I wonder if they had problems with the seagulls nicking their chips as well? :)

Dunstanburgh Castle (Promontory Fort)

Visited 28.7.17

To be honest the real reason I visited the site was in order to knock another English Heritage site off the list. From the castle sweeping views along the coast are to be had and it comes as no great surprise that this was once the site of a promontory fort.

It is a fair old walk to the castle from the car park in Craster (about 1.5 miles) but well worth it, particularly on a bright and breezy day.

As we passed the lifeguard station on the way back to the car the alarm went off and the RNLI sprang into action. A tiny tractor pulled the RIB out along the beach and into the water. Within minutes the rescue craft was roaring out of the harbour and out into sea. Apparently a swimmer had gone missing further up the coast. Hopefully it was a happy ending?

Duggleby Howe

Visited 30.7.17

This impressive barrow stands next to the village of the same name. Despite its size we somehow managed to drive past it on first approach!

Access was no problem as the field had been harvested although the barrow itself was covered in fairly high rough grass so had an 'unkempt' look about it - a bit like me really - and only a bit older! ;)

Kemp Howe (Long Barrow)

Visited 30.7.17

A short distance east of Sledmere, next to the B1253.

Although the field was still in crop (wheat) it was just about possible to spot the barrow as a long, low 'bump'. No doubt that within a few years it will have been completely ploughed out.

If you are in the area take time to visit the fantastic First World War memorial in Sledmere. It is also next to the B1253. A superb piece of stone masonry which tells an important story.

Prudhoe Castle (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Visited 29.7.17

This is what I call a 'win - win', the chance to visit a new English Heritage site and see an 'old stone' at the same time!

The stone is just outside the door you pay to get into the castle (gratis for me due to my trusty CADW card!). There is a metal sign next to the stone which gives basic information. The cup and rings are quite worn but as far as I could tell (the light was not ideal) the top two cups had two rings around them whilst the bottom one had a single ring?

Well worth visiting if in the area - as is the castle. If you only wanted to see the stone you could get away without paying to get into the castle!

Innerleithen Parish Church (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Failed visit 25.7.17

How many churches can one (relatively) small place have? Clearly one too many for me as I failed to find the right church!

I visited 5 - one converted to appartments, one in the process of conversion and 3 wrong ones!

If you happen to know which is the correct church perhaps you can provide the name and directions on how to find it - for people like me! :)

Cardrona Mains (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 25.7.17

Immediately south of the A72 - signposted Cardrona.

The stone was visible from the road - just! Access is over an old wooden field gate.

Since the photos were taken nature has taken over and the entire field is now covered in chest height vegetation, including brambles, thistles and nettles-far from ideal when wearing shorts! (at least I found some wild raspberries to pick - although the children ate them all!)

The stone is a decent size, approximately 4ft high x 1.5ft wide. The stone has a pronounced lean and is covered in white and yellow lichen. A large yellow snail clung to one side.

Worth seeking out when in the area.

The White Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 25.7.17

The stone is easy to spot being on the main road out of Peebles. Parking is also easy.

It is nice that this stone has been respected and cared for all these years. It says something that there was no sign of any graffiti or litter spoiling the stone. I would put the stone at approximately 1metre round.

Well worth looking out for when visiting Peebles - which is a very nice town. (and has an Historic Scotland site - that's another one off the list!) :)

Garth Hill (Round Barrow(s))

Visited 21.6.2017

Three years later I find myself back on Garth Hill. This time however I am here on the Solstice to see the sun come up and not go down - minus Dafydd who I left in bed as he has school later this morning and he is one crabby boy when tired!

I arrived at the usual parking spot at 4.15am ready for a sunrise at 4.55am. I headed up the rough track and was soon joined by an elderly chap who informed me that his granddaughter was at Stonehenge so he thought he would join her in spirit by watching the Solstice from somewhere nearer home. I said I would rather be here than Stonehenge today!

Upon reaching the barrow we surveyed the scene around us. Although the sky above us was clear, it was hazy with some cloud on the horizon. Why is it that when you hope for a clear sky to see the sun rise/set it is usually like this? On the plus side we were treated to a crescent moon and the planet Venus shining brightly above it. It was a bit windy but cool rather than cold - no doubt it will get a lot warmer as the day unfolds during this current heat wave.

We were soon joined by 3 other people and then a little later by a lady walking her dog. By now the sky and surrounding countryside was starting to lighten, changing from blue to purple to lilac. The clouds being under lit by the still unseen sun changing the clouds from rose pink to bright orange and eventually to bright white. Several jet airliners sped high overhead, leaving a trail of white in their wake.

At 5.00am the sun made its brilliant appearance, breaking through the clouds as a bright red orb - a wondrous sight and well worth getting up for. All was quiet except for the sound of birdsong all around us. We were all deep in our own thoughts contemplating everything and nothing.

Before long the sun had risen sufficiently enough to make looking directly at it impossible. Time to head back down the hill, home, breakfast and get ready for work. I may be the most tired one in the office today but I will probably be the one feeling most fulfilled.

St Augustine's Abbey (Standing Stones)

Visited April 2017

As part of my ongoing quest to visit every English Heritage site I found myself having a week in Kent and a visit to the abbey. I certainly wasn't expecting anything of a prehistoric nature in my visit. However, whilst walking around the ruins I came across two stones which are described as 'standing stones'. Apparently the stones are not local to the area and must have been brought to the site from some distance. The guide book I bought states that they are possibly re-used prehistoric standing stones?

One for the 'disputed antiquity' list I think!

Woodbury Castle (Hillfort)

Visited 23.10.2016

There is plenty of parking either side of the B3180 immediately adjacent to the hillfort.

There is a badly worn / vandalized information board at the edge of the car park, on the approach to the steps which take you up the inner rampart. From the bottom of the ditch I would guess it was perhaps 8m to the top of the inner rampart. From inside the hillfort the rampart was about 3m high in places. The whole area of the hillfort, both inside and outside the ramparts is covered with large, mature trees of various type.

It was a beautiful autumn day. An azure sky with the warm sun filtering through the reds, golds and browns of the leaves, which were falling like confetti over our heads.

I was really taken by this site, it was a really lovely place to visit. Particularly in weather as fine as today. In fact I would say it was even better than the not-to-distant and more famous, Blackbury Camp. This is no slur on Blackbury Camp (a fine site) but more a high recommendation of Woodbury Castle. In my humble opinion a 'must see' when in this part of the world. And it couldn't be easier to find and access.

The B3180 follows the contours of the ramparts as it passes through the site. Which leads to an obvious question - which numpty decided to build a road right through the site instead of around it?

Hangman's Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 23.10.2016

On the southern verge of the busy A3052 at the junction with the minor road turning south to Branscombe. You can pull in on the grass verge next to the stone for a quick visit.

The stone is very small but was easy enough to spot in the short grass. If the grass had not been cut for some time (must play havoc with the council grass cutters!) it could be difficult. A non-descript stone which would pass you by had you not been specifically looking out for it. Not one to go out of your way for.

The Grey Mare & Her Colts (Long Barrow)

Visited 23.10.16

When visiting the Kingston Russel stone circle you simply must take the short detour off the bridleway to visit this ruined, but nevertheless impressive burial chamber.

Despite the cold wind myself and Dafydd spent a fair bit of time here looking over the stones. Needless to say we had the place to ourselves. I think you would be quite unlucky to find someone else here the same time as you.

To be honest I think this is a better preserved more interesting site than its more famous nearby stone circle. I note that it was nearly two years to the day since my last visit. A lot of water has passed under the bridge in that time! Although these sites are a bit out of the way (O/S map recommended) they are well worth the effort.

Kingston Russell (Stone Circle)

Visited 23.10.2016

Whoo-hooo.......... Found it! How I managed to NOT find it on my last visit is now a bit of a mystery!

Park in the small lay-by just before the cattle grid leading to Gorwell Farm (room for two cars). All you then need to do is follow the signposted bridleway, remembering to go through the wooden gate in front of you as the graveled track bends round to the right. Stay on the bridleway (starts a bit rough but eventually flattens out) and it will take you straight to the stone circle. (In a signposted field on your right)

I am sooooo pleased to have finally got here. This has been something of a 'monkey on my back' for the last two years and something I have wanted to put right. The late afternoon weather had a very late autumn/early winter feel about it. Grey overcast clouds, with a cold, biting wind. It took me 25 minutes to walk from the car to the circle.

As for the stone circle itself, I counted 18 stones of various size and shape. I have no idea if these are 18 different stones or represent fragmented parts of fewer stones? In all honesty the circle itself isn't a 'classic' by any means but at least it is still with us and it does occupy a 'classic' stone circle location - a level area in a prominent position. If the nearby trees and hedges were removed there would be decent 360 degree over the surrounding countryside.

That's another English Heritage site ticked off the list - only 119 to go! It also feels good to get rid of that monkey................ :)
Showing 1-20 of 1,861 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 20
I have visited both historic and prehistoric sites for a number of years but since 'discovering' this website my visits have spiralled out of control!
I am now out 'exploring' as often as possible and have been to many wonderful places I didn't even know existed before using this website.
Having visited all the CADW sites I am now trying to visit all the E.H. sites and as many H.S. sites as possible.
In trying to achieve these goals I get to travel all around the country and with it the chance to visit as many sites as possible mentioned on this fine website. I hope some of you find my contributions a little helpful?
I have certainly found the contributions made by others to be both very informative and often quite amusing!
I must also mention the lovely Karen whom without her help, encouragement and understanding I would not be able to visit half of the places I do.
I am forever grateful.

My TMA Content: