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Fieldnotes by juamei

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Hawksclough (Hillfort)

[visited 7/7/22] Two hours to kill whilst waiting for guides to finish falling into a lake so I fired up the trusty map and spotted this nearby. I'm trying to see a few of these iron age sites nearby to validate a possible site I found on a local golf course, so this looked a good bet.

I headed up from the south through the lovely old wood and eventually found the site. I have to say I'm not convinced on the ground and checking the lidar, I'm even less convinced. The ditches around the edges seem natural with some possible modification, but I'd expect a bank along the top, even slight, which seemed to be completely absent.

There is obvious ridge and furrow across the top which you can see close up on the footpath and is picked out beautifully on the lidar, if I had to guess I'd presume the ditches at the foot of the slope were drainage for the mediaeval fields.

On the way back I got deliberately "lost" in the woods, completely empty at 8pm. Bliss.

Access pretty good from the south with only moderate rough ground and well maintained access roads and paths. Steep long grass at the site.

Carve Hill (Round Barrow(s))

[visited 20/8/20] In the spirit of stretching my walking legs again, I popped over to this tonight after work. Lovely evening, lovely walk, I was accompanied for the last mile by the incessant twittering of swallows, squadrons hurtling past in close formation attacking the enemy insects. Its a nice walk up from Hawkshaw and you dont see the giant mound until the last.

And it is a giant. Same vibe as Round Loaf, if it was in Dorset I'd have been nodding appreciatively at the magnificence of it. Round here its a veritable freak. I mention Round loaf and the HER talks about another similar mound; Priest's Crown, which has been "proved to be natural". Is this glacial? I just dont know, its a lovely round shape. But why put it in this valley, why not up on the hill to the west? But then I climbed it and it lifts you over the ridge to the South and you can see for MILES. I read that the south pennine folk were ancestral overspill from the eastern peaks moors, was that the view?

Access is ok for the semi fit, but poor for wheels, you've 3 or 4 stiles to cross.

Pikestones Cairn (Kerbed Cairn)

[visited 4/3/18] Out on a hike up Hurst hill, I remembered on my way back I'd never actually found this cairn despite walking within 100m of it many times. So, with the aid of the images on here and some rough guesstimation I found this really good condition small cairn. Turns out I was always the other side of a slight rise and even when I'd climbed it I was looking for a circular bank not a mound, should have checked the images earlier!

This is a really good condition cairn, seemingly untouched by robbers, antiquarians or farmers. The mound is poking out of the peat and has a clearly defined kerb about a metre or so up enclosing a 2-3 metre space. I wonder if there is a second kerb under the peat defining the bottom of the cairn, I poked about a bit but couldn't see anything obvious. Looking at the previous pictures on here I think the peat may have denuded a bit over the last 15 years or so.

The views are really good and before the trees went up you would have had a great view of pikestones and round loaf, this mound lying between the two. Also a lovely vista all the way round the eastern end of anglezarke, winter hill and then onto the lancashire plains out to the sea.

Access is good for Anglezarke, however it will probably be boggy underfoot depending on the time of year. You'll need to cross a couple of stiles and the cairn is just off a footpath.

Noon Hill (Cairn(s))

[Visited 18/02/18] I've been looking for an excuse to pop up here for a while, so a power walk bit of exercise seemed perfect. I went up the side of winter hill hoping to spot the small cairn on the north edge of the top, but I wasnt sure which of the humps qualified. This one didn't have that issue...

This is a large cairn still clearly defined, with the remains of a kerb on the southern side. The builders making use of a natural knoll to make two sides appear much bigger. The modern pile of stones on top has been flattened slightly since the earlier photos on here and I think is just spoil from the robber or excavation pit in the centre. I had a close look at the possible cups on the large stone nearby, I'm thinking natural due to lack of definition and irregular shape, but the light was very poor. If the stone was standing I think it's been flat for a fair while.

All in all a nice barrow, worth the effort. Access would be easiest from the old road which goes round the bottom off the hill following easily navigable paths.

Pea Low (Chambered Cairn)

[visited 4/12/16] My what a beast this is. has this as an oversized bowl barrow akin to the much smaller mounds on the hills to the north and west, I disagree entirely. This is surely one of the neolithic round cairns that dot the landscape of the southern white peak.

Its lovely here on a cold sunny winters day with low light spreading the shadows. The two pits are clear as are the original quarry pits in the surrounding fields. Its placement in the landscape is suggestive of a different purpose to the cairns on the steep hills nearby, this one much closer to the valleys and the water sources, not so much a statement to the gods but a usable monument for the everyday folk.

Access is ok. About 15-20 minutes walk from Alstonfield over muddy fields.

Woolsbarrow (Hillfort)

[visited 16/8/14] In what is a mostly flat landscape as the land turns to heath as it meets the sea, I was surprised to see a couple of hillforts on the tma map. Looking to escape after a long week visiting family in Upton I headed over to this, the most complete and accessible of the two (compared to Bulberry Camp). Turns out there is a ridge of land to the North of Poole Harbour which when on the ground is plenty high enough to build forts on.

The interior of the fort is small, made smaller by the extreme amounts of gorse and bracken covering the site. A space/path is maintained which means you can get to the western edge, though a circumnavigation of the top isn't possible unless you want to fight your way through gorse bushes. I'd like to come back here in the winter to investigate further and also have a look at the hill immediately adjacent to the north which seemed to also have earthworks or at least modified to make the path to the North of this fort very well defended.

Access is easy along a well maintained network of paths from parking just off the Wareham to Bere Regis road. I did get confused and ended up circling the fort as I missed the easy path from the South which takes you straight up and in past the defences. Unlike most hillforts the gorse in August stops you going up and over the defences...

Harland Edge (Cairn(s))

[visited 11/13] Out for a birthday sojourn, my actual target was the possible cup marks nearby, but it seemed churlish to ignore this so close to them. Getting here isn't the easiest, I settled for a 20 minute trek through the heathery bog across Harland Sick from Hell Bank plantation. Not that easy but ok this late in the year. When I finally got here, it was well worth the effort.

What a weird weird site. The peaks does have a habit of unusual sites, hob hurst's house being a km or so away, but this one may take the biscuit. From what I could tell on the ground and the HER, its basically two mounds separated by an open passage at both ends, including portal stones. I don't know how much is left here, mounds of rocks are nearby, so this could be the bottom metre only, with the passage perhaps originally being covered turning this into one mound. All in all odd, I'll try and get back here once I've found and read more reports on it...

Access is across open moorland for a km at least. The way straight across the moor from Hell Bank is easier than from Hob Hurst's house, but still painfully awkward.

Rostrevor Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

[visited 27/07/13] Standing alone in the centre of a field on the edge of Rostrevor, this stone is pretty much unknown by locals. We stopped at the gate at first, parking up and then just peering at the stone like onlookers to some private event, then rushing on as we had family to visit. The next day however I made sure we had ten minutes as we went past it so shinned over the gate and had a close look.

This is a decent enough stone coming just up to chest height. I had presumed it would be edge on to the direction of the valley but it's weird cross section meant it was hard to identify any meaningful potential alignment. Its not hard to see why it is located here though, the views are great and the stone is at the start of a pass which leads up and through the Mournes.

Access is fairly easy, just a gate climb and a short walk across a grassy field from the nearest road. The OS Mournes 50k map isn't exactly clear as to it's location, until you realise the marker is some distance from the text saying standing stone in the field towards town from the cemetery on Kilbroney Road.

Warrenpoint Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

[visited 28/07/13] Unfortunately I only got to the edge of the field for this one. The large herd of cows and bulls, if the very clear keep out notice was to be believed, blocked my path to the stone. It looks to be a bigun though, over head height and standing proud on a knoll. I suspect the views over Carlingford Lough are pretty good.

Curiously an old photo shows the stone to be encased over half way up with a mound. My limited viewpoint hinted that a lot of that has gone, but a closer look is definitely needed.

Access isn't possible without the farmers assistance, unless you are some kinda freaky cow whisperer.

Burren (Cist)

[visited 28/07/13] To be brutally honest, I thought I hadn't found this and had just snapped a picture of an amazing modern garden ornament. Upon reflection I really wish that was the case. The modernness of the house just makes the whole thing even sadder.

Access is great, though the houseowner might complain if you park your car next to it.

Tideslow (Chambered Cairn)

[24/2/13] Well this is a whopper! Completely and utterly trashed however with none of the chambers obvious especially if as Stubub intimates, the large stones on top are the remains of a lime kiln. Don't let that stop you visiting though, the views are immense in 300+ degrees making most of the northern part of the limestone plateau visible.

Access is best from the road to the West via a field then open access footpath along the edge of Tideslow Rake. You then need to leave the open access area to get to the other side of the wood.

Gardom's Edge II (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

[visited 30/6/12] I tried to find this before, just following Stu's instructions on here and failed, giving up after an hour or so. This time I was better armed with an 8 figure grid ref and a GPS which got me to within 10 metres of the stone, a quick search of the vicinity then proving fruitful! As it turns out I got witin 50 metres last time and decided against trying yet another last group of trees. If I had persisted I probably would have found it last time. Stu's instructions are basically sound, I'd clarify them by adding what I thought first time was the wide peat gulley wasn't, the gulley we want being closer to Birchen Edge just before the land starts to climb again.

The stone isn't very imoressive but worth a look if you are up here. It looks like it was perhaps part of a larger piece and has been broken off. The carvings are visible but quite weather worn.

Access is possible from a few directions, the North-East being perhaps most accessible though I haven't approached from that direction.

The Golden Stone (Natural Rock Feature)

[visited 26/5/12] Faced with a choice of locations for a picnic with the only criteria for choice being close to Manchester Airport, I picked Alderly Edge. Unfortunately as we were accompanied by an 18month old who walks at a speed slightly faster than a tortoise, the only prehistory I got to see was this stone. I'll be back on my own I suspect to see the mines.

Sadly like Ravenfeather I'm just not feeling this stone. Superficially it looks like a fallen stone, but look closer and it seems much more like a bit of bedrock. It could be a large diamond shape with a large protusion or its a large protusion from the bedrock...

Access is very easy and wheelchair friendly, just keep right and on the main paths as you come out of the national trust carpark.

Staden (Enclosure)

[visited 18/03/12] Well this is a delight I've been meaning to get to for a long time. Previously I'd made it to within sight (just) from the footpath and before the estate was expanded, I'd stood and stared in its general direction from a carpark. Nothing like getting up close and personal though, especially with this site which is clearly visible closeup despite its denuded state. I hadn't noticed the amazing view when I'd been near here before. We are up quite high here, so you look across Buxton in the dip, along Brown Edge and over to the gritstone hills 7 miles or so to the North.

Its a big circularish monument crossing a small shallow dry valley, together with a perculiar bank with a 90degree bend heading off to the north east. Opinion is divided but seems to be coming down in favour of an Iron age date for this. Several things about it to tend me towards that also; henges don't tend to lie across a dip, the bank & ditch seem unusually thin and defined for their height for a henge, it's circle is deformed unlike Arbor Low and the Bullring and the weird attached bank would be fairly unique. This could easily be contempory to similar sized Late Bronze Age/Iron Age enclosures nearby such as that on Eldon Hill.

Access is easyish from Dukes Drive via the caravan park, up the footpath and through the farm. As this is off the footpath, permission should be sort at the farm.

Pike Low (Standing Stone / Menhir)

[visited 29/1/12] What on earth happened at the top of this hill? I bet 300 years ago there was a ridge, with a nice big barrow and a track next to it. Now there's a dirty gash of a road, a weird standing stone and what looks like the remains of a quarry. The stone, to me, looks modern, way too square for my tastes anyway. I couldn't even make out the outline of the barrow, if this was done by "excavators" they really worked this one over. If it is a quarry, the stone is probably from that phase of destruction.

Access is a short walk from a layby either side of the ridge. Once I got close I couldn't even be bothered to get into the field so just climbed the 3m verge of the road to get moderately close.

[edit] PS Good views though.

Ginclough (Standing Stone / Menhir)

[visited 29/1/12] This is to all intents and purposes a boulder by the side of a busy road with some views. If the road and the wall weren't here, it would still be a boulder, but at least you'd get some lovely views and nice surroundings. Is it Prehistoric though? Its certainly a different shape and feel to the Murder Stone and Whaley Bridge stone less than 5 miles away. With a different positioning in the landscape too. However, could quite easily be a waymarker for the track the main road turned into.

Access is for the stupid. There is no public parking in Ginclough, so you either have a longish walk (rubbish reward ratio), perch on the side of a busy fast road or do what I did and reverse into the track next to the stone from the main road. The benefit of which means no stiles and a 10 second walk.

Murder Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

[visited 29/1/12] What a glorious little stone with an equally glorious view. Its a similar profile to the near-by Whaley Bridge stone and sits in a similarish position, this one having a wider view. Its on a little knoll next to the footpath, so you may have to do a quick ninja run to get right next to it.

It's yet another shouldered head of valley stone as well, this one made me seriously think there could be something in the stone representing an ancestor idea. Give it a biodegradable head and you've got a symbol that can look over your land, that can be seen from a fair way away.

Access should be easy, there are no stiles from the road, but there is a shut gate into the field then a short steepish climb. There is a space for a car to park just up the road from the farm, I however headed over from kettleshulme via the footpaths. Again this should be straight forward, just aim for the one that comes out nearest the farm, not the one the other side as this takes you through a swamp.

Eldon Hill Enclosure

[visited 8/1/12] Without a GPS and with blanket mist, I found this by educated luck, basically heading downhill in the right direction from the main barrow. Its a fairly small enclosure, presumably designed to keep cattle penned in as the high land immediately next to it would have made defensive use very difficult. The banks that are left look to be in good condition, though I didn't walk the whole thing as I was getting rushed for time by this point.

Access is the same as the rest of Eldon Hill.

Eldon Hill (Round Barrow(s))

[visited 8/1/12] I came up here in blanket mist, with visibility down to 40-50 metres, but I still found both definate barrows on top of the hill.

First the small "later" barrow to the East, clearly defined and reminiscent of some in the cairn fields in the more southern and eastern moors of the peaks. In the mist watch out for mine workings and just head to the high bit at the East end of the hill. Not worth the trip on its own I have to say, but worth seeing if you are up here.

Secondly I headed for the bigger barrow, keeping in mind it was on the only high point to the West, I tried to keep on the highest points and headed off into the gloom. Via an accidental detour halfway down the slope towards Eldon hole, I found the bigger barrow. This is another good sized barrow in the Northern peaks, of a similar size to Cow low, Lord's seat et al. The obligatory massive hole in the middle didn't disapoint, but the much more recent cairn on top was a sad sight for me. I presume because of the hole and maybe the quarry, walkers felt marking this point in the mist is necessary. To be fair to them, it certainly helps find it!

Via Eldon Hill enclosure I made the obligatory trip to Eldon Hole. A scary open wound into the centre of the earth, no wonder this hill was once called Elvedon Hill. This is definately an entranceway into the nether realm.

Access is across a few fields. I parked near the top of Winnets Pass which is a 40 minute trip to the top of the hill. You could probably park near Perryfoot and come at it from that direction. Stiles abound from either way, but its pretty firm under foot.

Chisworth (Cup Marked Stone)

[visited 27/11/2011] Relatively high effort to reward ratio this one, but worth it in my opinion. The stone is located within 5 paces off the bridleway and easy to spot. It is quite small and most of the cups are easy to work out despite being small themselves. Some would probably be classified as microcups if such a classifiaction were made.

It seems in a weird location, with nothing else within a mile or so apart from the Picking rods, though who knows what else is hidden on this high and barren place. Certainly there are walls which look very old up here (SK007907 ish for example), so I wouldn't be surprised if this plateau was farmed in the Bronze Age. The high grounds containing nearby barrows (Ludworth Intakes & Cown Edge) are visible, though I couldn't make out the barrows.

Access was ok, but very muddy and required me to cross 2 stiles. I parked near Pistol farm and headed along the tracks via Far Slack farm to the Bridle path which the stone is just off. A word of warning, I annoyed two "fierce" labradors at Far Slack farm who decided to chase me off their territory. As there was no owner in sight, I legged it to the stile at the bridle path. I'm sure they wouldn't have attacked, but caution seemed prudent. On the way back to the car I took the more direct footpath which was more uneven but quicker.
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