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Whiteleaf Cross (Christianised Site)

Whiteleaf and Brush Hill Local Nature Reserve Open Days

Sunday 15th September
10:30 - 4:00pm
The event is completely FREE!

The event is focused around the open grassland area above Whiteleaf Cross where walks and talks are lead from and displays and activities are held.

Whiteleaf and Brush Hill Local Nature Reserve Open Days
Sunday 15th September
10:30 - 4:00pm
The event is completely FREE!

The event is focused around the open grassland area above Whiteleaf Cross where walks and talks are lead from and displays and activities are held.

[A Butterfly]

[Archaeologist surveying the site]

[Earth mound]
photo courtesy of Nick Bowles

Please leave your car at home. Leaflets describing scenic walks from Princes Risborough, Whiteleaf and Monks Risborough are available from the Risborough Information office in Horns Lane. Disabled visitors will of course have access to the car park at Whiteleaf Hill.

Guided walks to the sites, from Princes Risborough, will take place at key times during the day (actual times will be published soon)

The open day is run in association with WDC, Risborough Countryside Group, Oxford Archaeology, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Shadow Chilterns Conservation Board, Special Projects Fund.

The event will include-

* Archaeological excavations in action!
* Demonstrations of Geophysics and how it can be used.
* Guided talks by archaeologists about Whiteleaf Hill.
* Live demonstration of wattle hurdle making.
* Archaeological education activity for children
* Guided walks on the conservation and wildlife interest of both sites, and the Black Hedge Project.
* Information on site management works underway.
* Displays on Risborough Countryside Groups activities.
* Information on the Red Kites and Chalk Streams Projects
* Local memories, the site managers would like to talk to local people about their memories of the site and local photos.

The Long Man of Wilmington (Hill Figure)

Twenty foot penis painted on ancient hill figure

An ancient hill figure carved into the South Downs has sprouted a 20-foot penis overnight in what experts say could be a bizarre May Day celebration.

The discovery has been made by the Long Man Morris Men who are visiting The Long Man of Wilmington to celebrate May Day.

The 231-foot high figure, located near Eastbourne, East Sussex, is causing giggles among tourists who were photographing him in all his new glory.

Sussex Archaeological Society, which owns the site, said the appendage could have been part of the ancient Beltaine Celtic Festival. Others observers, including a white witch, said it might have been part of a bizarre May Day fertility ritual.

The adult attachment has been painted on the grass and has not damaged the figure cut into the chalk hillside by Druid settlers and which attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Morris Man Norman Hopson said: "We first noticed it after our first dance this morning, but I promise it had nothing to do with us. I last visited it four weeks ago but nothing had been added."

Henry Warner, a director at the Archaeological Society, said: "This could have been a mindless act of vandalism or it could have been something to do with the Celtic Beltaine Festival. In the Celtic system the festival marks the start of the warm part of the year and was traditionally held at the beginning of May.

"Alternatively it could have been a fertility ritual. The figure may originally have had an appendage, like at Cerne Abbas, but the Victorians who did not approve of such things may have taken it off. But, whoever did this, we can never condone vandalism at the Long Man."

White witch Kevin Carlyon, head of the British Coven of White Witches, said: "I am up in arms over this because I have always said that the Long Man was a woman.

"I take chaps with problems to the Long Man at Wilmington and women to Cerne Abbas, but this makes a mockery of that. I am going to put a spell on whoever did this, but I would not be surprised if there were quite a few naughty romps at the Long Man tonight."

Story filed: 12:23 Wednesday 1st May 2002
Originally published at the following URL:

The Horestone (Rodborough) (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Stroud Horestone rediscovered by amateur historian

An amateur historian has found a lost standing stone in his own "back garden" - 18 months after beginning a search for it.

Stephen Davis and historian friend Clare Forbes used ancient documents to help track down The Horestone near Stroud, Gloucestershire, some
350 years after it was lost.

Mr Davis learned of the stone when he began researching the history of his own house in 1987.

He then started to swap notes with local historian Ms Forbes and this led to the pair agreeing to look for the stone together.

The first known reference to the stone was in legal documents dated 1170.

But it is believed to mark a Bronze Age burial site dating back to around 2,500 BC.

The area was declared common land after a law suit was fought over it in the 14th Century.

Its last official recording was in 1636 in a tax record.

The land on which it stands, which is behind Mr Davis' house, was sold off 300 years ago and is now part of a housing estate.

'Astonishing moment'

The two stone-hunters feared the ancient rock on Rodborough Common might have been smashed up or buried to destroy its magical powers.

Mr Davis said: "We had no reason to believe that we'd actually find it. These things are buried, ploughed over or they just fall over."

They almost missed finding it because it was so overgrown with ivy it looked like a tree stump.

But both said they were glad to find it and "unpick the lock of ancient history around Rodborough".

On uncovering the stone, Mr Davis said: "It's curious to excavate a piece of history. It wasn't just stumbling across it, but just stumbling across
it while we were looking for it.

"It was the most astonishing of moments. It spoke immediately of lost time and still had all the atmosphere of a pagan shrine.

"I was certainly not expecting to have such a stunning moment in my own back garden."

English Heritage is now expected to declare the six-feet-high stone a scheduled ancient monument.

Whiteleaf Cross (Christianised Site)

Whiteleaf Hill restoration project


Buckinghamshire County Council has recently submitted a Heritage Lottery Bid application to support its restoration project of the Whiteleaf Hill Nature Reserve, a site of unique national importance.

The total of the cost of the three year project is estimated to run into six figures. Onyx Environmental Trust have already pledged £75,000 for the restoration of the Whiteleaf Cross with major financial support coming from Buckinghamshire County Council and the Landfill Tax. However, the Heritage Lottery Bid is crucial to the success of the project in providing funding for a number of important historical projects on the site. The outcome of the Lottery bid is expected in the autumn.

The Project is based on a strong local partnership between the owners and managers of the site, Buckinghamshire County Council, and the Risborough Countryside Group, Princes Risborough Town Council, and other interested parties and statutory agencies. The Project also has the support of English Nature, The Countryside Agency and the Chilterns AONB as well as Lord Carrington, Sir William McAlpine, Sir Nigel Mobbs and Sir Timothy Raison.


The main objects of the project are to conserve Whiteleaf Cross as a stable and prominent hill figure, improve public access and recreational facilities, including the Ridgeway National Trail and site carpark/picnic area and to foster a sense of local identity at Whiteleaf and its association with local settlements and the market town Princes Risborough. The project also aims to develop educational opportunities and a greater awareness of the site among younger people.

On a historical basis, the project plans to survey, map and interpret archaeological/ historical features above or below ground, carry out limited research excavations of the Neolithic Barrow and WW1 trenches and interpret the site and its key features through leaflets, panels and a locally produced book. Improving the chalk grassland habitats and carrying out species conservation works will also plan an important part of the project. Mike Woods, Countryside Manager, said: "This Local Nature Reserve is an important site which offers a unique natural environment and historic past. It is essential that we preserve this important site for future generations to enjoy. Our Heritage Lottery bid is a key element in securing its future."


Community interest and support for the project is reflected by the Risborough Countryside Group who enjoy a membership of over 200 local people and provide the link with other local organisations, groups, clubs and schools.

Design and technical advice for the project has kindly been donated by Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd.

Silbury Hill (Artificial Mound)

Save Silbury Peaceful Protest

September 8th, 2001:

Venue Avebury main car-park with walk to Silbury Hill.

A mass walk to bring attention to the sorry state of the hill and to demand that govt money is provided to repair the damage. By this date the current surveys should be completed and an idea of just how much work and money is needed should be ready.

Help to keep the pressure up and to get media attention by joining the walk, meet up in the main car- park around 1-1.30pm ready to set off to Silbury Hill car park at 2pm.

Bring a picnic, bring children, bring your friends, bring banners. This is to be a peaceful demonstration so the more peaceful types the better!

The last march went off very well with a friendly police presence and some of the kids getting lifts in the back of the lead police car. If by any chance an announcement is made that the funds will be made available then the day will transform into a celebration instead.

If any of you who live in cities and don't have cars would like to offer to arrange coaches get in touch. Likewise anyone with car space.

Birmingham/Midlands pagans are already trying to arrange coach hire and places. Make a day out of it, book a coach for your moot, enjoy a day out in Ancient Avebury and do something to show support for Silbury Hill.

Anyone wanting to offer to be a steward for the day please get in touch by mailing, stewards are needed to try to talk people out of climbing the hill and to ensure safety on the walk (fluorescent jackets provided).

Seismic study underway

Scanners probe Stone Age mystery

Archaeologists are using computer imaging to try to solve one of the biggest mysteries of Stone Age Britain.

Silbury Hill in Wiltshire is the biggest man-made neolithic mound in Europe - but nobody knows why it was built.

The 130ft foot grassy mound, which was built more than 4,000 years ago, has been seriously threatened by a hole which appeared in its summit in May last year.

As repairs get under way English Heritage wants to carry out a seismic study of the hill to create 3D computer images of what lies inside.

A hole appeared in the hill's summit last year

First they have to shore up an 18th century shaft from a previous excavation that collapsed several months ago.

It has already been reinforced with polystyrene, and on Thursday helicopters will transport 36 tonnes of chalk to cap the opening.

Once the hill has been made safe, four small vertical holes will be bored into its side so that scientists can increase the detail of the interior scan.

The results should be known in October. Archaeologists have tried to uncover the secret of Silbury Hill for more than 200 years.

Archaeologists will use an 18th Century shaft

The giant mound would have taken 700 men 10 years to complete, using antler picks and shovels made from the shoulder bones of animals.

There have been several theories about the site, which forms part of the ancient landscape surrounding Avebury stone circle and nearby Stonehenge.

No evidence has been found of any human burials but many believe it was a sacred monument.

Others think it was nothing more than a Stone Age waste tip.

Stonehenge and its Environs

Visitor centre press release ...

English Heritage News Release


The next exciting phase in the creation of the new Visitor Facilities at
Stonehenge, located outside the World Heritage Site at
Countess East, Amesbury, was announced by English Heritage on Friday 3
August. The appointment of a world-class team who will support the project
architects Denton Corker Marshall comprises a Project Manager, Structural
and Civil Engineer, Landscape Architect, Mechanical and Electrical
Engineers, Transport Engineer and Quantity Surveyor.
In April 2001 English Heritage announced the appointment of Denton Corker
Marshall as architects and design team leaders. Now, with today's
appointments, design will rapidly advance.

Announcing the selection, John Vimpany, Project Director for Stonehenge,
said: "I am delighted to welcome to the Project a design team whose dynamic
mix of skills and expertise will combine to produce one of the best visitor
centres in the world.

"Each firm has been carefully selected against stiff competition from an
international field to bring creativity and expertise to the project. They
have a real understanding of Stonehenge as a World Heritage Site and the
importance of restoring an open landscape around it."

The appointments announced today are:

Structural and Civil Engineers - Anthony Hunt Associates Ltd
This highly respected firm of structural and civil engineers has worked with
many of the country's most respected architects such as Richard Rogers
Partnership, Foster & Partners and John McAslan Architects. They also share
many similar design principals with Denton Corker Marshall, the project's
architects. Previous high profile projects include the Eden Project in
Cornwall, the National Botanic Gardens in Wales and the North Greenwich
Transport Interchange.

Landscape Architect - Chris Blandford Associates
Well known for their sensitive approach to landscape design, CBA bring to
the project a deep understanding of the cultural, planning and environmental
issues that affect the landscape surrounding Stonehenge. This appointment
follows their earlier work on the Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management
Plan, the Tower of London World Heritage Site and extensive work for the
Department of Transport.

Project Manager - Gardiner & Theobald Management Services
GTMS will provide the vital link between English Heritage and the design
team headed by architects Denton Corker Marshall. They have a proven
track-record in managing high profile heritage projects including the
Imperial War Museum North, the Salisbury Cathedral Magna Carta Project, the
Windsor Castle Fire Restoration and the National Gallery Sainsbury Wing.

Quantity Surveyor - Davis Langdon & Everest
Davis Langdon & Everest's international reputation is based on a wide range
of prestigious projects, especially in the cultural and museums sector
including the Eden Project, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery
and British Museum.

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer - Norman Disney and Young
This fast growing international firm of engineering consultants are known
for their work on the Shell Mex House in London, the Museum of New Zealand
and the visitor centre at the Australia War Museum.

Transport Engineer - Colin Buchanan and Partners
Colin Buchanan and Partners is one of the UK's leading transport
consultants, with experience in providing transport solutions for a variety
of projects both in the UK and overseas. Previous projects include the
creation of regeneration strategies for London and Middlesborough and a
Transport Feasibility Study for Oxford.

A draft scheme for the visitor centre and transport link will be produced
later this year, on which English Heritage will consult the National Trust
and the other Stonehenge Master Plan partners, prior to detailed designs
being drawn up to form the basis of a planning application in 2002/3.
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