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

Fieldnotes by drbob

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Breamore Down (Round Barrow(s))

The barrow is in the grove at the centre of which stands Breamore Mizmaze. Follow the bridleway up past Breamore house, through the wood to an open section of down, the path leading into the grove to the Mizmaze is signposted. A few yards before you reach the fence surrounding the labyrinth, head about ten yards to the left into the wood and the remains of the barrow are visible.

This is a small Bronze Age round barrow which has been almost completely robbed out leaving just a horseshoe bank. Its location in a yew grove close to a turf labyrinth adds to its interest.

There are other barrows and the Giant's Grave long barrow in the area, and indeed the hump at the centre of the Mizmaze is sometimes claimed to be the remains of a barrow.

Giant's Grave (Long Barrow)

The barrow is fenced off, supposedly to protect it from the feet of the few people a week who might seek it out, and at midsummer it was too heavily overgrown to get much feel for.

Hindwell Pool

We visited Hindwell Pool in May 2005. The pool is easy to find as it's next to Hindwell Farm which is very obvious (from the north at least, it might be trickier to spot if you're coming from the main road to the south). There are various places on the road where you can park for a few minutes or alternatively I believe there's a footpath from The Four Stones if you fancy a stroll.

We decided not to ask at the farm about access as you can see through to the pool from the roadside. It's gorgeous - bigger than I was expecting, almost completely surrounded by trees with swans gliding across it. Well worth a brief visit if you happen to be in the area.

So is it an antiquity? My understanding is that it's a natural pool fed by a spring and would have been in existence when the area was surrounded by the largest palisaded enclosure found so far in the British Isles. If that's the case, it's difficult to imagine that it wasn't at least involved in whatever rituals were taking place, if not at the very centre of them.

Barrow Hills, Radley (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

The name Barrow Hills promises much but the reality is that any visible trace of the barrows themselves is long gone.

I started by driving down Thrupp Road, which forms the eastern edge of the site, to see if there were any suspicious bumps or other signs. Nothing, although the field does have a large bowl shaped dip which stands out in this generally flat landscape. I then headed back to the car park for Barrow Hills Park which is on Audlett Drive just south of the roundabout with the (Abingdon to) Radley Road. The park itself is mainly a skate park and dogwalking area with some recently planted woodland. It's pleasant enough on a damp spring afternoon when the cherry trees are flowering but there's no information about the place and its distinctive name, and the only mounds are in the skate park and hence presumably modern.

So what used to be visible? This was a Bronze Age cemetery, with two rows of barrows arranged in straight lines running roughly east to west, parallel to each other and only a short distance apart. According to Leeds, the northern line had eleven barrows with single ring ditches and the southern line had five barrows with double ring ditches. The car park is roughly in the middle - the barrows to the east are under the park and the field mentioned earlier, the barrows to the west are under the houses on the other side of Audlett Drive. The area was excavated in the 1980s prior to the housing being built and use of the area for ceremonial and funerary purposes back to the early Neolithic was uncovered (Excavations at Barrow Hills - ISBN 0947816895).

All in all, probably not worth a visit then but if it's a dry summer, overflying the area in a microlight might show up some interesting crop marks.
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