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Devil's Quoits (Circle henge) — Fieldnotes

It is still a difficult place to find, there are no signs pointing the way until you are at the small car park. Leaving the B4449 west of Stanton Harcourt head south following signs for the Recycling and waste centre, it is a dead end road, just keep following the road without deviation. As you enter the Recycling centre there will be a small car park immediately left. Use eagle eyes to pick out the small sign saying Devil's Quoits. Follow the path alongside of the big lake with birds on it until the henge and stones appears to your right. Bingo!

I didn't really know what to expect from this place, it's newness, it's fresh out of the box feel could have been overpowering, the landfill site right smack next door to it could have been suffocating. Both of these things are an inescapable part of the Devil's Quoits, but they should not put you off from visiting. People are passing by all the time but they are just folk out for a nice walk by the lake with lots of birds on it, they did not intrude upon my solitary musings.
So I start a walk round the stones, as it happens anti clockwise or widdershins, the first two things one notices about the stones is that some are really quite big and all of them are a lovely Cotswoldy yellow in colour. Other things one notices are some stones are quite small, one stone is outside the circle, pointing in, Clive Ruggles says it has no astronomical function, but the information board ignored him and said it does. One stone near the west entrance is clearly a few feet within the circle.
As I approach the east entrance I go for what I assume is a little trespass, through the earthwork over a not fence and up the landfill hillock with big valves on it. A good view of the entire site can be had from here, though the knowledge of what I'm standing on is a little stomach churning.
Back in the circle I carry on my unfavourable circuit of the stones, one stone a smaller one is strongly grey, standing stark against the yellow/orange of the other stones. I wonder who chose which stones go where and how they settled on this format. Mind you I wonder that at most stone circles, but the mind behind this lot is still alive and approachable.
Back at the entrance I have a quick look at the information board, it is, unsurprisingly, informative.
Either side of the entrance are some large stones that must not have made the cut for some reason but then got left behind, spares? The henge is slowly, or indeed quite quickly being eroded by burrowing rabbits, I have not seen such bunny destruction in a very long time if ever, the cute little darlings should be annihilated without mercy.
All too soon it is time to go, but my time here, was, I felt, well spent.
Upon my return to home I found out that not all the stones were modern replacements, at least three, including one of the big ones are original Devil's Quiots. Strangely (or not) this made me feel a little better about the site.

Uffington Castle (Hillfort) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Uffington White Horse (Hill Figure) — Images

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Dragon Hill (Artificial Mound) — Images

<b>Dragon Hill</b>Posted by postman

Blowing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

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Wayland's Smithy (Long Barrow) — Images

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Devil's Quoits (Circle henge) — Images

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Coity Chambered Tomb — Fieldnotes

Eric and I didnt have a problem getting to the site, I parked by the house next to the footpath, there were two stiles I think and there we have it, but we didn't, oh no, no sign of it at all. It should be pretty visible by the hedge but it was gone, I began to doubt my sons stone finding abilities. Hadn't I taught him well?
I couldnt see it where it was supposed to be so we went past it til it was obvious we'd gone too far, then went back down the hill, then I walked past where it should have been to the end of the field, still nothing. So I jumped a hedge or two and found an older couple walking their dog, apparently they knew where the burial chamber was, I walked with them til we got to a point where they said it's in that field there through that gate up against the hedge. Perfect, that's the field I've just come from, so I went back through the gate went straight to the top of the field and walked slowly back down, poking about in the undergrowth, and yaaay there it is, I think, more than poking about is needed here, it is almost completely invisible. About now I begin to wonder where Eric is, did he follow me into the other fields or go back to the car?
I set about clearing the brambles, ferns and long grasses, I have no shears, no scissors, my teeth are pretty blunt so I trample as best I can while being torn to shreds. I got six photos in then the brambles tripped me over and my camera went inexplicably misty, two more unsatisfactory photos and I have to admit that I need to come back and do it properly, but god knows when that will be. I have run out of time, I have a date tonight, a date with the force and light sabers, a galaxy far away brings me back to normality, and a long drive home.

Cae'r-Hen-Eglwys (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

My daughter is in her second year away at university in delightful Stoke on Trent, I miss her terribly, but I needn't worry about her as she now has a boyfriend to look after her, and he does. When she is home, twice now she's asked me to drive her down to his house so they can be together. This is a double edged sword, he lives in Wales, near llantwit Major, South Wales, just about as far away from us as is possible whilst still being in the country next door. But on the other hand there are plenty of stones round here that I haven't yet had the pleasure of because they are so far away. The first time I took her down I dropped her off and went to see some cairns on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, this time I took the time to go in and meet his mum, but she was out, so I hugged the daughter and said goodbye, then Eric and me went off to find some stones.

I don't own the map that I need to find them, but I took some photos of the online map and Eric has his smart phone, so I trust in my 17 year old son and head off north towards Bridgend.
A lot of traffic slowed us down but in the end he took us down some narrow lanes and suddenly said stop, were here, are you sure I said turning to look at him, and there they are through the window beyond him. Ok well done say I.

I remember reading Gladmans scathing report of the site, lots and lots of rubbish strewn all over the place by the sounds of it. So I'm a bit apprehensive.
There is a broken information sign hiding in the bushes but I don't think it's for the stones, I climb the gate and enter the field.
Immediately I'm relieved to see there is no rubbish at all, but the double edged sword comes into play once more, this is still farm land and there is a massive pile manure not twenty yards away, but being anosmic this only offends mine sight. Between the stones and the manure is an unnavigable muddy quagmire, a treacherously unpassable sea of shit and earth, cows come here every day to feed and pass through the gate, it is a disgusting mass.
No rubbish though.

That all being something or other the stones are pretty fabulous. Standing closely a certain distance from one another, about five feet tall, one stone a tall and somewhat pointy stone leans only very slightly, but the other a broad round topped stone, it's lean is considerable, without being very exact it's lean is perhaps 55 degrees from the vertical plane.

Nice stones,
Bad mud and poo.

Coity Chambered Tomb — Images

<b>Coity Chambered Tomb</b>Posted by postman<b>Coity Chambered Tomb</b>Posted by postman

Cae'r-Hen-Eglwys (Standing Stones) — Images

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Priddy Nine Barrows (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

Tis but a short walk from the B3135 to Ashen hill barrows, and about the same again to the Nine barrows. The first two we come to are separated from the other seven by a wall and over a hundred yards, one is quite low and the other has suffered at the hands of time two large scoops taken from it's interior.
Popping over the wall, the next barrow reached is a very low barrow compared to the others, barely a couple of feet high, the next one is taller. I move along the line this way and that, the barrows vary in height. The last two are the most interesting, the penultimate barrow has a ditch round it, possibly a bell barrow or something. The final barrow is right at the top of North Hill, it might even be the biggest barrow, and someone has built a not unattractive stone circle on it's summit, pilfering stones from the adjacent wall, as any welsh farmer will tell you, that is how it's done.
Off to one side away from the line of barrows is one more, so in all taking them all (Ashen Hill)into account there are eighteen barrows up here, it is an astonishing place, every bit as interesting as the line of henges and massively more visitable.
Come here!

Ashen Hill Barrows (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

I parked on the B3135 opposite Harptree lodge then walked back up to the gate opposite the southern henge. Hopping the gate and walking across the field the barrows cut a very impressive silhouette against the skyline. I head to the far right hand barrow first, back home i'd drive a hundred miles to see a barrow like this, there's eight of them here, well seventeen or eighteen actually but......
I stand atop the western barrow and look along the line of barrows, six are in a line but the far eastern two are off line and curving the line to the south. I make my way along the line going round this one up the next and round that one. It's worth noting about now the view to the south, almost paradoxically to North Hill and it's group of nine barrows, prosaically named Priddy Nine barrows, that one must have taken a while.
Ashen Hill barrows are every bit as cool and impressive as Priddy Nine barrows, I just wanted to say that, I don't know weather it means anything to anyone but I'd heard of Priddy nine barrows but not of Ashen hill barrows, and I should have.
Having said that I gird my loins and stride of to the nine barrows.

Stony Littleton (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

Fortune favours the old.

This years winter solstice has obligingly fallen on a Sunday for me, quite a feat as any other day and I would miss it, so even though I've been at work before 5am all week, I'm happy to get up even earlier and drive the drive on my own down to Somerset, and seeing as I hit fifty last month, happy chance benefits the aging.

Even though I went too far on the M5 and ended up going the long way round Bath and Bristol, I still got to the custom made car park for Stoney Littleton before sunrise. But it was full, a motor home gleefully took up half of it and five cars took up the rest. Consternation.
I knew there would be other people here, but I expected to be able to park. So I did, in a one car space along side the road further up. Then I walked back to the car park, crossed the little foot bridge, and went up the hill.

It's been such a long time since I was last here, so long ago that I don't have any digital photos of the place, it was a winter solstice that last time too, but it was a grey day and the sun never showed up. So with a mix of blue sky and fluffy whites I was feeling pretty fortunate. As I pass the sign pointing to the mound I can see there are indeed other people here, A guy with a cowboy type looking hat stands atop the chamber, as I pass over the stile I start to hear things, a heart beat? the rhythm of the universe perhaps? I approach the entrance of the chamber, there's a woman in an oilskin coat, we nod at each other, the noise is louder now, the heart beat has quickened, the pulse of nature? No.
It is a twat with a drum, funny, there was a plonker with a drum here last time too, and he spoke like a Bristolian too, grooooan does he come here every year and take up the end of the passage, I think this is the case.

So, bereft of the best seat in the house, I walk round the structure, stand on top of the structure, then pick a spot to stand by the entrance and wait for the sun. It finally arrives at about a quarter to nine, quite late right? The chamber is on a slight hill looking up the hill, so you have to wait for the sun and when it gets here it wont be a big beautiful orange ball, but rather a bright white light, this presumably was intentional, they didn't want the faint wan light of first rising, but the strong light of a risen sun.
Just then a bloke erupted from the chamber, he looked at me, I looked at him, then I looked at the open entrance, and in I go. My chamber was the first on the right, opposite me was a woman, the mate of the bloke that just left, then she left, uncomfortable alone in the dark. Further into the passage I suspect each chamber has a body in it, the drummer takes up the back of the passage, the best seat in the house. An older man then comes past me making for the light at the end of the tunnel, so I move deeper into the chamber and take up a seat in the middle left chamber. The sun is doing it's thing, it looks phenomenal streaming along the passage and lighting up perfectly some twat with a drum, I decide upon some photos and then exit the chamber myself, am I reborn, can I see the place in a new light, hard to tell, so I go on walkabout to see the place from a different field. Up hill the walk takes me, then round and then back, not a long walk, always keeping the chambers entrance in sight, when I get back it's all empty and I'm alone with the edifice, I get into every chamber, and finally take up the best seat in the house. It's wet, dripping, they were definitely not sitting on the floor. Oddly, maybe, the bit I like best inside the passage is where it narrows to the width of a slim man, me. Purpose made.
Showing 1-50 of 10,472 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website ten years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Callanish
Balnauran of Clava
Torhouskie
Swinside
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Drombeg
Uragh
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

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