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Norfolk — Fieldnotes


I was hoping that I might be able to help Mr. Cope with his next book by suggesting a few places he could visit in Norfolk, perhaps when he plays at UEA here in May. Then the spectre of Foot and Mouth loomed, however two of these three could probably still be visited, as they aren't actually on farmland.

There is very little to actually find in Norfolk, since there is a fairly large amount of reclaimed land here and much of the rest has been heavily ploughed over the years. As such it's likely that many possible sites have now been permanently lost, only the occasional aerial photo giving us a glimpse of what might have been!

So here are a few slightly obscure sites that I have managed to locate...

(1) Arminghall Henge (Map ref. 134 - 239060)
- Just to the south of Norwich, this is likely to be closed off due to foot and mouth as it lies in an area used for pasture, but usually it can be reached via the footpath that cuts though the field - the henge is actually marked on the OS map. Its remarkable that it hasn't been totally destroyed, as it is close to the railway and an electrical sub station (a pylon actually stands on its outer edge). However it has been very nearly ploughed out... you can just make out bank and ditches from ground level. The henge is mentioned in many books (there's a nice bit about it in Mike Pitts' "Hengeworld") and was discovered from the air in 1929 by Wing Commander Insall, who also discovered Woodhenge in the same way. Carbon dating shows it to be contemporary with many dates for Avebury and Durrington Walls. There is an excellent photograph of it (and some of the other places I have mentioned) in the Norfolk Museum Services book "Norfolk from the Air Vol.1"

(2) Ditchingham Longbarrow (Map ref. 134 - 344912)
- Amazingly, this place isn't marked on the OS Map (it's just to the West of the point on the map where the footpath and bridleway cross), yet Broome Heath in Ditchingham must have been a veritable prehistoric metropolis in it's time. Not only is there this huge longbarrow, but there are a number of Bronze Age round barrows close by, and just to the south west of the barrow is a curved enclosure, which can be perceived from the ground. The barrow itself hasn't been officially excavated but the enclosure has and looks to be neolithic. There were certainly a number of flint flakes around with the tell-tale percussion marks on them.

(3) The Stockton Stone (Map ref. 134 - 386946)
- This is marked on the OS Map (it's on the bank between the road and the layby that runs around it) - Norfolk's only standing stone, and at a huge three and a half feet, quite impressive!! A curiosity...the stone itself looks remarkably similar in nature to many of the stones used in Wessex monuments...but is it genuine or not? Even so, why is it there...I haven't really been able to find this one out. Still, a standing stone in Norfolk, no matter how small, is very special.

Once the foot and mouth restrictions are lifted I am hoping to continue to locate what I can of Norfolk's few ancient sites (including an area of barrows at West Rudham - Map ref. 132 - 810253). Also of interest to others might be Warham Camp (Map ref. 132 - 945408) and Holkham Camp (Map ref. 132 - 874447), both Iron Age Hillforts which I think are on farmland - it's been a while since I went last - and the constantly surprising Holme next the Sea - former site of 'Seahenge', the replica of which is on the edge of an orchard, just north of a kink in the road at map. ref 132 - 719433, and clearly visible from the road.

Lyneham Longbarrow (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

LYNEHAM LONGBARROW - Visited 23/12/00

I have realised that my last report here was we found the Hoar Stone in 1999, not 2000 as I originally said.
On this day (20/12/99) I tried in vain (with my good friend and fellow Modern Antiquarian, Rich Simpson) to locate Lyneham Longbarrow (as usual without the OS Map) by driving around the became colder, darker and more icy so we gave up. However, a year later, armed with the right map and location we found it, helped by the large stone in front of it, which was easy to spot from the road as we drove past. A good spot to park is by the bridle path entrance a few yards along the main road to the north.
Spookily, the shutter on Rich's camera jammed open whilst taking a picture, however, despite the light that must have been flooding in, he got a perfect photo...strange

Hetty Pegler's Tump (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

HETTY PEGLER'S TUMP - Visited 26/8/00

After visiting the Longstone of Minchinhampton we continued driving around in circles in the Gloucestershire countryside until we came upon Hetty Pegler's Tump. This was a really fine barrow that you could get right inside of, provided you weren't put off by the enormous slugs that guarded the entrance, preventing the passage of the more squeamish amongst us.

The Long Man of Wilmington (Hill Figure) — Fieldnotes

(Visited 4/8/00)

After a long climb, we were above the man himself, but couldn't see him anymore. We decided not to clamber down, as they are trying to prevent erosion on the hill.
However, its definitely worth continuing over the top of the hill, to explore the barrows and be rewarded for all your efforts by breathtaking views in all directions.

The Longstone of Minchinhampton (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes


My god...Minchinhampton is a bit of a maze. Once again we tried to locate this without an OS map, and the many and varied streets of the town and the common didn't make using the road map very easy at all. However, as we passed the correct field we spotted the elusive stone, stopped, turned around and jumped over the fence to view this strange object. The type of rock was like many others we had seen, but the holes and shape added a uniqueness to the stone.
We took our photo, but alas, were not rewarded with a rainbow. We shall return at night, with Mike Reid, to see if it really does RUNAROUND the field!

Rempstone Stone Circle — Fieldnotes


This is truly a magical place.
At the end of a long, wet day touring Dorset (Hambledon & Hod, The Cursus, Knowlton and Badbury), we drove through Purbeck along the B3351 from Corfe Castle to Studland. As the fog and gloom of late afternoon/early evening set in we walked through the woods, past what we took to be fallen stones from the original monument, to what was, in the opinion of myself and my companion, Pete, the best site of the day. That fact that it was sunken and broken up, made it all the more fragile and beautiful.

Eggardon Hill (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

EGGARDUN - Visited 20/4/00

We arrived at the fort with it shrouded with fog. After dicing with death along the narrow road encircling it, we parked and headed up to the top. With the fog blocking the view all around, we contented ourselves with exploring the fort itself and located a strange octagonal feature shown on aerial photographs...a henge, an enclosure...who knows..?

The Dorset Cursus — Fieldnotes


A trip to Dorset gave us loads of time to tick a few more sites off from the book...if only the weather had been better.
Along with fellow enthusiast, Pete Barrett, we took upon ourselves to locate sites as never before this cold, wet, windy Tuesday. After climbing BOTH Hambledon and Hod, our next task was to locate the Dorset Cursus. Heading down Ackling Dyke from the B3081, we tried to decide at what point we were actually 'on the cursus' as it were. We managed to get our bearings via a few barrows, then found a very useful post on the edge of the adjacent ploughed field, with a map showing the cursus and marks in the next field going off to the south, which we reckoned might be there to show its course.
Photograph taken, with a token Pete peering menacingly from the bushes (a la the book), we headed back in the rain to the car. Unfortunately we couldn't seem to locate the spot where Cope's picture was taken....does anyone know?

Maumbury Rings (Henge) — Fieldnotes


Oh...that will be it we said, as a great green mound appeared in the streets of Dorchester. Has anyone else noticed that the Cope's picture has been printed back to front in the book?

Moments later we were sitting atop the Conquer Barrow looking out to the lost Mount Pleasant henge, the dark rings in the wet soil the only visible sign of its existence.

Julliberrie's Grave (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

JULIEBERRIES GRAVE - Visited 28/12/99

This was a bit tricky to find at first. We followed Copey's directions, but alas, were foolishly without an OS Map. The trick is to head round to the right after going up the path behind the houses and through the opening out into a field where the barrow "appears" to the right.
The dog in the house immediately below the barrow was none too friendly!
Still we managed to get a shot like the book only with winter colouring instead..which was nice!

Kit's Coty (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

LITTLE KIT'S COTY - Visited 21/12/99 & 27/12/00

This is a great site, so close to where I was brought up and I never knew it was there!
After running the gauntlet by walking down the road to the Countless Stones, I crossed the weird dual carriageway (know what you mean Julian) and headed up the tree-lined path to the wonderful Kit's Coty, taking in the excellent views across Kent .
By the time I returned a year later, on a walk of the area with my girlfriend (persuaded along by the promise of a double brandy in the nearest pub), the railings around the monument had been fixed, and at the Countless Stones someone had placed white stones around the fence that enclosed the monument, with what looked like runic letters on them.....
Walking through the nearby fields we saw lots of 'historic' rubbish - pottery, tiles, oyster shells and the like, but sadly that elusive handaxe still evades me!

The Hoar Stone (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

I thought I might acquaint you all with some of, what appear to be, the least popular sites so far, since no-one has written about them, in the order I visited there's more to follow.

THE HOAR STONE - Visited 20/12/00
It took a great deal of effort, a little luck and Copey's description of it's location to find this one without an OS Map, on a cold December day , with frozen snow on the ground. Five minutes walking around in a circle amongst the trees and bushes, after parking our car in what we thought might be the spot, I (and my mate Rich) stumbled across this nine foot monster stone, just yards from where we set out (this was after we climbed what appeared to be a small water tank that we mistook for a barrow!!).
We duly congratulated ourselves and took our obligatory photograph - surely we can't be the only saddoes who try to recreate the actual shots from the book...or perhaps we are!!

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