Samuel Palmer to the Ruralists..
An exhibition that has opened at the Victoria Gallery, Bath.
Paul Nash's Eclipse of the Sunflower is there, also Druid Landscape, Megalithic Landscape and work by Graham Sutherland, and The Ruralists of course who lived in Wiltshire, Inshaw painted Silbury and the Owl... continues...
Located to the east of the village of Timsbury on the B3115.
Immediately behind Tunley Farm.
Although my O/S showed a public right of way next to the farm from the B3115, in reality it doesn’t exist. In fact all you are confronted with is a stone wall.
Instead we drove up the minor road next to the farm and parked next to the public footpath sign a little way north of the farm. The problem this time was that I was confronted by a field full of head high corn. Not wishing to cause any damage I decided not to go this way. I walked back down the lane to see if there was any other point of access but there is only a large private farm/building yard.
I would imagine the best bet would be to ask permission at the farm as a ‘sneak visit’ appears to be out of the question.
Driving back down the B3115 I looked up to see (what I guess) is the southern side of the Hillfort covered in trees on the brow of the hill
On Thursday night Dafydd’s older sister returned home from a holiday in Spain. Giving out the presents she had bought she presented Dafydd with a box. Inside was a head light. Now I guess this wouldn’t appeal to most 5 year olds but Dafydd thought it was a great gift.
‘You can use it when you are going in those tunnels with your dad’ Danielle stated.
‘They are not tunnels; they are burial chambers’ Dafydd helpfully replied.
So, come Saturday, where to go so he can try out his new light? Looking at the map I decided it was time a re-visit to Stoney Littleton was in order.
This time we approached via the car park, across the bridge, and up the hill. The adjacent farm now sells ice creams from a little wooden hut which pleased the children immensely. The last time I visited Stoney Littleton was from the lane to the north – the muddiest walk I have ever done, before or after. The walk from the car park was a much more pleasant experience.
We arrived at the Long Barrow and another family were already there. They had clearly already been inside and were chatting outside the entrance. They also had a young boy about Dafydd’s age who was very chatty.
Myself, Dafydd and Sophie headed into the tomb with Dafydd taking the lead with his new light. I had almost forgotten just how wonderful this site is. I headed for the end of the passageway and sat quietly whilst Dafydd and Sophie explored the side chambers.
At this point the young lad came into the passageway with his head light and started chatting to Dafydd (they were comparing notes on their head lights). Dafydd then proceeded to give the boy an explain to the boy what the side chambers were for and where the bones were put. He also suggested that if they kept quiet and shone their lights into the gaps between the stones they may see fairies. I have no idea where he got this notion from but it kept the two of them busy for a short while.
We eventually emerged from the tomb and headed back down the hillside. The other family joined us the children raced each other through the fields and towards the ice cream hut.
All in all a very good visit to what is without doubt an excellent site.
If you have never had the pleasure of Stoney Littleton do yourself a favour and get here as soon as you can. You won’t be disappointed.
Ravenfeather's previous notes describe a visit better than I can.
Following the fine directions given by previous contributors, and the particularly useful link provided by Rhiannon, I managed to find this place no problem, and worked it into a visit on a round trip from Glastonbury taking in both Stoney Littleton and the Faulkland standing stones first.
As suggested parking at The Bell Inn (right next to the A361 Frome Road at the village of Rode) is by far the best plan, and the public footpath is easily accessible just across the road. Once over the first stile and into the fields proper you soon see the copses of trees on the rise ahead, to which you have to aim. The fields up to the copses were currently fallow, but clear paths around their edges allowed me not to get my feet too muddy. Gates were all open and access was easy, with only the occassional distant report of a shotgun giving me a vague sense of unease lest I become unwitting cannon fodder for a trigger happy farmer.
As I head across the fields I disturb a pair of deer grazing at the newly emerging shoots, and we both freeze, staring wide eyed at each other for a moment, before they turn and flee from this noisy interloper.
Soon I'm at the barrow, huddled amongst the trees, the outline of the monument clearly visible since most of the vegetation has either died back in the harsh winter, or else been cropped by the fiendly neighbourhood deer. As I take in the whole of the monument it almost looks like a cutaway diagram of a barrow, the footings of the mound still clearly visible, the entrance portal stones standing proud, and a thick stone defining the end of the barrow (presumably the Devil likes to prop his feet up when in bed).
I crouch down to take a closer look at the portal stones, getting a few nettle stings in the process, but noticing what could possibly be three cupmarks on the interior facing of the stone. Once again I curse the fact that I've left the camera at home, and so am forced to take photo's with the phone (which singularly fails to provide a decent picture of the cupmarks), oh well just an excuse to return I guess.
As I sit quietly here a buzzard swoops in low and lands in the tree next to me, and I'll echo Rhiannon's thoughts, it is lovely here, and the sort of place you could spend hours. It seems as if few people visit, there was certainly no evidence of any rubbish or offerings at the site, and it feels like this is the Severn-Cotswold barrows best kept secret. Often it is some of these lesser known places that retain a more tangible atmosphere.
I notice that the village church seems to be in a direct line with the barrow, which along with attributing the stones to the Devil, is one of those terribly insecure Christian gestures, to defame any other alternative beliefs. Well if the devil has all the best tunes, then he also seems to have the best places, as I'd much rather be here in this magical place than in the cold dour surroundings of the local church. With that thought I head back to The Bell, to finish off a site visit in the best possible way, with a nice pint.