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

Fieldnotes by thelonious

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Showing 1-20 of 196 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 20

Shieldon (Stone Circle)

05/04/2015 – After our trip down to Avebury last week, me and my feet were still not talking to each other but the sun was too nice to stay in. Sheldon stone circle is one I’ve not been to before. I’d been saving it and today felt and looked a perfect day to visit. With a lovely blue sky and warmth in the air, we made the short trip to the circle. Sometimes I get a little sad at sites when I think about the stones that have been lost and the neglected and forgotten state the circles are in, not today. Looking from the circle there are farmlands and fields as far as the eye can see, I just felt lucky that what is left is still just so wonderful. Like a little stone oasis. Maybe it was the weather or just how I felt today but the circle has a very calm and sleepy feel to it. We sat for awhile looking and not looking, from the stones to the landscape beyond. Bennachie, as ever, wonderful in the distance. When folk ask why I go to stone circles I never really know what to say. Days like today give me the answer, I now just have to find a way to put that into words. A wonderful circle and visit.

The Wrekin (Hillfort)

28/03/2015 - It must be 20 years since I was on The Wrekin. I remember it being a tough climb up and 20 years on it still felt a steep climb. I was glad to get to the top for a sit even if the wind was pretty chilly. Maybe not the best hillfort in the world but the walk through Hell Gate and Heaven Gate is good. The view from the top is fantastic. Last site we visited on our trip and as I walked back down my feet were telling me it was time to go home.

Earl's Hill and Pontesford Hill (Hillfort)

28/03/2015 - Now this is my sort of hillfort. Same way up as postman. Great way to spend an afternoon. Nice fort near the start, lovely but steep walk over Pontesford Hill then onto the open ground of Earl's Hill. Great fort, like a mini Caer Caradoc which it has a lovely view towards. Bit overcast whilst we were there but the sun did pop out now and again.

Nesscliffe Hill Camp (Hillfort)

28/03/2015 - After a visit to Old Oswestry, we were making good time so we played our hillfort bonus card and went for a quick nosey at Nesscliffe Hill Camp. I liked this one. Little bit of up, nice trees to walk through, good ramparts and a fine view. Worth a visit if you are passing.

Old Oswestry (Hillfort)

28/03/2015 - Rain started to clear as we arrived and there was a lovely rainbow over the ramparts to greet us as we walked through the west entrance and up to the top of the fort. Old Oswestry is one big place. If ramparts are your thing this is the place for you. Nice circuit of the top (clockwise), stopping occasionally to shake my head at the sheer number and size of the ramparts. It's a must see site but I've got to admit not one of my favourites.

British Camp (Hillfort)

27/03/2015 – I drove down to Cornwall a few years back and remember looking across from the M5 and thinking the Malvern Hills looked a great place to visit. Finally made the trip on our little grand tour last week.

British Camp is such a famous site, it was great to get a chance to walk the ramparts. Luckily the weather was good and the views from the hill are very good. The hillfort is amazing, one of my favourites, I think. Would love to have spent more time there but Worcestershire Beacon and St Ann’s Well Cafe were calling. Time ain't my friend sometimes.

Norton Camp (Shropshire) (Hillfort)

25/03/2015 - Starting from Craven Arms train station we did the Three Woods Walk (in reverse and with a quick bob up View Edge) to visit Norton Camp. Link to the route below. If you have the time, it's a great way to visit the hillfort and take in the surrounding area including both hills mentioned in Rhiannon's folklore post. A story about giants always makes a visit better in my eyes.

Norton Camp is well worth a visit. One side looks over the ramparts, down a very steep 100 meters or so drop down to the valley below. A great natural defence. The rest of the hillfort is protected by a double rampart and ditch and they are massive. Must have been some place back in its day. You can walk round the outside of the ramparts (did I mention they were massive?) but the interior is a private field. The hill top is covered in trees and that makes for a lovely walk through. Best of all is that the stones and rocks used to build the ramparts of Norton Camp Iron Age hillfort contain shell fossils everywhere. What was once at the bottom of the sea, ends up in a fort rampart on top of a hill millions of years later, I like that.

Caer Caradoc (Hillfort)

24/03/2015 - Starting from Church Stretton, we took the lanes then fields north east to the start of the steep climb up Caer Caradoc Hill. Took the route straight up via Three Fingers Rock with its impressive view down to the village and beyond. The ramparts cover a fair amount of the top of the hill, with each step along them offering even better views. We had lovely weather at the start and after a brew at the top made our way to have a nosey at The Lawley. Looping back over Hope Bowdler Hill, after the sunny weather up Caer Caradoc, it started to snow. I love the ever changing weather. This really is a fine hill and fort, well worth going to. Top site.

The Sanctuary (Timber Circle)

22/03/2015 – Don’t really want to write individual fieldnotes for the various sites we visited today as other people have already written such lovely things about the places round here. I thought I’d just write about the place that in a way surprised me the most. Looking beforehand at the photos, I wasn’t expecting too much. In isolation, it just looked like a few concrete blocks in a field but can any site round here really be taken in isolation?

We started our walk at Silbury Hill and then onto Swallowhead Springs, West Kennett Long Barrow, River Kennet, The Sanctuary then back along West Kennett Avenue to Avebury stone circle and finishing at Adam and Eve. As megalithic walks go, I think this is the best I’ve ever done (just don’t tell them stones up at Stenness I said that).

My head was a little dizzy with happiness by the time we reached The Sanctuary. After a quick walk round the site, we just plonked ourselves down on the grass for a drink and a sandwich. From where we were sitting, the view over the post marks to the wider landscape beyond was lovely. The weather was nice with the early Spring sun having a little warmth in it now. It was a fine place to stop and rest and take in all we had seen in the morning before heading back to Avebury.

Windmill Hill (Causewayed Enclosure)

21/03/2015 – Early morning start from Aberdeen. After travelling by taxi, plane, coach, bus and Shanks's pony we made it to Windmill Hill. We had decided to make the trip south to see Avebury a few months back and the excitement of finally being here was a little overwhelming. After reading the many fieldnotes on TMA about the various sites around Avebury I knew I wanted to see the landscape for the first time by walking over Windmill Hill. We got off the 49 (great bus) at Winterbourne and made our way west then south to make the short climb to the top of Windmill Hill. The top has a lot of interest but my eyes went straight to Silbury Hill . Familiar from photos, but seeing it for the first time was something quite special. We stood for ages just trying to take it all in. Just such a lovely landscape and the weather was kind to us. Finally we made our way round the top looking at the enclosure and many barrows. What a great site, location and view! Heading south we made our way down to enter Avebury stone circle for our first time. A wonderful day.

Corstorphine Hill (Cup Marked Stone)

21/02/2015 - Nice walk from Haymarket station on Saturday to Corstorphine Hill. We took the track off Corstorphine Road just east of the Zoo. Not every day you pass a field of Zebras on the way to look at some cup marked rocks. It's a fine hill.

Clickimin Broch

27/09/2014 - Last site we visited on a brilliant week in Shetland. Interesting site in the middle of Lerwick. Couldn't find the carved footprints mentioned on the info board. If you visit, it's also worth popping into the Shetland museum nearby - lovely place, full of old stuff nicely presented.

Sumburgh Head (Promontory Fort)

23/09/2014 - A coastal path leads from Jarlshof to Sumburgh Head. Site of an Iron Age fort. Nice Stevenson Lighthouse sits on the possible site of a now long gone broch. Worth a visit just for the view.

Jarlshof (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

23/09/2014 - After a lovely morning on St Ninian's Isle we made our way south to Jarlshof. I hadn't been that excited about it beforehand but within a few minutes of being there Jarlshof soon worked a little magic on us. The site has so much history it's hard to get your head round whilst there. The timeline is amazing of all the buildings for such a relatively small site. The audio guide is great and very helpful. Being allowed to enter the buildings and walk round was a big bonus. If anything on Shetland is a must visit, for me this is it. I was so excited by the end I flipped into proper tourist mode and bought a Jarlshof tea towel in the gift shop on the way out.

Beorgs of Housetter Cairn (Chambered Cairn)

22/09/2014 - After visiting Trowie Knowe Chambered Cairn and Beorgs of Housetter Standing Stones we decided to have a go at finding this chambered cairn. Not the easiest site to get to. Grid ref on Canmore (HU 3603 8544) is pretty spot on. The cairn is situated near the top of a rocky slope, on about the 100m contour line (70 meters above the cairn and stones below). Stick to the grassy bits as you climb, left of the cairn as you look up and it's not too bad. This small heel shaped cairn is lovely. Made up of pink granite with a great facade and chamber. We sat by the cairn for ages just gazing out at the grand view. Worth the effort and one of the highlights of our trip.

Burraland Broch

21/09/2014 - Still a little excited by the boat trip to Mousa we decided to have a walk along the coast SE from Sandsayre pier to Burraland broch. Easy walking along a track for about one and a half miles. The views out to sea and of course Mousa are very good. Nice walk if you like sea birds. Diving gannets and nosey bonxies seem to fill the air above the Mousa Sound. The broch has a great position at the end of a little headland. Still a decent amount of wall left but a lot of stone has collapsed into the middle. A nice walk to a nice broch, there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.

Mousa Broch

21/09/2014 - Sunday afternoon boat trip to Mousa. The boat left Sandsayre pier (small visitor centre and toilets) for the short and luckily calm crossing to Mousa. You get about two and a half hours on the island which is plenty as there is a nice signposted walk of about one hour, leaving plenty of time to explore the broch. We walked clockwise so got to the broch towards the end of the loop. I liked this as I had a better idea of the time left before the boat back to the Mainland. After seeing so many brochs in ruined states, seeing Mousa broch up close in all it's glory is quite something. A bit like a ancient cooling tower to be honest from the back. Looking up from inside and climbing the steps to the top was great. I liked the stones used, a million different colours and shades.

Knowe of Wilga (Chambered Cairn)

21/09/2014 - Waiting for the afternoon boat to Mousa we had a few hours spare so a quick look on the OS map showed this chambered cairn which looked promising as it was close by and even if there was not much there the view out to sea should be good. Parking in the layby at the turn off from the main road to Sandwick, we took the track heading up the hill, south of the cairn. Once enough height was gained we had a short stroll over to the cairn. It's worth approaching the site from the slopes above via the White Stane (large quartz boulder) as the first view we got of the chambered cairn with the sea behind was breathtaking. It sits on top of a small knoll, looking out east to a vast sea and sky. The cairn is in a ruined state but still plenty of stones to look at where the chamber is. On the south side there looks to be a curved path/wall leading up to the cairn on top. Very interesting place and the views to Mousa and along the coast of Mainland Shetland are fantastic. Top site.

Islesburgh (Chambered Cairn)

22/09/2014 - When I saw Ravenfeather's photos and read the fieldnotes a few months back, I knew if I got a chance to go to Shetland this was one of the sites I would love to visit. This small and perfect heel shaped chambered chain is just lovely. As good as I had hoped and should be a must visit for anyone going to Shetland. I wish the sun had shone but it was still great just to be there. Top site and a very happy thelonious that day.

Stanydale Temple (Stone Circle)

24/09/2014 - Visited after Scord of Brouster at the end of a long day out. The sun had done a runner and I was tired, so was not much in the mood to look around. The Neolithic house soon cheered me up a little, great bonus on the way to Stanydale Temple. I liked the windbreak on the front of the house. Then just a short walk on to Stanydale Temple. The building is impressive. I think I liked the outside walls more then inside the 'temple'. The concave facade is fantastic and reminded me of a few of the chambered cairns I have seen this week. Great site with lots to see. I need to go back when it's sunny and I'm more awake.
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