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Miscellaneous Posts by pure joy

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Showing 1-20 of 201 miscellaneous posts. Most recent first | Next 20

Cholwich Town (destroyed) (Stone Row / Alignment)

Whilst staying in a scout hut on the edge of Dartmoor (for a National Trust working holiday on the moor) I spotted a big map on the wall. After getting my bearings I noticed a substantial stone row and cairn circle that must now be swallowed up by the expanding China Clay works.

It ran just to the east of a track that ran from Tolchmoor Gate into the workings at Cholwich Town. The stone row ran from SX584621 to 585623, ending at a cairn circle, which would have made it about 250 metres long.

The Queen Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

I didn't actually visit the stone today, but did see it from a distance as it is visible from all the minor roads around (the best view is from Old Forge on the other side of the River Wye).

From a distance this stone looks like a thick beast with a rutted head. When I later saw pictures of it (see link below) this was dramatically confirmed.

Coney's Castle (Hillfort)

The National Trust booklet 'The Cerne Giant & Dorset Hill-Forts' (2000) which is definately available at the Kingston Lacy house and might be available at other Dorset properties, gives the following directions to the hill fort at Coney's Castle, "From the track leading to Lambert's Castle continue on along the B3165 for 300m. Turn left to Fishpond's Bottom. At Fishpond's take the third turning to Wootton Fitzpaine. This road passes through the centre of Coney's Castle. You will see the car park on the left just before the road enters the hill-fort".

It adds that the name 'Coney's Castle' means a fortified place frequented by rabbits and that the earliest documented reference to the place name dates from 1322.

Note - the car park is at about SY371977.

Lambert's Castle (Hillfort)

The National Trust booklet 'The Cerne Giant & Dorset Hill-Forts' (2000) which is definately available at the Kingston Lacy house and might be available at other Dorset properties, gives the following directions to the hill fort at Lambert's Castle, "from Pilsdon continue along the B3164 for 2 km and turn left onto the B3165. Drive a further 3km, the track to Lambert's Castle is on the left".

It adds that the name 'Lambert's Castle' comes from the Anglo-Saxon personal name of 'Lambert' and that the earliest documented reference to the place name dates from 1044.

Note - the car park is at about SY366988.

Eggardon Hill (Hillfort)

The National Trust booklet 'The Cerne Giant & Dorset Hill-Forts' (2000) which is definately available at the Kingston Lacy house and might be available at other Dorset properties, gives the following directions to the hill fort at Eggardon Hill, "From Dorchester take the main road west (A35) towards Bridport......At first the Bridport road follows the Roman road and is characteristically straight. After 5km the main road leaves the old route and drops down into the village of Winterbourne Abbas. The Roman road still exists as a minor road cutting across the downland towards the ancient landmark of Eggardon. Take this quiet road. After 5km the ramparts of the hill-fort are visible at a crossroads. Turn left here towards Askerwell and drive for 200m. Park in the lay-by on the left. Cross the road and take the footpath towards the southern ramparts".

It adds that the name 'Eggardon' is an Old English place name, the hill or down belonging to a man called Eohhere. The earliest documented reference to the place name dates from the Domesday Book in 1086.

Pilsdon Pen (Hillfort)

The National Trust booklet 'The Cerne Giant & Dorset Hill-Forts' (2000) which is definately available at the Kingston Lacy house and might be available at other Dorset properties, gives the following directions to the hill fort at Pilsdon Pen, "Take the B3164 west out of Broadwindsor. This winding road skirts the northern edge of the Marshwood Vale. After 4km you will see the ramparts and ditches of Pilsdon Pen hill-fort come into view at the southern end of a high flat topped ridge. Park in the lay-by just after the turning to the hamlets of Pilsdon and Bettiscombe. Cross the road and walk up the steep slope".

It adds that the name 'Pilsdon' is Old English for a hill with a peak. The earliest documented reference to the place name dates from the Domesday Book in 1086.

Hod Hill (Hillfort)

The National Trust booklet 'The Cerne Giant & Dorset Hill-Forts (2000) which is definately available at the Kingston Lacy house and might be available at other Dorset properties, gives the following directions to the hill fort at Hod Hill, "From Blandford Forum take the Lower Shaftesbury Road (A350) and beyond Stourpaine village turn left to Child Okeford. The Hod Hill car park is about 1km along this road on the left. The footpath from the car park follows a steep incline first through woodland and then along the edge of a field to the north-west corner of the hill-fort".

It adds that the name 'Hod Hill' is Old English for hood or shelter and that 'hill' was added to Hod in the 18th Century. The earliest documented reference to the place name dates from 1270.

The Widow's Tenement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Although mainly known as a medieval settlement, this diamond-shaped enclosure actually also contains several Bronze Age and Iron Age features. The link below tells you more. Several large terraced field headlands, known as lynchets, are generally attributed to the Iron Age. A hut circle settlement also exists, which is similar to Bronze Age settlements elsewhere on Lundy. There are also five cairns scattered within the enclosure of which at least two are Bronze Age burial cairns. This is at least 3,000 years of history all in one enclosure!

Threequarter Wall Cairn (Kerbed Cairn)

This is considered to be one of the more important cairns on the island as it is larger and more elaborately constructed than the others (it's a kerbed cairn)

John O'Groats Cairn (Cairn(s))

Interestingly this is not mentioned on the MAGIC site and not given a schedule by English Heritage, but it is mentioned in the handy National Trust leaflet 'The Archaeology of Lundy' which writes "John O'Groats is a ruined post-medieval building on top of a prehistoric burial mound or cairn. The building may have been a link to the lookout posts further down the steep cliffs. The cairn is one of a number situated on high points across the island."

Seven Sisters (Round Barrow(s))

Whilst I was at Clifton Suspension Bridge in late Dec I saw an interesting topic on the information board for the Downs. Info on the 'Seven Sisters' said "A circle of pine trees, five of which are original, having been planted about 1871. The two added in 1991 replaced losses from the 1990 storms. They stand on a slight mound situated on a high point on Durdham Downs, a location thought to have been a Bronze Age round barrow dating from some 3-4,000 years ago"

Nothing shown on OS map. Nothing mentioned on the 'Magic' web site.

Little Solsbury Hill (Hillfort)

The National Trust info board says "The National Trust owns only the top of this hill which was a walled village of the Early Iron Age from about 300BC to 100BC. At first the area near the edge of the hilltop was cleared to a rock base on which substantial timber framed and wattle huts were built. A 20' wide rampart was then made faced inside and outside with well built dry stone walls and infilled with loose stones. The outer face was at least 12' high. After a period of occupation some of the huts were burnt down and the rampart was overthrown. The site was abandoned and never occupied again".

P.S. - The slopes of the hill (Little Solsbury Common) are administered by the Batheaston Freeholders Association.

Mount Scylla Settlement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

This is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is now recognised as the rampart of an Iron Age defended settlement, rather than a cross-ridge dyke as it was previously thought to be (and recorded as on the OS map). The 'Magic' website confirms that it was included in the schedule in 1970 as 'Wiltshire 847' and is now scheduled in the national monument register as '34190', and is described as "Rampart of an Iron Age defended settlement 410m south west of Mount Scylla Farm".

A two page report (PDF document) on the settlement is available via the 'Magic' website, at http://www.magic.gov.uk/rsm/34190.pdf

Iron Age defended settlements are actually very rare, and this is said to represent a well-preserved example. The site was mentioned by antiquarian John Aubrey who described it as a "rampard with graffe (ditch) eastwards, but no camp". It runs from ST83177445 to ST83257435 and on to ST83237423.

Bury Wood Camp (Hillfort)

This is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The 'Magic' website confirms that it was included in the schedule in 1925 as 'Wiltshire 130' and is now scheduled in the national monument register as '28993', and is described as "Bury Wood Camp hillfort and earthwork enclosure 750m north of Raffinwood House".

A two page report (PDF document) on the fort and enclosure is available via the 'Magic' website, at http://www.magic.gov.uk/rsm/28993.pdf

Large multivallate hillforts such as this are relatively rare in England, with around 50 examples recorded.

Nempnett Thrubwell (Long Barrow)

I still haven't been to the site, but it should still be pretty impressive. A two page report (PDF document) on the barrow is available via the 'Magic' website, at http://www.magic.gov.uk/rsm/22826.pdf

The report suggests that apart from the chamber, the rest is still there - a mound 60m long, 25m wide and 2.5m high, retained by a dry stone wall. It says that "despite disturbance of the site, the Fair Toot long barrow survives comparatively well".

It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, on the national monument register as '22826', and is described as "The Fairy Toot long barrow 350m SSW of Howgrove Farm".

The full 8 figure grid ref is ST52056179.

Colerne Park (Round Barrow(s))

I had read in 'The History of Colerne' (1975 - no author) of "three circular mounds, one large, with a surrounding ditch in Colerne Park". Colerne Park Nature Reserve is actually about 2 kms north east of Colerne village, and the barrows are near the lane that separates Colerne Park and Coombs Wood.

These definitely are Bronze Age barrows and are Scheduled Ancient Monuments. The 'Magic' website confirms that they were confirmed in the schedule in 1981 as 'Wiltshire 835' and are now scheduled in the national monument register as '12316', and are described as "Three bowl barrows in Colerne park, 450m north of Keeper's Cottage".

A one page report (PDF document) on the barrows is available via the 'Magic' website, at http://www.magic.gov.uk/rsm/12316.pdf

Griffin's Point (Cliff Fort)

Mentioned by Craig Weatherhill, in "Cornovia: Ancient Sites of Cornwall & Scilly" (Cornwall Books - 1985, revised 1997 & 2000) - "The entrance of this Iron Age cliff castle is on the higher, southern side of the headland; three ramparts descend the steep, north-facing slope. The two lower ones are little more than scarped terraces; the inner bank is much stronger, reaching 2.5m in height. Inside the fort are three cicular depressions which may represent hut circles."

On the coastal footpath.

Castle Gotha Settlement (Enclosure)

Mentioned by Craig Weatherhill, in "Cornovia: Ancient Sites of Cornwall & Scilly" (Cornwall Books - 1985, revised 1997 & 2000) - "Only traces remain of most of the single rampart and ditch of this small oval earthwork, although there is a stretch of bank 1.8m high on the south side. The enclosure originally measured 109m from north to south, by 97m; the entrance faced north-east. Excavations showed that it was constructed during the second century BC, with occupation continuing in to the second century AD. Huddled against the inside of the rampart were the sites of timber huts which were shown to have been occupied by metalworkers. Pits, hearths and a stone mould for casting penannular brooches were found; so to was an ingot mould embedded in the floor of a hut."

Black Head (Cliff Fort)

Mentioned by Craig Weatherhill, in "Cornovia: Ancient Sites of Cornwall & Scilly" (Cornwall Books - 1985, revised 1997 & 2000) - "This headland has three lines of defence across its neck. The outer rampart is slight, and its ditch virtually untraceable. The central bank is set back from it; it is 5.2m high and fronted by a ditch 2.1m deep. The innermost rampart is of similar height. None of these Iron Age defences is so well preserved on the south side of the headland."

Just off the coastal footpath, on National Trust openland

Helman Tor Enclosure

A Tor Enclosure to be exact. Mentioned by Craig Weatherhill, in "Cornovia: Ancient Sites of Cornwall & Scilly" (Cornwall Books - 1985, revised 1997 & 2000) - "On the slopes of Helman Tor are the remains of a field system including at least one round house. The summit of the hill is enclosed by the battered remnants of an earth and stone wall linking the natural outcrops of rock. This enclosure is long and thin, measuring 170m from north to south, by 60m. It is similar in size and construction to the Neolithic village enclosure on Carn Brea. The site has been dated to the 4th millennium BC."
Showing 1-20 of 201 miscellaneous posts. Most recent first | Next 20
My real name is Martin, but there is already a Martin vigorously posting on this fantastic web site so I decided to use 'Pure Joy'; which was the title of the Teardrop Explodes and Julian Cope fanzine that I set up in 1988 and ran until 1991/2. Strangely my interest in ancient sites pre-dates the knowledge that Julian was also into them. However Julian's book has certainly led me to visit more, and plan holidays and pit-stops around places to visit! Studying History (and International Relations) at Uni and coming from the West Country led to a healthy fascination with ancient sites and the countryside.

I was born in 1970 in Colerne, a historic village between Bath and Chippenham (mentioned in the Domesday Book) and have spent time in Bath, Reading, Manchester, West Africa, and Ethiopia. I'm currently living near London, but itching to live in the countryside, preferably Cornwall, or Africa. Reality check! little money and inertia creep.

Most of my working life has been in the voluntary sector, usually by supporting voluntary and community groups with advice and information. I enjoy doing quite a bit of voluntary work with our Credit Union, and as an elected Council member of the National Trust.

I'm no photography expert but I like to take photos (nearly always black and white) of places I visit. Some of the earlier ones looked good but it was only with a £25 point and shoot camera that was amazing unreliable. I've now got an old Pentax SLR, but at the moment I refuse to use filters and special effects. You get what you see.

Up side of ancient site = the sense of history, the countryside, the walk, the sense of adventure, the tranquillity, and the weird things that sometimes happen.

Downside = the loneliness, territorial cows, and the cravings to get back to the countryside

My TMA Content: