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

Fieldnotes by formicaant

Latest Posts
Showing 1-20 of 252 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 20

Owermoigne Down (Round Barrow(s))

Finally got back to revisit these barrow, nearly 4 years later and what a pleasant surprise, the barrows are in much better nick. Full marks to what I assume is the farmer on whose fields these are for clearing all the rubbish and scrub from them. From just across the narrow road which leads to them can be seen the Lord's Barrow on the ridge to the east.

Binissafullet (Taula)

This is very much a damaged and restored site, as the information board says much of it was used to build the road nearby. Looking at the base of the Taula it would appear to have been repaired with cement.
The Talaoit is damaged and fairly insubstantial, but not as knocked about as the houses would appear to be. All in this is well worth a visit for its peacefulness alone, when we went there we saw no-one else.

Tolpuddle Ball (Round Barrow(s))

Two bowl barrows in dense undergrowth on private land to north east of the village of Tolpuddle. They don't appear on MAGIC and don't appear to be scheduled, they are listed as monument no. 456168 on Pastscape and Grinsell visited them and listed them in Dorset Barrows.
I've not seen them as they aren't visible from either the A35 or the lesser road that goes to the village. Grinsell had them as being 37 feet in diameter and 4 feet in height and 54 by 5 1/2 respectively. The smaller one has damage from a military slit slit trench, presumably 2nd WW as this is a very strategic position above what used to be a main road (now bypassed).
Very close to these barrows an Iron age and Romano-British settlement was excavated during the building of the Puddletown / Tolpuddle bypass.

Warren Heath (Round Barrow(s))

A small, low bowl barrow on Warren Heath, which is on the edge of the Higher Hyde nature reserve. Not the best photo but I had my brother with me and he wanted to see nature stuff - lizards and such so I didn't get a chance to walk to it.

Boswell's Plantation (Round Barrow(s))

This is a single round barrow south of the group in Puddletown Forest which in cludes the Rain barrows. It is situated on farmland, north of Boswell's Plantation, just off the heathland which used to stretch all the way to the New Forest. Just off a farm track, it is on private land and can be seen from the road and from the large round barrow south of the Rainbarrows. It appears to be in fair condition and of medium size.
A closer look at the barrow reveals quite serious damage where it appears that the farm track seems to have run over the top of it. The track now appears to skirt the western base of it.

King Down (Round Barrow(s))

These are a nice pair of possible bell barrows and are well protected from farm vehicles with short wooden posts surrounding them. They are both roughly 20 yards across by 6 feet in height and the southern of the pair shows obvious signs of having been excavated. They are sited on a slight rise from which the nearby Bradford Barrow can just be seen in the distance.
Grinsell lists these as Pamphill 1,2,3,4 and 4a - 3,4,and 4a are no longer visible - he couldn't find 4a and 3 and 4 were only a foot in height. These have probably fallen victim to the plough in the 50 or so years since Grinsell saw them.
These are close to Badbury Rings hillfort and there are well marked bridle ways to and from the barrows and the rings.

Bradford Barrow (Round Barrow(s))

This is a very large bowl barrow, it is 41 yards in diameter and 20 feet in height, indeed there are telegraph poles close to it and they are roughly the same height. It sits on a ridge to the north of King Down and from it can be seen a pair of barrows on that down. Grinsell says it had a ditch, but I could not get close enough to see it.
Large as this is it is not easy to photograph as it is surrounded by hedges and small trees.
This is easy to get to and the footpaths are pretty flat. I parked near the entrance to Kingston Lacy house and followed the well marked footpaths.

Hog Cliff Hill (Round Barrow(s))

This is a low bowl barrow adjacent to the A37 Dorchester to Yeovil road. The barrow itself not substantial - Grinsell gives its dimensions as 20 yards in diameter and 2 1/2 feet high, as measured by the RCHM in the 1950's. It does not look to have changed much since then. He also describes it as a Cairn or stone heap, which is reasonably unusual in this part of the world.
The monument is as Rhiannon says on the reverse slope of an escarpment overlooking the small town of Maiden Newton, south in the valley below, the barrow faces north.
Whilst the barrow itself is fairly bog standard and possibly quite uninteresting, the area in which it stands is of national significance. The barrow is on private farmland, but the 80 odd acres surrounding it are within the Hog Cliff Hill National Nature Reserve (NNR). This is an area of proven antiquity as it has been extensively investgated in the past.
Excavated in 1959 by Phillip Rahtz (Ellison and Rahtz 1987) it was shown be late Bronze Age in origin, rather than Iron Age and is an early example of a permanent nucleated settlment. It comprised 3 round houses surrounded by a bank and ditch which enclosed an area of 13+ acres.
Its use carried on into the Iron Age and probably beyond and some of the earthworks of the field boundaries can still be seen in the NNR.
This is a rare survival or rarely looked at type of site and I think the date of the dig is of some significance - these sites don't last long with modern deep ploughing techniques - and the low banks and post holes etc. are soon scoured away.
I have recently seen aerial photos of the neolithic complex at Hambledon hill, the first photo from 1924 shows extant banks ,ditches and pits etc, whilst a later shot from 1968 shows little more than crop marks, a site of early human activity destroyed by agriculture.

Torre d'en Gaumes

I visited this site on 16/09/2010, it was the only site I managed to get to on what was a family holiday after having just moved house. What a site this is, I was unprepared for both its size and complexity. I went at about three in the afternoon and only saw two other people, and as the hut was closed I couldn't pay to get in!
It would appear that since Postman and Jane visited the site, that two of the Taulas have had their capstones restored to them.

Kingston Russell Barrow (Round Barrow(s))

A single round barrow several hundred yards west of Kinston Russell stone circle. It is aligned with the round barrow on Abbotsbury castle which is to the south.

Lyscombe Hill (Dyke)

This is one of a series of 7 cross ridge dykes which straddle the crests of the surrounding hills. It is situated south of the nearby promontory hillfort at Nettlecombe Tout and is west of the Dorsetshire Gap. The pictures were taken from the tiny hamlet of Folly in the valley below.

Windsbatch (Dyke)

A cross ridge dyke on Windsbatch hill, just south of the South Dorset Ridgeway. This ditch and bank can be seen from the Gould's Hill and Ridge Hill barrows which are to the north of it. It can be accessed via the Jubilee trail and is close to the village of Upwey.

Winterbourne Steepleton Cromlech (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

I have long meant to see if this site is visible. It can be seen from the minor road which runs between Winterbourne Abbas and Portesham, I parked in a small layby on the west side of the road. The verge by the road had just been mowed and I walked along this, although this is a minor road it is very busy. The stones can be seen to the north, behind a water trough. They are quite small and I needed a long lens to get a photo of them.
This site is comparable to West Compton Down or Two Gates, which is several miles to the north near Eggardon Hill.

Long Barrow Lane

As Dickie says this barrow has been very seriously damaged in the past. Happily the current land owner seems to value it, as they have taken the time, effort and expense to fence it off. This is a very peaceful place to be, I had it completely to myself, and saw a young fox playing in the lane which leads to it.
From the barrow, to the south west Bokerley Dyke can be seen clearly, with its barrows and the parts of Grim's Ditch associated with it.
I parked in a small layby a couple of hundred yards into the village and walked up the road into Long Barrow lane, it's a flat walk and I spent about half an hour at the barrow. Worth a visit if you get the chance.

Charlton Down Ditch (Dyke)

This is a surprisingly large structure on the Wiltshire / Dorset border. It's 365metres long with a 40 metre gap where the modern road cuts through it.
This is part of a group of cross ridge dykes which straddle the Dorset / Wiltshire border, thought to be iron age in date their purpose is uncertain. They appear to mark the extent of an area of land, but do not appear to be for defensive use as they are not long enough and only extend across the tops of hills.

Vernditch Chase North (Long Barrow)

At last I've managed to find this elusive long barrow, after about the 5th attempt. It is in dense beech woods north of the other long barrow nearby. This barrow is generally listed as Vernditch Case long barrow, the other is usually listed as "long barrow south west of Vernditch Chase", but what's in a name?
The barrow itself is quite slight and difficult to see, I'm happy that this is it, as it is in the right place. However there are various bits of Grim's Ditch in this area and I have seen photo's that purport to be the barrow which look more like the ditch, i.e. much too long and thin. This is one for completists (like me, I suppose) as it is small and has probably been ploughed in the past.

Limekiln Hill (Round Barrow(s))

A pair of round barrows on the ridge of Limekiln Hill. The barrows are bowl type and are either side of the B3157 coast road. The northern one is the larger of the two and has some damage done to it by animals. I could not get to the southern barrow as it was surrounded by young bullocks and I bottled out, having been chased in the past.
These mounds are part of a scatter of barrows along this part of the coast, to the east are Tulks Hill and Puncknowle to the west. Five hundred metres to the south is the wonderfully named Labour-in-Vain farm.

West Godlingston Heath (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

A barrow cemetery comprising five bowl and one bell barrow on the west of Godlingston Heath. This is a curious cemetery, the like of which I've not seen before locally, it is in the shape of a crescent. The arc is roughly a 1/4 of a circle and looks like a small arena. The barrows overlook the north part of the heath and Poole harbour from the top of an inland cliff. The five bowl barrows make up the arc shape with the bell barrow just behind, almost touching them.
The barrows are covered in low heather at the moment and get larger and higher as they go from the first barrow - north west to the sixth barrow south east. The only barrow that is visible from the south is the bell barrow, from which can be see two of the barrows on Nine Barrow Down, to the south, I'm pretty sure the long barrow is one of them.
These barrows are not on the main part of the heath with the marked footpaths but the whole area is open access land and there was a path that could be followed. These are not marked in any way on the relevant O.S. maps and I only found out they existed while looking at something else on MAGIC, where they are marked and described.
On the way back, about 20 yards from the barrows I was lucky enough to find a piece of Bronze Age pottery laying next to the track. It looks like the local black burnished ware and is part of a rim.
All in all they are an unusual group in the context of Dorset barrows and are well worth a visit - look them up first on MAGIC and they are quite easy to find, if not this is a large heath with lots of lumps and bumps on it which aren't ancient.

Shipton Hill (Hillfort)

I finally decided to see what's at the top the hill. It looks impossibly steep to climb and it is from most directions. However if you park on the western side just above Hammiton farm only the last 20 yards or so are steep.
The views from the hill are panoramic. I could see at least four hillforts from the top, namely Eggardon to the north east, Chilcombe to the east, Abbotsbury castle to the south east and Pilsdon Pen to the north west.
Also to the south west is Golden Cap, Colmer's Hill and Hardown Hill are to the west and I think I could see both Lambert's Castle and Coneys Castle to the north west as well.
I'm not sure this is a hillfort in the sense of there being any defensive banks or ditches, of which I could see no evidence. Having said that I'm not sure these would be neccesary as this would be an ideal refuge without any obvious banks etc. It is easy to see any approach to the hill from any direction.
There are some curious looking banks and ditches below the main hill which could wel have been the site of a settlement.
Grinsell thought there was a low barrow on the hill, the only place I could see that could be a barrow is the site of an O.S. trig point. It is indistinct and would have been disturbed by the building of the trig point anyway. I suspect also that the site was used during WW2 as an observation post, there was some brick work up there and what looked like a small chimney stack in the field below the hill.

Hammiton Hill (Round Barrow(s))

The barrow is on the north west side of Hammiton Hill which is to the south of Shipton Hill. It is about 25 metres across and 1 3/4 metres in height. It's in good condition and is not part of an extended group or cemetery.
Showing 1-20 of 252 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 20
Always been interested in old stuff and making sure it stays in good nick.
I grew up within a hundred yards or so of Pounbury hillfort and within a mile of Maiden castle and have long wondered about the peoples who built these and the many other sites which proliferate in Dorset. My special interest is in the many barrows of all kinds in the area.
Have recently moved near to Weymouth and am lucky enough to be able to see barrows, a cross ridge dyke and an ancient trackway from my back garden.

My TMA Content: