Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stoney Littleton Longbarrow

Demoiselles and frogbite (only one in the photo)

Orchids and ox eye daisies

thyme and ox eye daisies

lady's bedstraw

As I prepare to leave this part of the world, it would perhaps be useful to record one of my favourite longbarrows. Stoney Littleton is a small jewel set in the Somerset landscape, if you were to read the field notes on The Modern Antiquarian you would find the same sort of joy at finding something so unexpected. The last time I visited was with the person I shall be with from now on and I'll expect we shall come back and visit it again some day.
One of the good things about visiting the same place, is that you get to see the flora over a period of time, ox eyed daisies, thyme, orchids, ladies bedstraw, ragwort, etc adorn this barrow at different times of the year. The little Bybrook stream that meanders at the bottom of the hill, is clear and shallow and I have seen the beautiful metallic blues of demoiselles flying above its surface with the small white flower of frogsbite in the water below, tresses of green swirling plants gently moving in the current. Other times I have seen the pink hooded flower of balsam gracing the sides of the stream.
As you come down this tiny lane and park in the small carpark opposite the cottage, stand awhile on the little wooden bridge and take in 'old England', walk up the steep hill, past the sheep if they are there, over the stile into the small plot of land that surrounds the barrow, and do please note the stoniness of the field you have walked through, it is quite extraordinary.
Coming to the barrow, this is a time for contemplation and peace, prehistory gave birth to this place, and as you sit by the entrance look up to the ridge above, the barrow is seen as a 'goddess' symbolling the entrance to mother earth,and it is from the ridge that the approach would have been made, entering into the womb of the earth. Julian Cope in his book The Modern Antiquarian, has articles on this.


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