Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mind Walk 2 - Wellow Brook

The new header is Wellow Brook, taken several years ago, it runs by a small lane that leads nowhere, but if you were to take the bridge across it, turn left up into the fields and through the gate at the top of the hill you come to Stoney Littleton long barrow with its ammonite entrance stone, and fossil encrusted stones inside the chamber. 
There are so many jewels along this walk from Wellow, crossing the bridge and looking down into the waters the bright turquoise flash of demosielles damselflies streaking through the himalayan balsam or policeman's hat, the weed in the water (is it crowsfoot?) like a damsel's tresses floating in the current.
The long barrow was restored in the 19th century, local labourers had started to pull it apart for the lane down below, but our indefatigable Reverend Skinner and Sir Colt Hoare put an end to that and it was restored to the state it is today. As you walk up to the barrow you will understand why it is called stoney, there is a litter of stone on the approach, and the farmer had left it to weed.

Inside the six chambers are beautifully crafted, a strange word to use, but like wood, stone can also be worked and chosen for its beauty.

This was a place of peace for me, not too far from Bath, sitting outside the barrow contemplating the world, that is not quite true, contemplating the visual natural world with just bird song is more apt. Sometimes in the lane below you could hear the horses from the Wellow stables come clopping along, my friend and I once ventured out on a ride, I ended up on a horse that was more cob than cob, a seemingly great armchair of a horse, but probably given out because he was quiet!
It is the flowers I remember mostly that decked the long barrow, unmarked by herbicides and fertilisers, there was  orchids, thyme, oxeyed daisies and ladies bedstraw to crush between your fingers.

One other thought comes to mind, the ammonite seen on the entrance is perhaps a token mark of the tribe of the area, there are many long barrows, mostly defunct, in this area bordering the Mendips.  Ammonites can be found in the town of Keynsham named after Saint Keyne known for banishing the 'serpents' ie ammonites
from the town, similar of course to Saint Hild in Whitby, where there was also a great number of these fossils which she vanquished in her legends.
But what I notice in this file of photos, is something from a book I copied ages ago, a large ammonite buried five foot deep that someone had found buried in their garden, rather intrigued me was this done in medieval times as part of the legend of wicked 'coiled serpents'?

Another fascinating link on Bovey Belle's blog 'Snakes in Celtic Folklore'

Entrance stone l/h

entrance stone r/h

Buried ammonite


  1. Amazing place Thelma. I think my favourite shot is the poppies.....plants over rocks this time!

    1. Hi Em, cannot wait until things start to go green again, our lawn is positively dangerous with water, spongy and wet just like a moor....

  2. how wonderful, I'm so pleased you showed this barrow, I just googled it and it's only 45 mins from here.

    1. Go in summer Kath and not through the floods of the Somerset Levels, so high in the news recently! I always came from the village of Wellow, park at the top of the little (wooden signpost to Stoney Littleton there) lane, or further down by the little car park just by the cottage there.

  3. Oh how beautiful a spot, in life and indeed, afterwards. One on the list of places to visit, definitely, and what beautiful wild flowers. The Wellow brook is divine too - reminds me of the clear Hampshire chalk streams - I miss the chalk downland. It looks like Ophelia has just stepped out of the picture!

    The ammonites/snakes piece was very interesting and I will do a little post from the Folk Lore book I bought in Hay yesterday, as snakes were NOT very popular in the past!

    1. It is very beautiful Jennie, especially when the weather is warm, look forward to see your post about the folklore of ammonite. Remember reading something about a 'gold' pyrite ammonite that was found in Gloucester....