Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thursday 9th February

This is the Winterbourne at Avebury that runs alongside Silbury mound


The theme of water and nostalgia; must be all that rain outside.  I mentioned earlier we want to see the Rudston Monolith, but it took some while to realise that it lies in the valley of the 'Gypsey Race', a small winterbourne that runs down to the sea at Bridlington.  A winterbourne is a small river/stream that appears and disappears through the years, it is normally to be found on a chalk surface.  It begins, I believe at Wharram, not too far from Wharram Percy DMV.  What is interesting is along its short length there is an excess of prehistoric barrows and four  cursus, and at Duggleby Howe, one of the largest barrows to be found in the country.  Are there parallels with the Swallowhead spring next to Silbury I wondered but cannot answer my own question.  Bronze Age barrows of course mean settlements not just death, but why settle next to an erratic source of water?  Again the question must be asked was this of religious significance, the magical appearance of water and disappearance dictated by a bad tempered god maybe.



Apparently Duggleby Howe Barrow is situated near to the source of the Gypsey Race.  I can hear the sound of that water at Avebury all those years back, the deer in the field and the little band of partridges that waddled along in front of us on the path.  Moss quietly by my side, a cold morning.


10 comments:

  1. I learned a new word! It has a lovely "flow" to it...the word. Those thistle heads would make a very nice dried bouquet.

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    1. Hi Tabor, I am sure a lot of what I write must be pretty obscure to American/Canadian readers. Not sure what the word is, could be winterbourne though. Thistle heads or teasels were once used for wool. fulling

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  2. Your disappearing streams sound a bit like the winter lakes that come in and go in Ireland - known as Turloughs.

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    1. Now I have learnt a new word, Turloughs, we also have swallets on the Mendips, which are caused by water coming up and creating a shaft.

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  3. There are many new words for me in both your post and comments. They all sound very poetic.

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    1. Think the English language, derived not only from the Saxons, but also the Normans with their latin flavour, and then flowered into different sub languages. I can hardly understand a true Scottish person or even Welsh.

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  4. Lovely evocative words. I am sure that the appearance and disappearance of waters must have fascinated folk in the Prehistoric periods. Perhaps they were considered to mark a propitious site for ritual? Control of liminal areas?

    The word winterbourne is one I know and always reminds me of Dorset, and its Winterbourne villages.

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    1. And there are of course lots of liminal words around Dorset that are specific but I can't remember them ;)

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  5. I think that quite a few English [as opposed to American] words and phrases have crept into my vocabulary over the years, probably because I've read many English authors.
    Riding with Jim last week on back roads I noticed many clumps of teasels--hadn't seen many since our move to Kentucky.

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  6. Teasels is of course a very descriptive word, teasing out the wool. I suspect a lot of 'english' words in America we would not use here today but they come from when English settlers moved to the New Country.

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