Sunday, 5 July 2009

Belas Knap

My dear friends Julie and Al and their kids have been staying for a few days (their bathroom is being done up) and for some time now Al has been wanting to go and visit Belas Knap, a neolithic burial site, which is a few miles from where we live. So Saturday evening we set out rather late on a magical mystery tour. We had a map but the arrow was pointing to some other field, but we found it in the end.
(Tish, Al, little M, Julie and C)
This is the 'false' entrance at one end, designed to deter grave robbers, it leads nowhere. The site was used over several centuries and has been partially excavated.
There are several chambers that have been restored to show visitors how it was used, strangely they feel kind of 'homey'.
Though of course C insists on being an escaping zombie:-)
And little M is happily buried:-)
The chamber on this side had the sun shining in and you can see the huge slabs of stone that we assumed were part of the original structure.
You can see why people would have chosen such a spot for their burials, the view shows the layers of hills going off into the distance, with a soft sunset light.
Here is a view showing the shape of the structure as we walked back across the fields. In spite of the fact that a couple of hundred runners on some kind of night-time event trailed through while we were there, it was a strikingly atmospheric place and well worth the trip. We went out this morning to another long barrow at Notgrove but it was very neglected and overgrown, so instead we drove over to the Rollright Stones which are between Moreton and Chipping Norton.

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