Langridge Barrows

Som. Arch. Soc. Proc. Bath Branch) – Thomas Bush apparently excavated them in 1909 and found ‘many flints’ (chips, scrapers, etc). Curiously he found 177 in the easterly one, but only 20 in the other. He also found some bits of burnt pottery.”The tenant told us he understood that many years ago the barrow was dug into for the purpose of getting stones, but on coming across some bones the quarrying was stopped.” *

I had forgotten these ‘twin barrows’ though to be truthful it may be a long barrow, but quarrying has obscured the nature of this barrow, as no excavation has ever taken place apart from the above. What has always struck me about this stretch of land called Langridge (long ridge) is the fact that a very long trackway joins prehistoric sites, with the barrow situated near the track. Forgotten barrows are lucky they survive in fields not deemed easy to plough, the farmer leaves them for posterity, but others of course are not so lucky.

These barrows on the Lansdown are witness to the farmer’s annoyance of scheduled monuments on his land, their ‘weeds’ are burnt so that the crop is clean, there is a slow attrition of the earth of the old mound by large farm machinery that cuts into the lower surface of the barrow.

The Langridge barrows though are somewhat isolated overlooking Catherine Valley. The barrow sits just below the crest of the ridge that separates two valleys and is termed ‘false-crested’. They are also a parish boundary mark, and are situated close to an old trackway that runs from Brockham Wood (site of a Roman villa) and the Lansdown Bronze Age cemetery. Not of course forgetting another Romano-British settlement that sits on a ridge overlooking the barrow.

The old track goes from a Romano-British settlement just by the Civil War battlefields fought four hundred years ago. If you continue down the track it winds to the valley below, across the busy A46 and up to Charmy Down, once this down also had a line of barrows, all now gone, flattened to make a temporary airfield in WW2, and just across from Charmy Down you can see Solsbury Hill, a hill fort that sits guarding the river Avon below, whilst across on the other side of the river Beckhampton Down with traces of ‘celtic’ field systems and a presumed stone circle.

 

A walk down the old trackway in this parish of Langridge, will reveal a treasure of wild flowers on the verges, vetches tangle with yellow archangel, bluebells will replace primroses, the white gleam of stitchwort; the stoney path slopes gently down curving on its way, later on the white of elderflower will catch the eye, the sweet scent on a warm day reminding you of elderflower champagne.

A nature walk in summer down to the Langridge will reveal amongst the different grasses, pale ladies-smock flowers, wander on down the path, the remains of Langridge barrows up on the ridge greets you, and as we come to a steep slope, wild purple orchids in the long grass, time forgotten for a moment, or perhaps an understanding by the farmer that such places hold an intricate web of history and nature.

* Taken from Rhiannon’s  notes on The Modern Antiquarian.

Article by Moss