About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Walking back to the distant past

Start as you mean to go on. Well, it is a new year and for a few days, you really mean it. To that end, Son the Younger, the dog and I got up early on Thursday and went for a walk around Avebury. 

It's hard to visit without encountering at least some of its famous stones ... 

... though this visit was more about the surrounding landscape, and we were soon heading up the Herepath (also known as Green Street) towards the ancient Ridgeway that is styled as 'Britain's oldest road' and runs from nearby West Kennett to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire.

First, though, a pause to pay homage to the celebrated beech trees near the eastern entrance on the outer ramparts of the henge. 

The climb to the Ridgeway was long but gentle, although we were glad the wind we were heading into was fresh rather than cold.

At the meeting of the ways, we paused and looked back at the way we'd come, as the first raven of the year croaked overhead.

Then along the ridge of hills ... 

... with views on either side over the chalky Wiltshire countryside.
As the track descended to the A4, we encountered a series of bronze age round barrows ... 

... and over the road,  the now obliterated henge known locally as The Sanctuary, and a further round barrow. 

We crossed the bridge over the chalk stream that is the infant River Kennet, very close to where the local Saxon lads fought, and were defeated by, the Vikings, led by Svein Forkbeard. 

Then we passed through their village, East Kennett, now home to picturesque and doubtless hellishly expensive houses and strikingly coloured winter vegetation.

Our route then took us back across the Kennet ... 

... down very muddy lanes ... 

... and around the edges of fields with views to the mysterious prehistoric mound that is Silbury Hill

What was it for? We just don't know.

But before we got any closer, it was time to head up the hill to visit West Kennet long barrow

As long barrows go, it's big and high, so instead of squeezing and crawling, you can walk inside and wander about in the different chambers.

At one point all I could see was the tip of Ted's tail, like a magic wand waving in the dark. 

Silbury Hill from the top of the barrow

The Kennet was evidently running faster and higher than usual, as our next crossing place was flooded and we had to pick our way over. Not much of a problem for me in my walking boots; pretty uncomfy for Son the Younger in his 11 year old trainers ... 

... so instead of paying closer attention to the Hill, we squelched back along the river to Avebury. 

Then home, vowing to return, more adequately shod, sooner rather than later. 

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