Posted tagged ‘ridgeway’

Six Overcoats

October 27, 2012

Although this beech tree copse is just a couple of miles from where I live it was six overcoats colder this afternoon. The icy blast from the North whipped the trees into a crazy orchestra.

Beech Copse

We were glad to join the skeletons warming themselves by the log burner in the Courthill Tea Room.

Skeletons by the fire

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Ridgeway

July 7, 2012


When my feet
Touch this path of rusty flint
And sun bleached chalk

Present and past
Have no meaning,
It is all one
Here at the edge.

Grey wethers,
Woman and man,
Stand forever bound in stone,
Elf shot and spindle whorl
Cast aside.
Lynchettes lie fallow
Under the vast and ragged blue.
Mewing buzzards rise and wheel
Through aeons.

What is this earth,
This stone?
Blood and bone?
A restless churning tide
Of stardust?
My footsteps echo
Through the rolling
Vaults of time.

Gypsy Lane

May 15, 2010
Gypsy Lane 1

Gypsy Lane April 2010

Gypsy Lane in South Oxfordshire connected the ancient Ridgeway Path to the Thames Valley. On maps it is known as Crabhill Lane. The site of a Roman villa has been found nearby. There is evidence of a medieval settlement a little further on.
In late April blackthorn blossom arched over head.

Blackthorn blossom is finishing now and hawthorn just beginning to open. Butterflies dance in the sunshine.
An orange tip visits mustard garlic
orange tip
and a speckled wood rests on the path.

Wayland Smithy

May 1, 2010
Wayland Smithy

Wayland Smithy

Wayland Smithy long barrow was used for burials in the Neolithic period over 5,500 years ago. It is situated near the ancient Ridgeway path about one mile west of the White Horse Hill in South Oxfordshire.

Wayland Smithy

Wayland Smithy Entrance


Excavations have revealed the existence of an earlier barrow covered by the one that can be seen today. The earlier mound was a box type structure of stone and wood, covered with earth and paved with sarsen stones. The remains of fourteen people were found inside.
The second barrow was a trapezoid mound with a facade of six large sarsen stones. This later chamber contained the remains of eight people. Both tombs were the focal point of ceremonies that linked the living and the dead.

Ridgeway Path

Ridgeway path looking towards White Horse Hill from Wayland Smithy

Wayland the smith was a God in Norse and Saxon folklore. He was held captive by king Niduth for a time and kept in a cave. He escaped and killed the king’s two sons. According to legend Wayland lived in various caves and burial mounds. Local belief maintains that if a horse needing a shoe is left at the smithy with a silver coin the horse will be shod.

Wayland Smithy looking along the barrow from the right hand side.


Wayland Smithy from the Ridgeway Path

Wayland Smithy from the Ridgeway Path, South Oxfordshire