Sunday, 3 February 2013

Seeking the Devil in his Churchyard

Minchinhampton is a pretty little town and the visits to the stone and the barrow didn't take long. Driving up from the town we spotted something called  "The Bulwarks" on the outskirts so decided to take a look.

And well worth it too they were. Some nice iron age earthworks sweeping in an arc around what was once a common but now seems to look very like a golf course!

Very little information seems to be available about this site other than they were intended to be "protective" rather than "defensive". Now there's a subtle distinction if ever I heard one. Some iron age pottery has also been found.

We did have a short walk along them but it was bitingly cold as you might deduce from the remains of the snow and we were getting hungry.

Also I chose my camera angles carefully. The site is criss-crossed by some reasonably busy roads so the ambiance isn't great when hulking great  4x4s whizz past.

After lunch ( Lamb Inn at Eastcombe if you are interested - wasn't much taken with my vegetarian burger but I'm told the wild boar sausages were nice) we set off in search of the Devil's Churchyard. Well who can resist a name like that!

This did require a bit of a walk. The blue skies had been replaced with grey at this point but we hoped the rain would soon pass over.

A level east walk if very muddy as was only to be expected. The Devil's Churchyard is now a patch of woodland and signs told us it was a nature conservation area.

We passed a grove of nicely coppiced hazels on the edges and then took a short detour into the woods themselves.

Unlike the Bulwarks the stillness here was absolute. Not a sound. We disturbed a couple of rabbits who looked pretty shocked to see us.

 It would have been idyllic other than the common farmers' habit of dumping unwanted detritus on land they aren't farming. Rusty water breakers etc don't really add to the countryside.

How the woodland got its name is a bit confused. One story goes that the town's attempts to build a church here on what  may well have been an old ritual site were frustrated by the work being torn down every night until they gave up and built the church elsewhere. Other local tales tell of there being stones here which were removed and used elsewhere - the Long Stone is said by some to have originated here.

Undecided whether this is entirely natural or has had a little help??

A side view of the woodland. We walked on a few extra miles but the weather deteriorated sharply and the resulting hailstorm was far from pleasant. I was glad to get back to the car and head for home.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...