Sunday, 30 June 2013

Going back in time

Life is getting fairly hectic here at the moment, what with one thing and another so sometimes it's good to look back and chill out.

Yeah right.

Been an even  busier weekend than usual  this week with two packed days out in completely different ways.

This post is about Saturday and a visit to the Ancient Technology Centre in Dorset.

This is an amazing place with reconstructions of many ancient buildings: Firstly though I'm sorry for the quality - I took the DSLR but failed to check the battery! It lasts for weeks usually, but not this time, so these were taken on the camera phone...

The  Viking long house

An iron age round house and menhir

Not sure! It's a bit of the long house and a bit of the earth covered Icelandic round house but I really don't remember what the one in the middle is and it isn't on the website so I can't cheat either. I do like the wooden bench though and if you look very closely there are actually a couple of sheep sheltering from the sun on the left.

More of the Icelandic round house.

And its interior. This has far more steps down than you'd expect but they use it as an auditorium for story telling.
 This one is Roman

Inside it is a replica of a forge - it's used to allow children to have a go at metal working. I'd love to do this myself!

The back room has been set up as a pottery. There is a kiln out doors for the firing.


I was so thrown by not having a "proper" camera that I completely failed to take pictures of the pigs. chickens and the magnificent herb garden. I guess I'll just have to go back!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Roasted Carbatinae?

Something slightly different this week.

Yes - this is just what it looks like. A pair of shoes sitting in a roasting tin in a bath of vegetable oil - to be precise rapeseed oil.


This is what they looked like before.  Hand made leather carbatinae as worn in the iron age.  Unfortunately I have soft delicate 21CE feet and they are not comfortable.

I'm told marinating in oil for a couple of days will help so that is exactly what they are doing. I prefer the colour already!


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Yat's the way to do it!

Sorry - couldn't resist ( and of course showing my age!).

Symonds Yat today. It's not an area we have ever visited before and now I'm wondering why! The weather was perfect, the sun was out and as usual the crowds tend to stay close to the beaten track so it's easy to find some lovely quiet  unspoiled areas.

So I lovely day to day starting with King Arthur's cave. This was our objective and I was reminding myself that we needed to take a torch. It was halfway over the Severn Bridge that I remembered it was still on the hall table. Whoops. Fortunately the mobile phone has a helpful "assistive light" so that would have to do!

 King Arthur's cave shows evidence of long occupation by man. Certainly since the upper Palaeolithic time. Discoveries inside the cave show hyena bones, woolly mammoth and lots of flint tools.

The cave of course has plenty of local Arthur superstition around it. Vortigern is said to have made his last stand nearby

The cave clearly  goes far back. Lacking a torch of course it was hard to see but the camera flash gives some tantalising glimpses into the recesses. This was the first  of many caves we saw today. The limestone cliffs are riddled with them, some are fenced off presumably as too dangerous to enter and the hillside is pockmarked with sink holes ( depressions left where underlying cavern roofs have collapsed.

So after the cave comes the hill fort. This was a steep climb up the hillside to the Little Doward Hill fort but well worth it for the views. I wasn't quite so keen on having to pass through a small herd of  cattle - they looked like Charolais but they had some mighty big horns...

The views from the top are spectacular. Is this the  'Castle of Gwrtheyrnion'? It seems a good candidate

Archaeologically speaking, recent excavations have shown that the inhabitants lived in round houses within the enclosure. Many of the ditches and ramparts are still visible and it was well worth the effort of the climb.

Time now to go down to the River Wye itself. passing some spectacular rock cliffs. The cliffs bear the scars of blasting as this was a centre for the production of lime.

 The resultant cliffs though are a wonderful habitat for rare plants and a lesson in how when left to itself, nature can erase the damage caused by man.

 Where there is limestone and plenty of wood there are likely to be lime kilns, This is the remains of the 17CE one just above the river.

 Time now to go down to the river itself - in fact to cross it by the footpath over the suspension bridge. Great fun - but now the crowds begin. Lots of families out enjoying the sun and hordes of cyclists. Yes time to head to the pub for some lunch.

After a quick run up Symonds Yat rock to admire the view it was time to cross back over the river - this time by the Hand Ferry. Bargain at £1.20 pp. This is an ancient crossing point but I think the rope wouldn't originally have been a steel cable.

Hard work for our ferryman though.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

White Horses and Woolly Bears - an unusual combination!

Or to be more precise Cherhill Down, between Calne and Malborough. Although on paper niot far from home this time, it is an awkward trip and reminds me of the old quip that "you wouldn't want to start from here!"

Oldbury Castle is an Iron Age hillfort. It's huge, covering about 25 acres and is remarkably well preserved.

 The banks and ditches are very well preserved and it is quite a steep climb up to the fort itself. After last week though this was a breeze!

And another shot. It's a popular place with dog walkers and families. Note the sun and lovely blue sky the weather forecasters promised us. No I can't see it either...

Perched on the top of the fort is the crumbling Lansdowne Monument. Bits are starting to fall from the sides and access to the stepped plinth is currently fenced off for safety reasons. It's on the National Trust's list to be repaired but they have no budget for it.

This Victorian monstrosity is 125ft high and was erected  in 1845 by the Third Marquis of Lansdowne to commemorate Sir William Petty ( Economist, Scientist and Philosopher just in case you don't recall him).

Now on to the horse which was carved into the side of the hillfort  in 1780 by the "mad doctor" -Dr Christopher Alsop.   
 Coming down in search of some lunch we spotted this chap making his way up the pathway. Despite our best efforts he was determined to contine his route up the trackway.

 I just hope he didn't get eaten. He was very conspicuous against the chalk

For lunch we thought we'd head back to the Barge at Honey Street. Last time we were here the white horse was all but invisible against the snow on the hills. Today though he stands out brilliantly.

Not such good news on the food front, the Barge decided it was too busy to want our custom so we decamped to the new tearoom just across the other side of the main road and had cake and sandwiches there instead. Time then to head home and tackle some Sunday afternoon gardening.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...