Location : Wellow, Somerset, BA2 8NR
After being on the outskirts of Somerset whilst visiting Farleigh Hungerford Castle, we travelled towards a Neolithic barrow at Stoney Littleton in the village of Wellow. To get to Stoney Littleton it is worth noting it is about a mile from Wellow, down Littleton Lane in order to get to the small free car park right at the entrance of the fields.
The site is sign posted at the entrance of the walking fields and you have to cross a small bridge and go over the first stile at the beginning and then following the worn out grass path up the hill towards the barrow. You will come across another 2 stiles that you will cross before reaching the barrow and it’s worth noting that the walk is moderate, it is up hill and through muddy and uneven grounds. The surroundings in the countryside is beautiful, you walk past the hundreds of sheep roaming around and it is quite remarkable how the barrow is so hidden at the top of the hill.
So, abit about the Barrow. It is 30 metres long and has mutiple burial chambers that you are able to view once inside. This long barrow is a great example of neolithic chambered tombs. It dates from around 3500 BC and is said that human remains where buried here. The reasoning behind this tomb was to represent elites from the very early farming communities, but it is more likely that many of the long barrows were actually shrines.
Stoney Littleton does not have much evidence to back up exactly when the barrow was built, or exactly how many bodys lay here, it was only when the owner of the site in the 1760’s whom was a local farmer broke into the chambers to search for any possessions or building stone.
Later in 1816, the Revd John Skinner, excavating the barrow where he claimed he found burnt bones of skeletons and parts of two or three other skeletons and unfortunately these have been lost in recent years.
When you reach the barrow you are greeted by a wide portal entrance, with slabs around the inside and grass covering the barrow. It has dry stone walls on the inside with overlapping stone work on the inside and three sets of paired chambers and a set of chambers at the end.
It is worth noting you can go inside, but on your hands and knees and with a torch, you will only get so far but it is still really interesting how this barrow stands still.
It was a different experience for us visiting Stoney Littleton, but something worth considering if you are in the area and want to see something different and rural.
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