Podcast 19 - Beckhampton Gallops and the Witch Plantation

Bit of a chaotic start to this episode of the podcast. We weren’t sure where we were. Glyn simply can’t get the staff these days. And what’s worse is that our reputation as serious podcasters is at risk due to the fact that most Google searches for reference material about Wiltshire lead back to this website! We’ll need to be a bit more diligent about our fact checking in future, although in this podcast we didn’t make a particularly good start!!

Starting on a slightly sombre note, after Paul attended the funeral of his Aunt earlier in the week, we talked about the importance of recording social history. The lives and history of ordinary people as opposed to the conventional kings and queens approach that was popular in the English curriculum. Glyn is reading a book by Time Team archaeologist Francis Pryor that does just this, bringing the landscape to life through archaeology and imagining the lives of those that trod this land before us. There’s a link to the book below.

And on this theme, Glyn and Paul went to listen to stonemason Andrew Ziminski who gave a talk at Toppings Bookshop in Bath last Sunday. A fascinating and engaging talk by someone at the forefront of his profession. We interviewed Andrew for the last podcast, Episode 18 The Coffin Trail.

Since the last podcast we’ve completed another guided walk in conjunction with Wiltshire Museum from Erlestoke up to Salisbury Plain. Glyn wrote a blog about this for the website which is linked below. This will also be the subject of the next podcast.

Another blog posted recently was the walk Paul did from Broad Chalke which took in the stunning Knapp Down. We’ll be recording a podcast about this walk too at some point.

The main subject of this episode was the walk that Glyn did in July around the Beckhampton Gallops. There’s a link to his blog about it with a map below. This is where we were really exposed as being the charlatans we are as we struggled to get our history right!! This is a landscape that as ever in Wiltshire is steeped in prehistory. A cursory glance at the map will show it is covered in ancient monuments, almost too numerous to mention. From the Bronze Age through the Iron Age to the Romans you’ll be walking in the steps of our ancestors throughout the walk. But we did also find the time to have a moan about our contemporaries who insist on damaging this precious landscape and who risk having it closed off to the public by the landowner who allows us the freedom to roam across parts of it.

Steve Dixon’s piece leading into the discussion about the walk is entitled “My Borrowed Hand”. Because the tabla sounds like horses hooves right! As ever the piece in the introduction and at the end of the podcast is entitled “The Holloway”.

The next Hidden Wiltshire/Wiltshire Museum guided walk will be on Sunday 12 September 2021 and will be to Devil’s Den and Fyfield Down. You can get tickets using the link below, if there are any left.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Hidden Wiltshire Newsletter from the website.

Thanks again to the ever-patient Tim Kington at TKC Sales, the UK distributors of Lowa walking boots and shoes, and for the 20% discount on their products to Hidden Wiltshire podcast listeners. Listen to the show for the discount code. It can’t last forever! You’ll find a link to Lowa Boots’ website below.

And finally, help us keep the lights on by heading to the Hidden Wiltshire Online shop. Link below.


You can follow the walk we discuss in this episode here Beckhampton Gallops and Witch Plantation

Andrew Ziminski’s brilliant book can be obtained here if you’d prefer not to use Amazon The Stone Mason: A History of Building Britain

Francis Pryor’s book can be obtained here at a great price Scenes from a Prehistoric Life - Francis Pryor

Glyn’s blog about the guided walk with Wiltshire Museum from Erlestoke Erlestoke Wood and the 1917 Field

Glyn’s photographs can be seen of course on this website and on his Instagram feed @coy_cloud

Paul’s photography can be found on his website at Paul Timlett Photography and on Instagram at @tragicyclist

Steve Dixon’s sound art can be found on Soundcloud where his username is River and Rail Steve Dixon River and Rail. His photographs can be found on Instagram at @stevedixon_creative and his graphic design business website is at Steve Dixon Creative