While walking on Picquet Hill above Edington, I noticed a long barrow marked on the map nearby. It was situated on Tinhead Hill quite close to Tottenham Wood. By mid May of 2020, the rapeseed crop in Wiltshire was full of yellow and fragrant and now that the lockdown restrictions allowed us to drive to places to walk, I planned a circular route to go and have a look.
At the bottom of Sandy Lane and on the B3098 in Edington, there is a nice layby to park so I drove the 10 minutes from home and parked up, heading up the steady incline of Sandy Lane until I arrived at the foot of Picquet Hill. At the top of the hill is a stone bench which has fine views and it is a wonderful place to sit in summer and watch the sunset.
Behind you, you have the undulating sights of Luccombe and Longcombe Bottom, and in the distance you can make out the Iron Age ramparts of Bratton Camp and the long barrow that sits on the summit. But today I was heading for a different long barrow.
After navigating around the top of Luccombe Bottom and through the gates just past the reservoir I turned left and headed towards Westdown Farm. As I walked I could see the rapeseed in the field at Tinhead, but I noted the curious stretch of grass I was walking on. It is actually a landing strip for small aircraft and the farm buildings I could see ahead were actually small aircraft hangers.
To my right I glanced down the hill to see a vedette that guards the way to Imber. Up here you are not far from the edge of Imber Range and the red flags remind you of the danger area.
As I got closer to the field of rapeseed, I could see a copse of trees standing out in the middle of the crop.
These trees marked the location of the long barrow. As I entered the field I followed the path around the perimeter, glimpsing the long barrow but knowing that I could not get near it.
The land is farmed and ploughed right up the edge of the barrow and the thick yellow rapeseed crop meant I would have to come back another day for a closer look. I walked up through Tottenham Wood, heading towards Tinhead Hill Farm getting views of the barrow from different angles before heading back towards Edington.
A later visit in early June allowed me to get a bit closer and zoom in on the structure of the barrow. The rapeseed flowers had long gone, but as the moon came up and the sun went down, this ancient barrow allowed it's remote beauty to be seen in full.
There are 28 long barrows that lie within the Salisbury Plain Training Area. Places where our Neolithic ancestors laid their dead to rest thousands of years ago. The fact that they are still here for us to look at is quite amazing.