Tuesday 25 February 2014

Devils Den, Wayland's Smithy and The Rollrights

31st May 2013
The sun is shining once more and we set off suitably refreshed. First stop today is going to be The Devils Den. We take a minor road off the A4, just outside Marlborough which heads up towards Redpost Farm. There is a parking area at the end and a bridlepath, Whitethroats, Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings sing from the hedge rows, accompanying us on our way. We turn left onto another footpath and head downhill towards Clatford Bottom.. Several Hares are sitting motionless in the field below. Another footpath takes us left again, Several sarsen stones lay in the grass. The Devils Den is through a small gate.

A large capstone rests on just two supports, with a further two fallen stones. Apparently there was a mound some 230m long, which has been ploughed out over the years. It's a beautiful spot and once again there isn't a soul to be seen.
We walk back via the same route and drive along the lane. A family of Red Partridges are feeding at the fields edge and there are more Hares in the fields.
Next stop is on the other side of the M4, so we head through Avebury and up towards Swindon. fter a few wrong turns around Swindon, we find the right road and head towards Uffington.
As we approach the village, a Red Kite drifts overhead. The car park at the Uffington White Horse is buzzing with people, We aren't here for the horse today though. Instead it's a trek up the ridgeway to Waylands Smithy.It will be the first time here for both of us.

Another Red Kite circles over, this time in the company of a Buzzard. The Sun is now blazing and it's really hot. Eventually the sign for Waylands Smithy comes into view and a quick walk through the trees brings us to this magical place.
It's a popular place, people enjoying the moment, children playing.One man walks along dowsing. He invites J to have a go. She has been hooked ever since !
There's always one though..... letting everyone within a 10 mile radius know how he has been everywhere and done everything !

We drag ourselves away from this wonderful place and walk back to the car. There's a bit of a drive ahead of us, to the other side of Oxfordshire to another new place for us.
There are some beautiful Cotswold villages on the way to The Rollright Stones. It's mid afternoon by the time we park in the layby on what is a surprisingly busy road.
First of all, we look in on the King Stone. In a field on it's own and seperated from the circle by the road. The king Stone is confined by an iron railing fence. A modern wooden sculpture of a hag watches proceedings.The Stone is quite weathered and looks rather fragile.

Crossing bak over the road, we go through the gate and into the clearing - and there it is -  The Rollright Stones Circle. It's bigger than I imagined. 77 stones make up the circle. Made from the Oolitic Limestone, they too are well weathered and worn. A few people mill around admiring the circle and it's setting.

A footpath takes us to the Whispering Knights Dolmen. It is around 400m SE. The capstone has fallen from the four remaining uprights. Like The King Stone, it is surrounded by an iron railing fence. It is thought that this is the oldest of the three monuments here.
Back for another wander around the circle. There was a lovely atmosphere here and hopefully we will return here one day. But for now, it was time to head off through the Cotswold countryside for the journey back to Devon.

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