Friday, July 10, 2009

farway necropolis keeps its secrets

On top of Gittisham Hill towards Honiton is the site of Farway Necropolis. Not much of this remains anymore and the barrows that are left are very difficult to reach as the place is overgrown and thus impenetrable.

Apparently this was once one of the important sites in the country and is also known as Broad Down Necropolis, which was a three mile long linear barrow cemetery but many of the tumuli have been ploughed under or destroyed in other ways. It is also possible that some of these barrows had stone circles associated with them. There is a stone surrounded by barrows on an old 1979 map of the area but this seems to be gone now. There is a feature somewhere around here called 'Ring-in-the-Mire' though I couldn't find anything on this occasion.

The walking here is much harder than it appears in the photographs and within a few yards of leaving the busy road I was up to head height in a terrible tangle of growth. I quickly gave up on the idea of trying to reach any of the barrows, though I might try again in the winter when all this growth has died back again.

I went to the nearby campsite where a tumulus is marked on the map and after walking round a couple of times and not finding anything asked in the shop about it and got the reply "Oh the ancient burial site, it's next to the toilet block, we're not supposed to go in there" and she was right, it was next to the toilet block, hidden in a very small clump of trees was a slightly raised circle of ground all but invisible unless you knew it was there.

Down the road is a nice little village called Gittisham which is very thatched. In the last photo is a small house that is up for auction soon, it is the part which shows the door and two windows, not the rest of the structure.

Along the road a bit is Combe House, a large, mainly Elizabethan house which is now a hotel. As they put it "all gables, finials and transom windows." Rooms for the night are between £175 to £355 so I probably won't be staying here in the foreseeable future though I might nip in for a coffee at some point and have a poke around. If they let me in of course.


Maria said...

Thanks John. Lovely photos. Wish I'd discovered your blog before I visited England last year. Actually I stayed in Lyme Regis. Can't remember now whether I passed through any of the towns you mention, but I may have because I drove from Lyme to Tintagel.


john said...

Cheers Maria, you are most welcome.

If you drove from Lyme Regis you may well have gone through Honiton near Gittisham. Lymes just up the coast a few miles from here and is a nice place, the walk from Lyme back to Axmouth is one of my favourite walks anywhere.

I like a lot of the towns in the winter as they are a lot quieter then but the summer is better for the beaches of course.

cheers, john.

john said...

Hey nobody How much money would you like to bet? I've just seen a dvd of The Shout for sale on for £6.99 so it's out there!

I'd like to see it again myself now.

john said...

Um, the whole film is on youtube. That will save a bit of time and a few bob.

queenofthenile said...

I'd like to read about that walk & see photos. Have you posted about the Lyme to Axmouth walk?


nobody said...

Um, I always hate those bets where I know I'm going to lose. That being the case I'll only bet ten quid.

Otherwise these pix are all so Agatha Christie/ Midsomer Murderish. Did you not feel like murdering someone while you were there John? It would be hard to resist I expect.

nobody said...

Oh! Great idea! You should go about murdering people, and posting photos of each victim here (you could point their arms at the clock as clues etc etc), and then each week we'd pop in, collect the clues, and guess whodunnit. Don't tell us it was you of course, because that would spoil it.

It'd be just like Antonioni's Blow-up except it would make more sense.

john said...

Cheers Maria. I have posted about the Lyme to Axmouth walk though it is way back in the blog archive in June 2006, the photo's are not that great.

I have been meaning for ages to get back and walk it again and will try soon I think. I can't believe it was that long ago.

Nice blog by the way, I'm still thinking about your last posting.

john said...

Cheers Nobody. I don't have a tv so I expect that the rest of the world knows more about Midsomer than I do but from what I gather it sounds like a very dangerous place to live.

Usually when I see thatched cottages I don't think of murder for some reason, maybe I should watch more tv.

Murder still seems to be largely illegal here although there do seem to be exceptions, depending on who does the killing. I think it would be illegal for me. Maybe things would be different if I lived in Midsomer, though I'd have to watch me back there.

I watched The Shout last night which was in very good quality for youtube and it was certainly a lot better than I remember it. If you can get to have a go on somebody elses computer at any point give it a look, I think you might find it very interesting.

The maid here tells me that earlier I said it was filmed in Saunton Burrows which is wrong of course, it was filmed in Braunton Burrows; another place I have been meaning to get back to for ages.

I also picked up a bit of information on Farway from the Modern Antiquarian website which I didn't acknowledge, so ta MA. It looks like a good site.

queenofthenile said...

Thanks John, I will go to 2006 & look at your posting on the walk.

And thanks for your comment on my blog. I too am still thinking of what happened on Wednesday.


Penny said...

you don't have a tv?

are you some sort of freak?

(that is the reaction I get when I tell people I have no cable or satellite, they are always stunned and look at me, as If I am a freak, when I secretly think they are the freaks!)

we have a tv, but no cable or anything like that, no satellite dish, whatever.

It sits quietly in the living room all day, and is very well behaved, really.

Then hubby get's home and put's on the news.

Me, I don't watch much of it at all, except movies on the week-end, but even that is usually just one or two movies.

Not much for tv, there is so much other stuff to do.....

I think, it must be the same for you?