Backwell Environment Trust

...10+ years of conservation, protection, improvement...

BET held an archaeological walk through our two woods on Saturday, July 20th 2013 as part of the CBA (Council for British Archaeology) Festival Fortnight, one of over 1,200 events around the country.

We headed off up the hill via Church Town to the Jubilee Stone Nature Reserve, stopping to look at the ‘humps and bumps’ which are signs of old lead mining.

We walked up to the Jubilee Stone itself, a granite obelisk built in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and paused in the sunshine to admire views across the valley. Immediately in the field below us were traces of four Bronze Age barrows, from 4,000-2,800 years old, which have almost been ploughed away over the centuries. The largest one was 30 ft in diameter, and we all stood on it whilst it was explained that Reverend George Masters from Flax Bourton dug into the middle of it in 1898, probably looking for treasure, but found nothing of importance. However, recent geophysics revealed that several burials still remain there deep down below, and which of course must remain undisturbed.

After a while, we moved along the bridleway to the Warrener’s Cottage, though nothing much can be seen there either, apart from low wall foundations now hidden under brambles and wild flowers.

Then we visited the limekiln, which was in use from at least 1843-1884, and has been excavated and partially restored by BET.

At the bottom of the hill is a small cave tucked away amongst these trees, which was probably formed by a stream once flowing down over it. Some of our group had never seen it - or knew of its existence, so it was explained that it had been a sacred site to those ancient people, a meeting place for gods of the Earth, Sky and the Underworld, and approximately 18-30 people had been buried there, from 5,000 years ago (Neolithic period) to 2,000 years ago (Roman period).

This, then, was the end of our walk, and everyone seemed to go away satisfied to have learned a little more about BET’s woods and the people who had lived, worked and even been buried there on the hillside at Backwell all those years ago.

Refer to the Archaeology menu for further articles about the above sites.

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