Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, Somerset

As regular readers of this blog will now know, there are few things I love more than an ancient site, be it a dolmen, a stone circle, or a burial mound. No surprises then that my recent trip to the south west of England included a visit to Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, one of the best examples of a Neolithic chambered tomb in Britain.

Stoney Littleton Barrow is situated on a windswept hillside in the depths of rural Somerset. Following a drive down a very narrow and very winding road, cars have to be abandoned at the roadside next to a rickety wooden bridge which leads over a stream towards the barrow.

The bridge leading to Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, Somerset

The bridge leading to Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, Somerset

Reaching the site involves a treck across a few muddy fields and climbing over some stiles, but the barrow itself is definitely worth the effort. Its location on the hillside offers stunning views of the valley below, dotted with old stone farmhouses and flocks of rather chilly looking sheep.

Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, Somerset

Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, Somerset

The barrow is long and low, with only the its edging of stones and a tiny dark doorway indicating that this is no ordinary hillock. First constructed around 3500 BC, the tomb actually lay hidden for thousands of years until a local farmer broke into the interior chamber while searching for building stones in 1760.

The doorway of Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, Somerset

The doorway of Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, Somerset

Closer inspection of that little doorway reveals a huge fossil ammonite embedded in the stone that forms its left jamb, but it was the gloomy shadows which lay beyond it that really drew my attention. The interior of the tomb is fully accessible, but the low ceiling and tiny chambers inside mean that crawling on hands and knees is pretty much the only way to view it.

The shadowy interior of Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, Somerset

The shadowy interior of Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, Somerset

I made it about halfway down the dark, damp corridor at the centre of the barrow before the muddy floor and a growing sense of claustrophobia made me turn around and scramble back out again. A torch is recommended for a visit to this place, and stout shoes will not go amiss either. But then it is that remote setting in the Somerset hills, and that shadowy dark interior that make Stoney Littleton Long Barrow such a magical place, an ancient site with a wonderfully dramatic character which lies at the heart of a landscape which has hardly changed for hundreds, it not thousands of years.

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7 Responses to “Stoney Littleton Long Barrow, Somerset”

  1. Wonderful – I am blown away by all things Neolithic. This is one place I would love to visit. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow! How amazing, and you did well to venture in there. I don’t know if I would have made it even that far. I love the ammonite!! What a find. Fantastic. Thank you for sharing your experience!

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