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Banburyshire’s Ancient Sites:

Wyck Beacon Barrow

What is special about this site is not so much the well preserved small tumulus. It’s the spectacular location at the top of a high hill, giving views across the Cotswolds to other significant ancient landscapes such as Crickley Hill and Condicote.

Landscape image: ‘Wyck Beacon Barrow’, 21st February 2018
Wyck Beacon Barrow

On the windswept hill, with views for miles across the local landscape, many might miss the large round barrow that sits on top of the hill – or think it part of the trigpoint unceremoniously planted on top.

Historic England class this as a bowl barrow. Though rather smaller than the one in Besbury Lane near Churchill, visible down the valley from here, its of a similar original size.

Built from the Late Neolithic into the Bronze Age, roughly 3,500 to 4,500 years ago, it represents the culture who first widely farmed the hilltops hereabouts. As well as originally standing much taller, there was a broad deep ditch around it, now filled in by material eroded from the land around.

Summary for ‘Wyck Beacon’:

Location: Wyck Rissington, Gloucestershire

Type: ‘Barrows, Tumuli, and Earthworks’.

Condition: Well preserved bowl barrow.

Access: No public access; visible in field just over hedge next to the road junction, with good views from the bridlepath that runs around the back of the field.

OS Grid Ref.: SP201207.

Further information: Historic England.

This high hilltop is also a significant ridge route, as two significant tracks converge near here:

The best views of the site are from the bridleway that runs across the ridge on the far side of the field. Years ago I used to cycle out here from Banbury, to see the view and make a brew. It never occurred to me to look in the other direction, until a few years later when I walked over the top of the Beacon from Bourton-on-the-Water to Kingham.

To be honest, when I re-visit here it’s still to take in the view, but I always check on the barrow too. Whether walking up from Roman Bourton-on-the-Water, or traversing the lovely ridge walk out from Kingham station, it's a great spot to take a long lingering lunch, gazing out across the rolling hills of the North Cotswolds.

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