Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal

Paul Mobbs’ photographic record of his walks around ‘Banburyshire’ and ‘The Irondowns’, and occasionally, as part of his work around Britain, the areas beyond.

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. In clear frost, or misty cloud, it always has a different perspective to offer.

Summary for ‘Wyck Beacon Barrow’:

Location: Wyck Rissington, Gloucestershire

Type: ‘Barrows, Tumuli, & 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.

Walks posts for site: {none yet}

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.

This high hilltop is also a significant ridge route. Two ridge routes from the south converge here, from the crossings of the River Windrush at Burford and Great Barrington. From here they would have gone north toward Stow, intersecting with the Cotswold Ridgeway going east to west, as well as the continuation of the ridge route north-north-west towards Evesham and Worcester.

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. The best views of the site are from the bridleway that runs across the ridge on the far side of the field.

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.