Neglecting the ancient monuments in our borough

Yes, Surrey Heath is a fine place to live, work, and bring up children. That said, we’re not good at caring for our history.

I won’t bore you with the milestones in our borough and the one that was intentionally damaged. Should you be interested in the topic, then enter ‘milestones’ in the search box at the top of this blog, and you’ll find more than you ever wanted to know.

Back to my grumble. In Brentmoor Heath we have a group of four Bronze-age bowl barrows that are around 4500 years old. They are a Scheduled Ancient Monument – see Historic England entry for details. Yet little can be seen of them, their being covered in scrub. There is a further scheduled monument bowl barrow [see details HERE] near the New England group of houses in Brentmoor Heath, it lies on a sandstone ridge overlooking the heathland, although it’s difficult to make out the barrow as a heathland track runs across it.

I’ve written about the four bowl barrows HERE, which includes references to learned papers and an article on bowl barrows in Surrey. I think we should make more of our ancient monuments, and keep them more in the condition shown in the aerial photograph of them taken in 1932. Here’s a recent photo of the bowl barrows showing how they’re covered in scrub, one of a few years ago when the scrub was cleared though not effectively, and an aerial photo of them in 1932.

I think I’ll have to write some letters and speak to a few people. You can do so also, if you feel minded

Holding my own horticultral show: the results

A casuality of the corona virus has been the cancellation of the 2020 West End, Windlesham and District Agricultural and Horticultural Annual Show.

I’m a proud holder of one of the silver cups. It was for the cacti and succulent class. Without this year’s show happening, I can hold onto the cup for another year. It’s therefore an opportunity for me to hold my horticulture show for the cacti class and award the cup.

I’ve three varieties of Haworthia. Each is in flower, and for a small succulent they sure do put out some flower stems. Good though they are, the winner is another succulent, Crassula perforata variegata. It has lots of little flowers and is not as wild as the Haworthia’s flower stems.

Here are my photos of the show competitors, and me polishing the Silver Perpetual Cup.

Ploughing match on previously unploughed ground

The annual ploughing match of the West End, Windlesham and District Agricultural and Horticultural Society [Ag & Hort from here on] on Sunday, 8th September, was held on new ground for the competition, which presented a challenge to the competitors, as the ground had not been previously ploughed, and some parts of the field, close to the A3, were heavily compacted.

We’ve attended the ploughing match for a number of years, seeing it held on land adjacent to Longacres in Bagshot, Manor Farm at Stoke D’Abernon, and this year on ground in Grove Heath Road in Ripley.

There’s always a goodly number of competitors, with tractors and ploughs old and new. The Ag and Hort organisers provide refreshments and a BBQ – the bacon rolls were particularly good.

At past matches we’ve attended I’ve interviewed some of the competitors and the judges, and have also taken a video or two. This year there’s no interviews, just a few photos and a short video.

Sun, fun, flowers, produce, and crafts at West End Ag & Hort Show

Last Saturday, 15th September, it was sun, fun, flowers, produce, and crafts at West End, Windlesham and District Agricultural & Horticulture Annual Show.

From here on in it’s simply the Ag & Hort. My report on this year’s smashing show is sadly short as I spent most of my time in amongst the show entries in Tringham Hall and the Marquee. Why, well, my dear wife and I submitted numerous entries. We both had successes in our respective categories. Me, I couldn’t help telling everyone I met that I’d won first prize and a cup.

I was successful in Cacti and Succulents, winning first prize and a third prize, and to my astonishment the first prize came with a Silver Perpetual Cup – see photo below. Dear wife was successful with cheese straws [the straws weren’t the most attractive, but I guess won on taste. Use of very strong Cheddar Cheese the probable reason], and in handmade card in the crafts, although her artisan bread failed to be placed.

Oh, wasn’t the show lucky with the weather – lovely warm sunshine which brought out the crowds. The show ran out of draught beer, an indication of the warmth and crowds.

The show is beautifully organised, and is a highlight of the West End cultural activity. I’ve posted a few photos, and a short video [PS The cup is proudly on display in our lounge].

September events: West End Agicultural & Horticultural Show 2019

It’s that time of the year again, for the WEWDAHS show.  The long name for the show, and it’s quite a mouthful, is the West End, Windlesham & District Agricultural & Horticultural Society Annual Show. The short name is the West End Ag and Hort, or if you’re a West Ender, simply the Ag and Hort.

There’s a new venue for the tractor ploughing match, it’s at Grove Heath Road, Ripley, GU23 6EU. Ploughing starts at 10.0am, and prize giving will be at 2.30pm.

Continuing my perambulations and thoughts on bowl barrows in Brentmoor Heath

On Thursday, a lovely dry day this week, I looked for the bowl barrow near the houses at New England, which the estimable Speedicus pointed to the Historic England record, in my article HERE].

In preparation for my investigation I printed the pages about the bowl barrow scheduled monument from the Historic England record. I also looked again at the 1930’s photo of the four bowl barrows, which I claim shows a fifth bowl barrow – see my article HERE. On reflection, I wondered why the archaeologist Leslie Grinsell hadn’t thought there were five bowl barrows when he studied the photo. My conclusion is that his interpretation is more likely to be correct than mine. More research needed by me.

Anyway, back to the bowl barrow at New England [see Historic England record HERE]. Here’s part of that record,

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods.

Although it has suffered from some subsequent disturbance, the bowl barrow at New England survives well and will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and original use.

The barrow has a roughly circular mound 16m in diameter and up to 1m high, partly disturbed by long term use of an east-west aligned public bridleway which crosses the monument. Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which material used to construct the barrow was excavated. This has become infilled over the years but survives as a buried feature up to 2m wide. The northern side of the ditch has been partly disturbed by a deep depression, part of a modern sports cycling route.

Here are my photos of what I found. Must say that the bowl barrow is hardly recognisable as such. As a scheduled ancient monument it isn’t identified in the same way as the four bowl barrows.

Cosseting my cacti for the West End & Windlesham Agricultural & Horticultural Show

No too long to go till the West End, Windlesham and District Agricultural and Horticultural Society annual show [WEWDAHS for short].

Last year I submitted two cacti with one winning a third prize. I can’t submit either again, even though they have both responded wonderfully to my cosseting with healthy growth in the last year.

My small cacti collection had a couple of days holiday outdoors in the sun over a week ago. Some have, pleasingly, put on a spurt of growth. What I hope for now is another sunny spell when I can give them a final watering and feeding. Then I can make my choice.

Last year was my first experience of exhibiting and the tension waiting to see the judges verdict.

June 2019 local events diary recap UPDATED

I’ve mentioned eight events [now nine, plus an Aldershot event] in June happening in and around Surrey Heath. Here’s a recap of them in date sequence.

Things to do this weekend: Visit Heather Quilters exhibition in West End

Heather Quilters, a local group of quilt makers host their 2019 Exibhition at Tringham Hall, Benner Lane, West End, GU24 9JP.

Heather Quilters exhibitions are biennal. We’ve been to a number of their exhibitions, and are immensely impressed with the creative flair and committment necessary to make a quilt for exhibition. See, below the notice, the photos I took at their 2017 exhibition.