• Cranborne Chase AONB Office, Rushmore Farm, Tinkley Bottom, Tollard Royal, Wiltshire, SP5 5QA  Tel: 01725 517417


Jul 3, 2017
Heytesbury and Martin Down are the venues for two fascinating walks this month


CunningtonLOVERS of archaeology can't afford to miss two walks taking place at the end of this month which will follow in the footsteps of founding fathers William Cunnington, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and General Pitt-Rivers.

Nick Cowen will lead the first walk at Heytesbury in Wiltshire on Thursday 27 July at 10.30am-4pm when the focus will be on William Cunnington (1754-1810).

The morning will be centered on Iron Age field systems and Bronze Age barrows, the latter investigated by Cunnington and Colt Hoare. There are spectacular landscape views and the opportunity to walk down a dry valley where there is usually no public access (a total of 4km of easy walking). This will be followed by a picnic lunch in the grounds of Cunnington's house in Heytesbury, after which his connections in the village will be explored. The afternoon will conclude with tea at local historian Penny Copeland's house.

William Cunnington was a self-educated merchant who developed an interest in the rich archaeological landscape around Heytesbury, where he both lived and worked. In contrast to the vast majority of antiquarians of the time, Cunnington realised that to fully understand the barrows which fascinated him, they should be excavated and recorded carefully and methodically. Beginning his work around 1798, his initial investigations were self-funded, but increasingly they attracted the interest of a succession of wealthy patrons, including Sir Richard Colt Hoare (1758-1838) of Stourhead.

A second walk, organised by Cranborne Chase AONB in association with the Cranborne Chase Landscape Partnership, will take place on Friday 28 July at 10.30am-1pm, exploring the rich archaeology of Martin Down Nature Reserve on the Hampshire/Dorset border. Both Sir Richard Colt Hoare and General Pitt-Rivers investigated the prehistoric and Roman archaeology of the area. Apart from the great Bokerley Dyke, there is also a concentration of Neolithic long barrows and Bronze Age round barrows, prehistoric enclosures and the northern end of the Dorset Cursus, not forgetting the Roman road and even some World War II archaeology.

The meeting point will be Martin Down Nature Reserve, just off the A354 (SU037201). Appropriate footwear is necessary and although the ground should be fairly even, the walk will cover approximately 4km.

The Heytesbury walk is limited to 20 people, so early booking is recommended. For more details on both walks, visit www.foundationsofarchaeology.wordpress.com/ or email philippeplanel@gmail.com/tel: 01747 870810 to book. Bookings cannot be made through the Cranborne Chase AONB office.