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| Silbury Hill |
[800 x 533 JPG]
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|Description ||The tree in the foreground is on the path from the layby on the A4 to West Kennet longbarrow. The standing stone on the right is nothing more mysterious than a disused gate-post.|
| Lovely, Jim|
| Excellent photo Jim.|
| Jim, some additional info on the tree: It has been pollarded, which means its branches have been cut off above the level where livestock cannot eat the new shoots that spring from these cuts. Pollarding, like coppicing where the wood is harvested just above ground level, is an ancient means of producing wood that certainly goes back centuries and probably millennia. Both pollarding and coppicing prolong the natural lifespan of trees, and some examples are well over a thousand years old. Lone pollards like this one were often used as boundary markers (they are frequently referenced in estate and parish perambulations going back to the 6th century) and this one may have been such a boundary marker. It might also be all that is left of the boundary of an ancient wood that was once here. Its proximity to the path and, more relevant, the stream, indicate this possibility. I would estimate the tree's age at no more than two centuries, but it could have been planted to replace an earlier, centuries-old tree that died. The gate post is another clue to a field boundary and it is possible that the modern path follows this boundary and is thus on the exact line of a route used by people at the time Silbury Hill and other monuments in the area were built. It is nice to see pictures that put the principal subject in context with the wider landscape and the many other historical features that we tend to ignore when visiting the 'mega' monuments. Thanks for a great picture.|
| This is what I like about sites like Meg P... you sometimes read some real gems like this one from Thingy. (And sometimes get to see some cracking photos, like Jim's!)|
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