You know those days that you always dream of during horrid Winter? Those beautiful summer days that are so sunny and snuggly, that one is reminded of William Wordsworth when he wrote:
I have travelled among unknown men
In lands beyond the sea;
Nor, England! did I know till then
What love I bore to thee.
You do? Well I visited Arthur's Stone on a day such as this! The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the sheep were bleating. I was in a field with some old stones, in Merry Old England and I was in Hog's Heaven!
I was heading home after a particularly chilled festival, when it was decided to make full use of the glorious day that we were presented with. After a quick appraisal of suitable sites, Arthur's Stone appeared to require the least amount of physical expenditure, so I said: "let's go there!". However, as is usually the way with these things, finding the stones proved to be a "game within a game". The stones are clearly signposted from the B4348 at Dorstone, on the Hay-on-Wye road in Herefordshire, I was informed. "You can't miss them!" This may indeed be the case, if your idea of CLEARLY SIGNPOSTED, is a tiny little sign, half hidden in a hedgerow. But as I can only be bothered reading big signs, the sort that don't require the optical capabilities of a NASA spy-satellite to see them, we kept missing the turn! Eventually we did spot it (it's on the brow of a very steep little hill and appears, at first glance, to be the entrance to a farm: there how hard was that?), and we drove up to the stones. Sorry I'll just repeat that, we DROVE...UP TO...THE STONES. Yes you really can! You can actually drive right up there, right to the stones, not quite close, not "ooh! I can see them" from the car close, but right next to them! Rollright Stones eat your heart out!
Arthur's Stone is a Neolithic burial mound, which has been exposed to the elements during its brief four thousand or so years. The capstone, I am told, weighs in at a massive 25 tons! That's big! Unfortunately it has been cracked in half, but it remains in place, so you still get the full effect. The tomb has an unusual feature on one side; a small row of stones that, when covered, would have enabled a person to crawl into the main chamber of the tomb and visit with the ancestors. I guess this would also of allowed for a tranquil mellow moment, who's to say? Arthur, to his credit, was clearly a man with an eye for the aesthetic, for his stones hold commanding views of the surrounding countryside, placed, as they are, on the ridge south of Bredwardine. The little road leading to the stones has a high hedge running down one side, focusing your view on the stones and the surrounding landscape. Brilliant!
We didn't see a single other person while we were visiting Arthur's Stone. We saw no cars, no kids, no nothing really. I can't promise you the same if you decide to go and see for yourself, but if you enjoy your day half as much as I did, it will be worth it! Trust a man who knows!
To be in England in the Summer Time.