Coldrum Neolithic long barrow
       
     
Coldrum nestling below the North Downs
       
     
The main chamber
       
     
Coldrum Neolithic long barrow
       
     
Coldrum Neolithic long barrow

I’d been meaning to visit Coldrum for what seemed like an eternity. It would pop into my head as I was lurching around the M25 after a hard days slog in London, but usually I’d find myself too tired, the light would be fading or the weather not quite right. So despite the on/off rain showers my wife Alison and I decided to try a visit on the way to friends in North Kent and, as it turned out, it couldn’t have been much better. I was a bit surprised once we’d located it that it wasn’t perched on the edge of the North Downs, which is how I’d always pictured it, but nestling in the valley below on a small raised platform of a hill. The views from here, however, are quite wonderful as your gaze tumbles along the bottom of the downs and across the surrounding fields and I doubt whether that view will have changed very much in the past 5000 years considering it’s isolation. Somebody else who turned up while we were there informed us that most of the surrounding land is to become a vineyard in the near future and I wondered how that might impact on the site.

As we were there as the sun was going down everything seemed to have that warm glow about it and the light gave the stones that extra strength and definition so reminiscent of childhood evenings in Wiltshire when we’d drive out to places like West Kennet and Avebury and the stance of the site is not unlike the Wiltshire sites as well. The only detraction was that some imbecile had written the word ‘DEVIL’ on one of the burial chamber stones in charcoal but it must have been a while ago and it had faded and would probably disappear with the next good rain fall. The other thing that was interesting and which has been noted here before is the strange blueness of the stones once they’re in shadow. I couldn’t work out if this was just due to the comparison between the lit and unlit stone or perhaps something to do with the lichens that cover them and how they interact with light? 

So what a delight and a place that I’m itching to get back to, along with the nearby Chestnuts at Addington, which we didn’t get to see on this occasion, but would be interesting to compare.

 

Coldrum nestling below the North Downs
       
     
Coldrum nestling below the North Downs
The main chamber
       
     
The main chamber