It’s been really busy at Tinkinswood over the past week, lots of vegetation clearance, but also lots being revealed. We are now in the last stages before the excavations begin on the 22nd of October. The excavations will be open each weekend: 29th/30th of October, and the 5th/6th of November. But now, we have another guest blog by Carl who volunteers with BTCV, working to remove all those trees and brush – and all by hand!
Hello! My name is Carl Newis, and I am a long-term volunteer with BCTV. BCTV is an International volunteering organization supporting conservation initiatives in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
Our group of volunteers is currently working at Tinkinswood burial chamber, in conjunction with Cadw. This is a Neolithic burial mound or dolmen located not far from Dyffryn house and gardens. We’ve been here about five weeks now, and the project has been one of the best I’ve ever worked on.
The dolmen and mound are around six thousand years old. They’ve been there since before the pyramids! The cap-stone weighs around forty tons, and is the largest (or one of the largest) in Europe. There are several sources of information on the web about Tinkinswood, so I’m not going to repeat them. Suffice to say it’s an impressive sight, rich in local tradition.
The burial mound is surrounded by a semi-circle of trees, mainly hawthorn. We’re clearing a two metre area around the mound of all the trees, and we’ve cut a vista through part of the semi-circle in the direction of Dyffryn house.
It’s been pretty heavy going. Hawthorn trees are very tough to cut up, with one-inch spikes that manage to catch you every time. We’ve got about five or six piles of cut up trees, and we’re currently in the process of moving these from where they’ve been felled to a safe area, where they’re being burnt. This is quite long winded, because we have to drag the branches to a fence, lift them over, and then take them to the burning area. Luckily we all work well as a team, so it’s going smoothly.
Once we’ve finished the current phase, then there are some other stones which are in a copse of hawthorn trees. We’re going to build a fence around the stones, which may have been where the capstone was found. This will allow visitors to take a look, but which will allow sheep through to graze, then we’re going to remove the hawthorn trees from the area.
We have also been removing trees and brush from another area where there are large stones. There seems to be a mass of stones, and we had to remove a tree with a huge bees nest in it!
I’m thoroughly enjoying our work at Tinkinswood, and I’m glad that BCTV have got involved in this project. It’s a beautiful, interesting place to work.