The DPA volunteers (and you can join us!) started a new project on Wednesday 26th August 2015 on Mardon Down.  This is an area that is rich with Bronze Age archaeology as well as more recent features, particularly from WWII. The meeting point was beside the Headless Cross, otherwise known as the Maximajor Stone after the the local giant, Maximajor, became tired of his final resting place in the nearby Giant’s Grave (on top of Mardon Down) and rose up and wandered off, only to be petrified at this point.

We were met by some of the Mardon Down Commoners who showed us a nearby feature of unknown history but thought to be a raised platform surrounded by a drainage ditch and (originally) a fence for storing bracken to be used as animal bedding – possibly Medieval or later. We then had a brief tour of the other main features of the site before starting work.

The purpose of the project is to clear scrub, mainly gorse, from the Bronze Age cairns and stone circle on the summit of the Down. With five brush cutters, a good start  was made, working from a little after 10 am until 3.30 pm.  There were 11 of us – Bob Bruce, Chris Francis, David Auty, Derek Collins, Geoff Bond, Hilary Luce, Keith Ryan, Peter Butcher, Stephen Barrow, Sylvia Hamilton and Val Barns. There were also 7 Commoners, led by Jonathan White.

In view of the wet weather over the preceding days, we were lucky to have had no rain! The squelch factor of the ground walking up to the work site was quite high, so it had obviously been raining there.

A great help at the end of the day was the carrying of the tools and rucksacks back down to our cars by the Commoners in their four-wheel drive vehicles – it certainly saved us some effort at the end of an energetic day.

Here are some photographs from the day …..

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An stone with an unusual arrangement regarding its relationship with the ground, with there being a hollow underneath.

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Mostly Commoners, hard at work.

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This cow moved into a cleared area and decided to stay.

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Bell heather.

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Forking cut gorse into a “drag-bag”.

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A gorse bush smothered with the parasitic plant, Dodder.

The following three photographs show close-ups of the Dodder, Cuscuta epithymum,  see also Wikipedia – Cuscuta and Wikipedia – Cuscuta epithymum …..

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Cattle move into the newly-cleared WWII mortar pit.

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The DPA volunteers with two of the Commoners.

Believed Shaggy Parasols, seen when walking back to the car park.

Believed Parasols (Lepiota procera) or Shaggy Parasols (Lepiota rhacodes), seen when walking back to the car park.