In Search of Childe’s Tomb
We are staying in Axbridge, this little town, because it is centrally located to two of the sights Jon and Anna want to see: Childe’s Tomb in Dartmoor to the west and the ancient stones of Stonehenge and Avebury to the east. According to Google Maps, it’s about an hour to an hour and a half ride each way to each destination. It also, as it turns out, is close to the home of my random Words With Friends opponent (and a worthy one she is, too!) Nicky.
Yes, I’m an addict to Words With Friends (Anybody want to play?? Look me up!! I’ll warn you, I’m pretty good – or very lucky!). A couple of months ago, tired of waiting for my current Friends to make a move (love you guys!), I opted to try a game with a random player. I got Nicky. After a bit of chatting, I found out that she lives near Glastonbury, which is near Axbridge. After more chatting (to make sure she wasn’t some, I don’t know, weirdo), I decided to reach out and see if she wanted to get together when I was there. (ref: Julie’s rules of travel) We made a plan to meet on the way home from Dartmoor. How cool is that?
So, I thought that we would go to see this Childe’s Tomb place, then have time to drive to Wells Cathedral for Evensong, then meet Nicky at the local watering hole, The Sheppey. Yeah, we can do that.
However, Childe’s Tomb was not on any map. We get to the edge of Dartmoor, hoping someone can tell us how to find the trail that leads to it. The ladies at the tourist office have never heard of it, but they send us to a place that can help us, about a half-hour drive away through the 356 square mile park. It’s really a nice drive, though (although the roads are a little narrow for my taste) and we stop for ice cream on the edge of the moors. The tourist office near the Dartmoor Prison says that there’s no marked trail leading to this Childe’s Tomb and it’s a couple of miles walk through the wilderness from where you can park.
We stop for a quick lunch, then go out to see if we can find it. We park and it’s just wilderness – weeds, rocks, and sheep – for miles in every direction. I’m not sure where to go to find this tomb, but we head off down a trail. After about 15 minutes, I personally have had enough, but the kids seem to be reveling in the starkness of this place. I readjust my sightseeing schedule and we head off across the moors. We found canals, cows, overprotective live sheep and a couple of dead ones. Ancient stone circles and a line of stones leading to it that I later found out date from the Bronze Age, maybe 3000 BC. Ancient crosses marking some ancient graves and a pile of rocks that made an excellent viewpoint. Over the hill there’s an abandoned farm on a stream. It’s been 4 hours with several miles under our feet and still no Childe’s Tomb. We’ve looped back closer to the car and decide to call it a day. Childe’s Tomb is still out there waiting, but I think in the search we made some even greater discoveries.
It’s almost 8pm when we reach The Sheppey and meet Nicky. She finds us a place to park along the narrow lane and we go in to meet her husband and some of the guys in her theater group. We hit it off right away. Unfortunately, the kids are starving (well, we all are) and the pub is closed for food. Nicky’s husband rustles up some potato chips and bread and olives, with some soda for Jon, juice for Anna, beer for Morgan and cider for me. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture! I was pretty tired by that time, though, we all were, and when it started to get dark, we had to go. Such a shame! Next time (because now I must attend the Glastonbury Festival – the Rolling Stones are performing this year!) I’ll stay longer.
Back to Chedway, the grocery is still open and we can get food. All is well.