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The Coldrum Stones - Trottiscliffe, Kent

A combination of Le Tour de France and Live Earth meant that the team was thin on the ground for this weekend’s investigation, so those what remained of the team decided to take a break from things ghostly and do some more sky watching. The Coldrums Barrow lies about 1/2km from the Pilgrim's Way, and is clearly signposted from Trottiscliffe village. It belongs to the National Trust and the public has full access at no charge. The barrow apparently takes its name from the nearby farmhouse "Coldrum Lodge" built in 1796. No earlier forms of the name are recorded. It can only be reached on foot.

Coldrum is the best preserved of the Kent megalithic tombs. It is situated overlooking the Medway Valley and provides the perfect viewing platform for watching the night sky. The Barrow is orientated east-west with a rectangular burial chamber of four large sarsens at the east end. The eastern side has fallen down the slope, but the chamber remains and has been partially restored. The mound is surrounded by medium sized sarsen stones which form a peristalith and is about 20 metres long. At the turn of the century there was still a medial stone in the burial chamber.

The site has been excavated many times, one excavation producing the bones of 20+ individuals of varying ages and both sexes confirming its importance as a substantial burial chamber. It is a beautiful and tranquil setting to sit with your own thoughts or to chat with others. The place has an air of peacefulness that surrounds it more so than anywhere else we have experienced. We came here for a few hours once before when we had a time to kill before we started an investigation at the Kings Head in Sutton Valance. I don't think we were prepared for quite how pleasant the place would be. We are not aware of any reports regarding this place and although we have investigated ancient sites before we have not actively investigated this one. We have had such pleasant times there that we would rather keep it as a place to go relax. Nowadays Coldrums is still used as a place for meditation and quiet thought, and the solstices and equinoxes are celebrated here. The overhanging tree is bright with pretty ribbons, corndollies, and other little gifts.

Equipment
Still Cameras, eyes and ears, there is no need to get technical when sky watching.

The Watching
We arrived at the car park at 9.30pm and proceeded to walk along the public footpath passed a few houses and into the fields that lead to the barrow. The night had not quite set in so this was a pleasant walk and for a change you could see where you were walking. By the time we reached the barrow the night had started to draw in and it was not long after that the stars started coming out. We took some time to have a look around the site before we settled down, there were still offerings tied and hung from the large tree to the rear. This is done as some regard this as a place of pagan worship, there has even been pentagrams hanging from the branches before.

We sat down and started watching the sky above us. There are a few reasons to be doing this, astronomy, plane spotting, satelite counting, just loosing yourself in the cosmos and relaxing and dare I even say it, UFO watching! Yep believe it or not if you don't take some time to simply sit and watch the sky you are even less likely to see something, shall we say, unusual. Well lets face it, investigating the paranormal isn't simply restricted ghosts, if it's inexplicable or not normal then it's paranormal.

We spent a few hours here watching the sky, taking pictures of the surrounding fields and the barrow. The horizon gave a fantastic photo opportunity as some rather stormy clouds rolled over the hills. There was also some destruction to the surrounding crops caused by the recent bad weather. Combined these elements gave us good subject matter for some moody black and white shots some of which are below.

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

If you lie there and simply watch the stars you will notice that the occasional star is moving. Initially you find this odd but as you watch it gently arc across the sky the explanation is obvious, a satellite. These can be pinpricks of light no different to the stars around them but the slight and sometimes quite rapid movement gives them away. Planes, hmmmm planes! Well, it's only when you spend the time looking that you realise just how many there are up there at anytime. Who'd be an air traffic controller?

Half way through our time there we did become a little wary as we heard voices around us may be coming from the fields or the footpath and were expecting a group of adolescents to turn up any minute, thankfully this did not happen though and the nervousness passed.

We stayed there until 1.00am when we decided to leave, as we were able to get an early night for a change we thought it best to. The walk out was a little different than the way in, the light had gone but we were prepared with torches.

Results
Well there weren’t many results. We enjoyed taking the moody pictures and fiddling with our cameras for maximum effect, but then we love our gadgets. We saw lots of planes, three satellites, admired the stars and cosmos and certainly lost ourselves for a few hours. Sadly this time we didn't see any shooting stars and there were definitely no UFO's! A good time had by all though.
Conclusion
Certainly a fun night, made a change and very relaxing. A wonderful place and a night to be repeated. Well worth a visit if you get the time, day or night  

7th July 2007

 

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