Dyffryn and Tinkinswood, 24th June

Lead: Helen

Nine Wanderers set out from Wick on a rather foggy and overcast Monday morning. We drove to Dyffryn Hall, parked up and changed into our boots and were happy that there was no fog away from the coast and it was quite warm dry weather. We walked a short distance along the lane towards St Nicholas before turning left onto the footpath across fields to Tinkinswood. Just before we reached the tomb Liz and Graham pointed out a wooded area where it is thought the stones had been quarried for the burial chamber.

The Tinkinswood Neolithic Tomb was built almost 6000 years ago (a 1000 years before Stonehenge) and held around 50 human bodies. The capstone weighs over 40 tons (more than 4 double decker buses) and is thought to be the largest in Europe. We listened to the recorded information about the tomb, and we read with some interest that legend has it that anyone who spends a night at Tinkinswood on the evenings before May Day, St John’s Day (23 June), or Midwinter Day would either die, go mad, or become a poet; so we had a narrow escape as the walk was 24th June! Interestingly offerings of food had been left at the tomb.

24 june

After spending a while exploring the tomb, we continued across fields that run behind Dyffryn House. The fields were mostly meadow and were very pretty with wild flowers and a lot of butterflies and some pheasants.  One wild flower was not known by anyone in the group and some time was spent trying to use technology to identify it, but the App was quite slow to use and no one was certain that the suggested answer of a Yellow Bethlehem Star was correct. Graham has subsequently looked in his books and suggested it was most likely Black Medick (Medicago lupulina) which is a member of the pea family i.e. vetches, clover etc.

We crossed the stile by Dyffryn Farm and completed the walk back to Dyffryn House along the road.  In all the walk was a very pleasant 2.4 miles.  Some of us then went to the tea room for well-earned refreshments.