Keys to the Past

Favourite Sites - Stan Beckensall

Local rock-art expert Stan Beckensall writes about the place that first inspired his important work on the prehistoric cup and ring marks of the north-east:

I find myself saying at talks, 'This is a favourite place of mine,' about far too many! If I am pushed, it has to be Old Berwick Moor.

This is not surprising, as the first chapter of my Northumberland: the Power of Place is devoted to it and begins with my poetry. A road to Damascus: there I was, inspired at a huge decorated block near to a hillfort, to explore prehistoric rock art - a quest that has led me to some inaccessible and exciting places all over Britain.

I directed the excavation of the Blawearie cairns there. But it is more than prehistory; for the place has mystery, beauty, layers of time that are revealed in so many things: the village, church and records - especially those neglected log books of the local school. It has Blawearie house - a kind of oasis of growth in the moorland.

There is, above all, an indefinable power and beauty that discoveries add to.

I have just completed my long-thought-about novel that is based on this area, so watch this space.

Blawearie

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