Weston Wood Mound

Plan of Weston Wood Mound

268_1+ Weston Wood Mound-page-0

: The path at the top of the above plan is the main prehistoric trackway through Surrey, popularly known as the Pilgrim’s Way, which followed the North Downs from Kent through to Salisbury Plain.

THE MESOLITHIC SETTLEMENT.

: I have recently unearthed a sketch plan from the Surrey Archaeological Society archives of the excavation in Weston Wood of the Neolithic or Mesolithic settlement carried out c1961-3.  The plan covers an area of fifty metres square.  It shows a trackway running from the south-east towards the north-west, with various post holes and points of interest, and with two areas of ploughed field to the east side.  The excavation was carried out by an amateur team and appears rather inadequate by today’s standards. Indeed I believe that the notes for this excavation have still not been published after half a century.  Unfortunately, this site has long been eaten away by sand extraction and is now a restored landfill site.

Weston Wood Excavation 1964

The Newlands Line is on a bearing of 132 degrees from Grid North.  The trackway on the plan is at the bearing of about 152 degrees using the given north point, so is some twenty degrees at variance.  The Ancient Monument symbol on the OS is about forty metres to the north-east of the line.

The excavation plan is a fairly poor sketch, not drawn very carefully by today’s standards.  I suspect that the site of excavation was located very approximately in this area of scrubby land near the edge of the encroaching sand extraction with no local detail to tie into the Ordnance Survey.  There is nothing to suggest that this settlement had any importance and it would seem a coincidence that it falls upon the alignment, with just a slight possibility that the inhabitants may have had some connection with the nearby mound, should this have been a sacred place.

I include this site, not because I have much faith in the relevance of my findings but because I have tried to include as much information as possible to help any future research.

White area is plastic covering on landfill site. The mound would have been just beyond this.

The white area is plastic covering on landfill site. The mound would have been in this area.

Weston Wood Mound was recorded as being about 135 feet in diameter and some five feet high.  The top was flat.  It had been thought that it might have been a landscape feature associated with the parkland of Weston House in Albury, but no evidence as to its origins had ever been established.  It was destroyed by sand extraction in 1998.

The medieval road from the village of Albury to the south ran over the ridge past the mound towards Newlands Corner in the north-west.  The age of the mound had always been a matter of controversy.  In the Surrey Archaeological Society, Vol 60 of 1963, W Crawford Knox theorised that the medieval road went around the mound in a manner that suggested that the mound predated the road.  An excavation revealed little, but notably, a coin of c1750 was found beneath the clay capping, suggesting the possibility that the ancient structure may have been modified as a landscape feature.

Albury New Church

The site of the mound in the landfill looking over Albury Parish Church

The most popular website used by enthusiasts of prehistoric monuments is The Megalithic Portal.  A search for Weston Wood Platform Mound brings up two photographs submitted by Eileen Roche in 1998 showing the mound shortly before it was destroyed.  In 1999 I began twice-yearly monitoring of the volumes of sand extraction in the pit.  If I had started this contract one year earlier I would have recorded the precise position of the mound on my initial site plan.  Unbelievable that a possible historic monument should be allowed to be destroyed without excavating or recording, but now we shall never know.

The mound viewed from the south-west.  Picture by Eileen Roche.

The mound viewed from the north outside the site office.  Picture by Eileen Roche.

Top of Albury Landfill in the area of the mound

Top of Albury Landfill in the area of the mound in 2018.