What lies beneath
You'd never know that laying just beneath your feet on Minchinhampton Common is one of the largest and most significant ancient scheduled monuments in the country.
There's more to Minchinhampton Common than just the view. It hides a long and intersting past that dates back over 5,500 years.
Archaeologists are still uncovering its past but they're getting very excited about what they're finding. Most prominent are The Bulwarks - the defensive earthworks which run for well over a mile across the common. These earthworks form the remains of a possible Iron Age settlement of the Belgic Dobunni tribe.
Nearby, there's a Neolithic long barrow called Whitfield's Tump. Long barrows are said to be among the oldest structures ever built and are basically collective tombs. Whitfield's Tump was named after a Methodist preacher who preached to over 10,000 people from the top of the earthwork in 1743. A licence still exists today for services to be held on the mound.
The landscape that you see today is also marked with dozens of small pits, thought to be the remains of trees uprooted or blown down by the wind, as well as the remains of World War II glider traps.
We do not allow metal detecting on the commons. We know most metal detectorists have a genuine interest in history and archaeology and take care to report their finds, but we need to guard against finds being removed without proper recording or archaeological supervision.
The commons have archaeological potential and have been entrusted to our care for the benefit of everyone - when finds are taken out of context we lose a piece of the jigsaw, making it harder for us to care for the archaeology and tell the stories of the commons.