January 23 – Sutton Hoo – A Walk around the Burial Mounds at Sutton Hoo

Hoo Goes there?

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

Another cold day but not raining anymore so we decided to go to Sutton Hoo again, this time to walk around the grounds and see the burial mounds. As were we driving in we saw a wooden carved head and helmet of the King buried in the Sutton Hoo ship by the entrance way. Mike stopped the car to take a photo and I realised there was a cache 40 m away so I set off to find it. When Mike rejoined me a car pulled up to ask if we needed any help. He recognised us from visiting the exhibition as he is one of the rangers of Sutton Hoo. We assured him that we were fine and just looking for the geocache and he left us with a friendly wave. We followed the walking trail to the circular walk and found ourselves down near the River Deben and a small cluster of five or six houses called Little Sutton Hoo. There was a geocache around here somewhere but we do not seem to be getting any closer. The part of the track that goes off through a forested area was ribboned off as out of bounds after Storm David a few nights ago had felled some trees which still needed clearing. We continued up the hill and there at the top were the mounds. They were all fenced off so Mike went left and I went right to find a way in. I got to within 19 m of another geocache but it was through the ribboned off area so I waited for Mike to come right around the site. There was a viewing platform for all the burial mounds and right in front of it is the one where the longship was found in 1939 with a description panel detailing the entire site. At least six mounds have never been excavated and one has been reconstructed to its original size which makes for quite a daunting sight.

Besides the burial mound site is a huge pig farm and we enjoyed watching the pigs snuffling around the site. Then Mike quickly slipped through the gate to find the geocache and he left our latest geocoin there too. On our way back across the site we saw a man coming towards us, he waved so we waved back. Then he called and the flock of 20 sheep that we had been watching all rushed towards him. He was one of the sites tour guides and although the house and exhibition area are not open today he had come to check on the sheep who were as tame as pets. Even the two rams which curly horns in the opposite paddock came to his call. for a rub on the nose. The white sheep in the photos are Whitefaced Woodland sheep and the brown ones are Manx Loaghtan sheep. We talked to the tour guide for quite some time about sheep, New Zealand, Sutton Hoo and our exhibition. Then a local archaeologist Angus Wainwright came past trying to keep a map of the site from blowing in his face without much success. We talked to him on the way back to the car.

We went into Woodbridge and walked around the Tide Mill and the Longshed area and then up into the town to have a look at the shops as we have not had an opportunity to before. We passed a sculpture called ‘Hands’ by Rick Kirby who also made the display helmet up at Sutton Hoo. We also saw a blue plaque on a house wall where Bernard Barton, a Quaker and Lyric Poet lived from 1784-1849.