Annual blessing of the bower ceremony takes place in Whitehill

Sunday 26th June 2022 6:00 am
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Gilbert White reads excerpts from his journal at the Walldown Earthworks Blessing of the Bower ceremony in Whitehill on June 11th 2022.
Gilbert White reads excerpts from his journal (Whitehill Town Council )

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The 2022 bower on Walldown was built with the help of Year 3 pupils from Woodlea Primary School in Whitehill.

According to Gilbert White, in 1789, it was renewed annually by the farm at Blackmoor but now the role has been inherited by rangers and volunteers from the Deadwater Valley Trust, with assistance from Woodlea.

The bower – a tree bough shelter – is built on top of Walldown Earthworks, a Scheduled Ancient Monument above Alpine Road, Whitehill.

Excavations by the Woolmer Forest Heritage Society in 2015 revealed a ditch profile consistent with an Iron Age context for the ditches.

Gilbert White wrote the annual renewal of the bower on the feast of St Barnabas – held on June 11 – was a custom looked upon as of “extreme antiquity”.

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