John Kemp

On the byway,

off the highway,

are you resting, chief and churl,

sleeping easy, dreaming sweetly,

under cloud and wind and soil?


One who passes, pauses,

sleeps at night,

then travels onwards northwards,

salutes the sleepers under sod,

salutes the wind-blown leaning grasses,

shares your ancient journey,

shares your god.



The Wansdyke is a mysterious defensive wall, which snakes east-west across the West Country downs between Inkpen Beacon and the Severn River.

It appears to be one of a series of fortifications erected by Romano-Britons in late roman or early post-roman period, probably to repel the Saxons moving in from the north and east. It may be associated, as is the more southerly Bokerly Dyke in Dorset, with the the British leader Ambrosious Aurelianus and the legendary warrior leader Arthur.

Main Location:

Wansdyke, Marlborough Downs, Wiltshire, UK

View of the Wansdyke near Horton Down in Wiltshire.

The Wansdyke (Gillie Rhodes) / CC BY-SA 2.0