Set at the top of Inkpen Hill on a Neolithic long barrow close to the Hampshire/Berkshire border is the eerie monument of Combe Gibbet. Only ever put to its grisly use once in 1676, today a replica gibbet marks the site.
The original gibbet was erected to display the bodies of George Broomham and Dorothy Newman. Broomham and Newman were having an affair and were hanged for murdering Broomham’s wife and son after they discovered them together on the downs. Unfortunately for the lovers, the murder was witnessed by “Mad Thomas”, who managed to convey what he had seen to the authorities. After the 1676 gibbet rotted, a total of seven replica gibbets have stood in its place, the most recent having been erected in 1992.
What is also fascinating is that it was erected on the top of a Neolithic long barrow. This well preserved earthern mound is about 65m long, with ditches on either side, and is a Scheduled Monument in recognition of its national importance.
The gibbet is just a stone’s throw from Walbury Hill, the highest point in south-east England. Far-reaching views stretch before you while red kites float at eye-level.
Wander up to the Gibbet – less than a mile from the car park along a sloping gravel track – to take in the views or embark on a more strenuous circular route along part of the Test Way and down into Combe Wood.
What3Words (car park): pins.youths.besotted
Grid Ref (car park): SU370620