The Cuckoo Bush Mound

L to R: Stan Watson, Allen Gorringe and Andrew Vickers
L to R: Stan Watson, Allen Gorringe and Andrew Vickers

The Cuckoo Bush mound is situated at the top of Court Hill the south of the village.  Walk up Hill Road, over Gypsum Way and follow the bridle path straight up the hill to the top.  The mound is situated just inside the corner of the wood where the path to West Leake forms a cross roads with the Gotham – East Leake path.

The mound is the alleged site for the tale of the Wise Men of Gotham’s attempt at fencing in the cuckoo. The wise men thought that the cuckoo was the harbinger of spring and summer, a time of plenty, and what better than to have good weather and good crops all year round? By keeping the cuckoo in the village surely good weather would remain all year and everyone would be well fed and warm always. Their attempt to fence the cuckoo in a bush failed when the bird flew away. The Gothamites had built the fence too low!

In fact the mound is a Neolithic burial mound. It is about three thousand years old and it was excavated in 1847. It contained two rock cut graves each with a burial; one with a flint spearhead and a bronze pin. The mound is roughly 20m in diameter and 1.5m high with a shallow ditch around its perimeter.

The land on which the mound stands is now owned by British Gypsum Ltd and with the go ahead of their head of environment, Allen Gorringe, two modern day Gothamites, Andrew Vickers and Stan Watson, cleared the mound over the winter period of its invading brambles and foliage and erected a mock fence around the site so that visitors can appreciate the splendour of this historic mound.

Why not go out for a walk and take in the mound? In April it was awash with a sea of bluebells. Stand on the mound and imagine no trees around you. The view over the Fairham Brook flood plain and Trent valley beyond would have been a dominant site for the graves of our Bronze Age forebears who lie interred in this barrow.

Andrew Vickers