|The Merrivale complex - 28.12.2002
Merrivale was another site not so easy to spot in the Dartmoor fog. Coming from the West it should be relatively easy to find. As you pass through the hamlet of Merrivale (recognisable by it's pub and it's quarry), you start to go up hill and a lay-by is placed on your right hand side (south). Walk up over the lay-by and you can't really fail to bump into at least one of the stone rows, a few hundred metres away. If coming from the East it is similar, but this time the lay-by is not long after the TV mast, as you go down hill.
And Merrivale has a lot. Plan to spend some serious time here. The stone rows, the stone circle, a standing stone, barrows, cairns, lots of rocks, and even a less old boundary stone designed to confuse a little.
Apart from all the more well know stuff in most of the books I thought it was also of interest to wonder about the lesser known scatterings of ancient remnants like the barrow about half way along the South row, the barely perceivable stone row leading from the South row towards an outlier, and the stones around the standing stone to the South of the stone circle. The centre of the barrow mentioned above contained the fag end of a Marlboro Light (naturally). I'm no smoking fascist, but if you do smoke please at least take it home with you. The small stone row starts from a barrow towards the West end of the South row. I counted 13 stones (some barely tiny specks sticking out of the ground) in this row, starting from a barrow and moving towards the larger outlier. It looks like there is a barrow just a few steps to the east of the standing stone, plus 3 small stones behind it (to the south) as if part of a row. 2 other similar sized stones stand close to the standing stone, looking suspicious. A recumbent stone (210cm long)
lies just to the East of the standing stone. It wasn't until I later read Aubrey Burls 'Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany' (1995) that my suspicions made sense. He says it was once erect and it was a pair of standing stones.
At the other end of the complex, I found it difficult to make out all of the 5 cairns marked on the map amid the boundary work, but it's worth a wander.
Posted by pure joy
6th January 2003ce