The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Cuckoo Ball

Chambered Tomb


After leaving Western Beacon (30.8.2010), we head generally northeast, following whatever sheep tracks we can. There is no particular path heading towards Cuckoo Ball and the bracken is at its highest at this time of year. Eventually we reach a post and wire fence, itself almost hidden beneath the summer vegetation. We follow it along for a while, in the knowledge that the tomb is close to it. However, after a short while the fence turns due east and I realise we had gone in the wrong direction. Turning back, we follow the fence southwest for a while, doubling back over the route we had come. At another turn, this time to face south, a bit of rock breaks the surface of the green sea of bracken. We've found it!

Luckily the two surviving (leaning) uprights are very substantial and big enough to be seen even at this time of year. In fact, once located, the bracken immediately around the wrecked chamber was much more patchy and we are able to have a decent poke about. It's difficult to get a sense of what used to be here, the two uprights could have supported a capstone to rival the Cornish quoits. A real rarity on Dartmoor (Spinster's Rock excepted), even in its ruined state this is definitely worth a visit. It's also off the tops and tors, so little visited I suspect - we don't see anyone in the vicinity while we're here. The ground slopes away to the south, towards the fertile farmland of the South Hams. The slopes of Ugborough Beacon fill the view to the east. A pleasant place to spend some time on a sunny day.

But, as ever, we have places to be. We head off roughly north along another sheep track, hoping to find the remains of Butterdon Hill long cairn, another of Dartmoor's rare Neolithic survivors.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
4th December 2011ce
Edited 4th December 2011ce

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