|Visited 9th March 2014
Another session of Google Earth scrying along with Ocifants excellent directions, led me to believe this site would be easily to visit on the way home from our holiday in Cornwall. So with the sun blazing down from a clear sky, and with the car packed and ready for home, we started our journey north with at least the promise of a stone circle on the way to keep our spirits up.
Heading north we took a left turn off the A30 signposted ‘St Breward 4’, which I recognised from my earlier Google reconnaissance, and heading across the small moorland road, we first saw what appeared to be several small standing stones dotted about, along with a variety of other interesting looking lumps and bumps.
Soon we spotted the circle itself off to our right, the telegraph pole right next to it providing an unmissable landmark. I’d intended to turn right at the first crossroads up the farm track towards the circle and park near Hawkstor farm, but on arrival the track looked in a poor state, a huge gouge out of the surface leaving a nasty dip to be negotiated in order to pass. Fearing for the car’s suspension, and with still another 250 miles to drive before getting home, I decided not to risk it and instead turned left towards Treswigga, and taking the example of another couple of cars, pulled up on the spacious verge.
No maps were needed today, the visibility perfect, the stones of the circle beckoning to us across the moor. The pull of a previously unvisited site causes me to hurry past what looks like a small stone row, but I vow to investigate on the way back, and soon I’m here in the centre of the stones, looking out over the empty moorland and soaking up the atmosphere. As Postie says, there is a feeling of ‘bigness’ here far out of scale with the actual size of the stones or circle, probably the wide skies and open moorland give it a sense of a larger landscape.
The circle of eleven remaining stones (or is it twelve, we seemed to get different results each time we counted!) looks as if it’s had a battering over the ages, but I’m pleased to see that currently there are no signs of erosion by livestock around the stones themselves. A small central stone, and two further outliers which line up to it intrigue, but on closer investigation it’s clear that they don’t fit with the rest of the circle, the carvings of ‘M’ and ‘C’ on them pretty much confirming their use as boundary stones across the moor. Normally this sort of interference with a site would annoy me, particularly when it’s a result of the imposition of artificial fences or boundaries that impact on things (I’ll stop there before I start on a rant about the ‘ownership’ of land!), but here it just sort of fits in. In fact there is an absolute air of relaxation about the whole visit. Maybe it’s the unseasonable warmth of the sun, maybe it’s just the vibe of the place but I’m feeling particularly laid back, and just suffused with an aura of happiness and wellbeing. Ellen feels it too, so it’s not just me coming over all hippyish, and we sit in the circle with a flask of coffee and some very lovely chocolate muffins from the bakers in St. Just, and just chill out. On a day like this people will be flocking to the Cornish beaches, but nice as it is to be beside the seaside, I’d rather be here on a lonely moor, away from the crowds at this lovely ancient place. A couple of dog walkers are visible in the distance, but no-one else seems to pay the circle any mind, or intrude on our blissful solitude.
While Ellen goes off to take photographs I recline on a recumbent stone and feel so completely relaxed I’m almost drifting off to sleep, the gentle susurrations of the traffic from the nearby A30 and the tweeting of birds providing a soothing soundtrack, and from my prone position looking around it’s almost as if the circle sits within a natural amphitheatre of hills, with the rocky outcrops of Carbilly and Hawk’s Tor looming large on the horizon, and the moon visible in the sky hanging over the circle only enhancing the numinous atmosphere.
I’d love to have visited the nearby Stipple stones while we were here, but we’d already spent nearly two hours at the circle, and with a pint at the Jamaica Inn calling, and a further four hours of driving ahead of us before reaching home, we had to drag ourselves away.
This place has been a revelation though, probably the perfect combination of fine weather, the endpoint of a great holiday and the giddy excitement of going to a site for the first time, means it’s exceeded all expectations. Knowing now how easy it is to get to, I can see this being a regular stop off when we come down to Cornwall again.
Posted by Ravenfeather
28th March 2014ce