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

Fordsland Ledge



Wondrously perched upon the terminus of High Willhays' south-western spur, this substantial cairn would have possessed a magnificent view down into the deep defile cradling the West Okement River.... if its (presumably Bronze Age) erectors had seen fit. Needless to say - for whatever reason(s) now lost to the swirling mists for which Dartmoor is famous/infamous (thanks in no small measure to Conan Doyle and that story about the dodgy mutt) - they didn't, the spellbound traveller consequently having to make his way a short distance to the crest in order to peer at the rocky river valley below. Or, even better, to the granite outcropping beside what I assume to be another military observation hut(?) upon Fordsland Ledge itself. It is worth the effort, either option offering certainly one of the finest vistas I've seen in the area. Hey, try both.

The cairn, despite apparently having lost a little height in the century since Crossing's visit (see Misc posts), is nevertheless well defined, its hollow interior sprouting a number of large orthostats irrevocably losing their footing and duly succumbing to Newton's three dicta, albeit to varying degrees. It should be noted that the resulting 'arrangement' does not resemble any standard notion of an archetypal Dartmoor cist. And the professionals reckon a chamber 'unlikely'. However I think it also unlikely that the stones should have been specifically transported here at a later date and erected to form a 'shelter', not with the much less exposed valley just below. Yeah, whatever form it took, I reckon logic suggests there probably was some sort of 'structure' incorporated within this cairn at its genesis. I guess only excavation might determine whether this was subsequently subject to adaptation, perhaps in historic times?

One thing is beyond dispute, however. What a fine hang this place is! The river may be obscured from the gaze of the Citizen Cairn'd lying almost comatose within.... but not the brutal grandeur of the encircling tors. Time slips by, as it must, it eventually dawning upon me that I'd better make a move and find somewhere to sleep. Descending to the approx north-west the shattered rocky tors of Black Tor look well worth a visit. However I find I've less in the 'reserve tank' than I previously thought and press on toward Longstone Hill. Ha! But wait, there's more....
8th July 2014ce
Edited 9th July 2014ce

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