|Catshole Downs Long Cairn - 28.3.2004
For directions etc, see the main Catshole Downs page.
This long trip is worth it for this alone. A huge rarity and relatively easy to find (once you get to the general area), especially if you've previously seen a picture of it. You can also spot it from Tolborough Tor.
From Tolborough Tor head for the gate in the angled bit of the field (circa SX171782). Note -the downs were pretty swampy in places when I visited (& more swampy than other upland areas in Devon & Cornwall). The Long Cairn is then 100m away just to the right of the old field wall.
What does a Long Cairn look like? Imagine a small long barrow, made of stones instead of earth, in a triangular shape, typically 17 to 30 m long sometimes with traces of internal structure. At Catshole you can see the large-ish front stone, and from there you can make out what might have been flanking stones, and a small litter of stones in the interior. They are of the fourth millennia BC.
Peter Herring and Peter Rose, in 'Bodmin Moor's Archaeological Heritage' (Cornwall County Council - 2001), map three long cairns on the moor, with three other possibilities. They suggest that the Catshole long cairn is carefully aligned to the east part of Catshole Tor. What I can add is that the cairn in general does align with the west cairn on Catshole Tor, the south cairn on Brown Willy, and the Tolborough Tor Cairn, although the long cairn can only been seen from the Tolborough Tor Cairn, whereas the other three can all be seen from one another.
This post appears as part of the weblog entry Looking down on Kernow
Posted by pure joy
4th April 2004ce
Edited 4th April 2004ce