Another week in Cornwall, and this time round the focus was to be on Wells and Crosses, also to fill in some gaps...
An early start from London as usual saw us make good time, and we approached Dartmoor around 7:30am. The first scheduled stop was Meacombe Farm and the Cleave burial chamber.
Visited 21/5/5. Noted elsewhere as 'Meacombe Cist'.
Parking is difficult. Best places seem to be the next gate up to the north, or a bit further to the south, by the farm entrance.
I couldn't get close to the actual chamber without trespassing into a field full of a quantity of bovine population with young, so I chickened out and contented myself with the long view through the herd.
We continued onto Dartmoor itself and my second target: Grimspound.
What a fantastic place! From the layby, walk up the steps then keep up the hill till the stream is heard. Keep the stream on the right until a 'stone path' is seen. Follow the path to the settlement - the path continues on up to Hookney Tor.
There's a real sense of loss here – it's easy to imagine the bustling community that once existed within the encircling wall with its three entrances.
Continuing round Challacombe Down to rejoin the B3212, I spotted the Soussons Common Cairn Circle on the right and skidded to a halt!
This is a neat little 'fairy' circle on the edge of the plantation with a stone cist in the centre. Plonkers had lit a fire within the cist. FFS why?
With time moving on, after a brief stop in Postbridge we continued the journey toward Cornwall.
The next scheduled stop was Kit Hill, and having driven up to the peak, there is just so much industrial archaeology here, mostly dated from the WW1 Tin Mine that it was difficult to identify the much earlier earthworks we were hoping to see. They were not marked on the information boards either, so we continued on, heading northwards back to the A30 and Lewannick.
Close by to the church (down past the village pub), is Blaunder's Well, an old sacred spring, but despite asking a local farmer, I failed to locate it this time round.
Although there were a few more sites in the area I wanted to see, Mikki called a halt and we drove directly on into Penzance. We've got all week!
Up early the next day, Try was the first target for the day
I parked the car at Chysauster car park and walked along the road to the footpath at SW465347. The woman at the house next to the footpath advised me to avoid the horses in the field as they can become a 'bit too friendly'. Following the footpath across the first stile (into a roped off corner of the horse's field), this was easily done by jinking into the next field through a gate (horses in field), and returning at the far corner by dodging under the fence which appears to have been designed for exactly that purpose.
After the second stile, the footpath is poorly defined, but I headed straight across the meadow as depicted on the map to a stile hidden in the undergrowth of the hedge. After this third stile, the stone can be seen on the far side of the second field on the left. I couldn't find a way into this field (the footpath carries on up to Try Farm, but is very poorly defined from here).
Sadly, in the evening I found that the photos I'd taken had mysteriously disappeared from the camera! This meant I had to return later in the week, when it was much dryer than the 8am dew flood I'd encountered this time round.
A major bugbear of mine is that I've never managed to locate the stone at Carfury, so that was our next scheduled stop. However, once again I was to be foiled! A heavy downpour (and I mean heavy) prevented much exploration as the stream had overflowed onto the footpath, making it almost impassable. To be honest, I'm not even certain I was in the right place, as the vegetation prevented use of my GPS. This will stay on the list for next time…
As the weather was inclement, we decided to drive around for a while, up around Bodrifty Mine, then down toward Lamorna.
Stopping at the Pipers, I noticed that a sign that had been placed on one of the stones last year (saying 'do not remove' and not covering anything obvious!) was no longer present. What was all that about then? Another 'mystery of the stones'…
A quick stop off to take a look at the St Buryan churchyard crosses, then it was into St Just and the 'Cook Book'. I can't recommend this place highly enough. A combination café and bookshop with wonderful home-made soups and a really friendly welcome.
As the weather broke, I decided to whizz quickly up to the Tregeseal circle to check on last year's fire damage.
It's a stiff old walk up from the bottom of the village, but just over a year on from the unintentional scorching the stones received (see News), they appear to be healing well. Most of the burnt lichen has been removed, and the stones look in good condition. I didn't notice any obvious cracking on the stones I inspected closely.
The afternoon was booked for retail therapy in Truro, but I took the liberty of grabbing a couple of sites from tomorrow's itinerary: The Ignioc Stone at St Clements, and the 'Noti' Stone at St Hilary's, squeezing in a cream tea at the Handy Shop in Sithney on the way!
The churchyard at St Hilary was incredibly poorly tended and very overgrown. Luckily, the inscribed stone and crosses lay either side of the path up to the church and are in plain view.
(more to follow in part 2)
Posted by ocifant
6th June 2005ce
Edited 17th October 2006ce
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