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A Rough Tor of Bodmin

It's difficult to believe while standing on the edge of the moors that the land stretching far out across the horizon was once inhabited by ancient man. Rocks scattered into a jumbled mess covering the gorse grass that twists feverously in the wind. With dark clouds looming across the Tor I set off towards the round huts, that I'm sure once stood proud against the magnificent prehistoric backdrop of Rough Tor. With in the confines of the first hut it is easy to marvel at the size of the construction. And I had no difficulty imagining the high pointed roofs stained black from soot rising off the central cooking fires. In the main cluster I counted ten huts in a semi circle. The moor around seemed scattered with small stone walls, their lay out more obvious from the Tor's summit. They formed what looked like plots of land, in my mind fields. There was one defined wall which cut deep between a group of huts, beyond which was a smaller cluster. I left the ancient village my destination the Tor's summit.

The wind battered rocks sculpted over centuries, balance on top of each other. Through the cracks and crevices the wind whistled adding an eerie atmosphere to the already magnetic feeling I felt as I observed the panoramic view across Bodmin. Below to the South of Rough Tor lies the Fernacre Stones. This is a very large circle, which keeps within the tradition of others in the area. As I walked around the stones I counted over 70 stones, 40 of which have stayed standing over the centuries. It's not impressive in height as some of the megaliths barely peep above ground level. But it is obvious that in the soft peat they have become deeply embedded and over the years have sunk below the height they were originally erected at.

I travelled west from the Fernacre stones towards Louden Hill. I was on rout to find the Louden Minhers, two parts of a collapse platform cairn. One stone stood tall against the darkening overcast sky, cutting a fine silhouette. The other stone had unfortunately fallen at some point over the years, it now rest majestically nestled amongst the grasses. Nearby to these two megaliths lies the remains of another ruinous village lost to time and the evolution of man.

Continuing west I aimed for the Stannon Stones, on my approach I came across a cairn circle jutting from the ground. Four stones stood proud in a semi circle whil a circle of fallen stones surrounded them and finishing the semi circle lay the remaining stones. The cairn came as a surprise to me; I wasn't looking for it and new nothing of its existence so it came as a complete surprise to me. I welcomed the moment to gaze upon them. Only a few meters in diameter it is a delight to see. As the light looked as if it were fading I needed to press on to my destination of the Stannon Stones.

I finally they came into view of them, a circle with huge dimensions, its size not dissimilar to Fernacre. Again like the previous circle the stones a low to the ground, but I couldn't help in wondering if they hadn't been a lot taller at one point. Again the enemy of time, allowing them to sink into the soft peat. The power of such at site keeps the air magnetic. Stannon Stone circle brought the end of my hike on Bodmin. I left the car park close to Rough Tor farm and made my way past ancient settlement and monuments. I came to the realisation that there is so much to see on these more that one visit would know where be enough. But for me this time round I had run out of time to ponder on this place. The light was waning and dark clouds gathered over head. I had no wish to be stranded here as the rain came lashing down, so I headed back to my car and then onto a hot bath at my hotel. Its well worth the time to wander these moor's there is so much of what once was and is now lost to us. In time I shall go back and make my way to King Arthur's Hall and explore that side of the moors. The power that runs through the surrounding country side leaves you with no doubt why our ancestors built here. The scenery is breath taking and every thing about it brings back my dreams of an ancient time.

shadowmonkey Posted by shadowmonkey
22nd September 2005ce

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