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Exmoor virgins

"Its my first time", I whispered to no-one as we stepped foot onto exmoor for the first time, at the start of a couple of visits in a weekend also including depressing footy & the beautiful woolacombe beach.

First up the moors just south of Porlock.

Porlock Stone Circle — Fieldnotes

[visited 1/7/6] Having never visited an exmoor site before, I had some trepidation as to how much we'd be able to see in high summer. The answer is, pretty much all of it. This is a weird little thing, about the same diameter as (say) Kingston Russell but with stones that struggled to reach my knees. I liked it but couldn't help thinking, is this all it is? Now, having visited different sites on exmoor in short open grass I can apreciate how powerful this could have looked 4 thousand years ago, stones very much defining a ritual space.

Access is very good, we parked just down the road but there is parking by the gate to the field. Someone had actually parked in the field within 10 metres of the circle and seemingly then gone for a walk. Which was unsightly and spoilt the "we are in a desolate moor" effect, I think the circle was aiming for but never mind. You can find the circle about 20m to the right of the sheep fold as you look from the road.

Porlock Stone Circle — Images

<b>Porlock Stone Circle</b>Posted by juamei<b>Porlock Stone Circle</b>Posted by juamei

Porlock Stone Row — Fieldnotes

[visited 1/7/6] This was a strange little beasty and I guess the majority of stone rows about these parts look very similar. We found 6? stones in a double row pointing roughly towards the porlock circle|circle and then another stone on the same alignment about 5 metres closer to the circle. We think it was the row, but its hard to tell, the stones were barely 10cm above the ground and hidden in heather. The two rows were about a metre or so apart, with the stones in each row being about a metre or so apart as well. The row itself was located just off the brow of the hil and off the path to the right.

Access is good, its maybe a 5 minute walk up an open path to where the row is, though you may have to negotiate heather to get to it.

Porlock Stone Row — Images

<b>Porlock Stone Row</b>Posted by juamei

Almsworthy Stone Circle — Fieldnotes

[visited 1/7/6] Getting used to the underwhelming size of the stones took a bit, but having warmed to the task we quite liked this 'setting' (apart from the random blood on one of the stones). Apparently people used to think this was the remains of 2 concentric circles and now they think its the remains of two rows. Personally I have no idea. I stood at pretty much every stone we could find and surveyed the weird arrangement of stones, seemingly raised upright at random, but once in a while offering glimpses. A possible curve here, 3 in a row there. So unless a lot of stones were removed which would have made this clear, I suspect the builders were on strong drugs when they put this up.

Access is ok but probably only by foot unless you have one of those fanangally off road wheel chair things. The circle is easily accessible to a moderately fit person, its about 15 minutes walk along tracks through the heather, ferns and peat, from the nearest car parking spot.

Almsworthy Stone Circle — Images

<b>Almsworthy Stone Circle</b>Posted by juamei<b>Almsworthy Stone Circle</b>Posted by juamei<b>Almsworthy Stone Circle</b>Posted by juamei

Whit Stones — Fieldnotes

[visited 1/7/6] Its a weird thing relative perspective, in a different place & time I'd have called these smallish, but here they are massive. Two gert big chunks of rock leaning to the side, I don't know whether they were ever standing but tbh they look as if they were. Apparently they were used as medieval forrest boundary stones so I'm unsure about a prehistoric provenance, all complicated by a weird metal thing attached to one of them (see pictures) [edit] its an OS thing apparently (see misc notes) so I didn't bother putting the extreme closeup up. The views though, oh the views. The moors off to the right and the beautiful devon/somerset cliffy coast to the left.

Access is ok, but difficult for wheels as you need to go up a bank and along a narrow path in the heather. Parking is by the side of the road, or by the clifftop and a little walk.

Whit Stones — Images

<b>Whit Stones</b>Posted by juamei<b>Whit Stones</b>Posted by juamei

Next day just time for two sites, first one we didn't really aim for & then one to say goodbye to devon.

Clannon Ball Stone Setting — Fieldnotes

[visited 2/7/6] Drive towards Two Gates from the A-road, trying to find a setting next to the road, stop randomly to take bearings, realise you've gone far too far but are close to some other settings, go to those instead. And it was a real treat to see by accident. My first triangular setting, again no stone higher than my knee, but with two in short grass we really saw the power that these small settings can provide. I kept thinking if I stand in the middle and say the right incantation I'll be imbued with a mystical power, but sadly no.

Access is good, its about a 5 miunte walk from the car in a straight line or a 15 minute one walking in zigzags. Keep on the path and head down the hill, if you can still see your car, you're not far enough down.

Clannon Ball Stone Setting — Images

<b>Clannon Ball Stone Setting</b>Posted by juamei<b>Clannon Ball Stone Setting</b>Posted by juamei

We tried to find the setting across the road from Clannon Ball at this point, but were driven back by some cows. Damn you cows!!!

West Anstey Longstone — Fieldnotes

[visited 2/7/6] If ever a stone was a way marker at the top of a valley, this was it. Its in lovely location and its flat faces point north down the lush green landscape into the valley. The stone is one of the largest we saw over the weekend and possibly the nicest. Head away from the road and bear left down the hill, you should see it about 30 yards away at the head of the valley.

Access is good. About 5 minutes from the road, over open moor with low grass.

West Anstey Longstone — Images

<b>West Anstey Longstone</b>Posted by juamei<b>West Anstey Longstone</b>Posted by juamei

Well all in all, very enjoyable and we'll be back again. There is a 3m standing stone, a circle and lots and lots and lots more settings and rows to see. mmmmm.
juamei Posted by juamei
5th July 2006ce
Edited 6th July 2006ce

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