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

Buttern Hill



One of the most featurless hills on Bodmin Moor, best known for its man made tin streaming remains that encircle it. It is a large rounded lump to the east of Roughtor and Brown Willy best approached from the ford at Bowithick.
I last ventured on to its barren slopes about 20 years ago and my memory was of feeling quite disorientated by the lack of landmarks.
Today, 12 Aug 07, there is a good clear sky and plenty of daylight to let me explore the hill further.
I start up by climbing a gully to where I remember there being some mining remains, these are easily found and I continue on towards the summit, not sure exactly where it is.
I pass what could be a stone row but is more likely to be an ancient field boundry and suddenly Roughtor and Showery Tor can be seen away to the west. Brown Willy appears soon after.
On reaching a highpoint I turn left and make for the summit. Two low cairns can be seen, looking like any other robbed out cornish cairns but as I get closer I can see that the nearest has a stone standing inside it. This cairn is about 12 ft across with the central stone about 3ft high. From this cairn it is a short walk to the larger cairn that crowns the summit. Even from this close all I expect to find is a low pile of stones, all be it larger than the last cairn.
How wrong could I be! The low bank of the cairn, about 30 to 35ft across, surrounds a cist with all four walls intact and the capstone perched over it. The cist is about 6ft long and 3 ft wide with a solid granite floor. How come I have not read about it before? This is one of the best preserved cists I have found on the moor. Part of me starts to think it has been built in later times to fool people like me but....
The OS map marks five cairns on the hilltop, I can only find another two, one of which is just a platform of stones adjecent to the summit cairn. The other sits a little distance downslope to the SE.
From the summit my journey took me down to the source of the River Fowey, which once gave its name to the moor. It is a quiet place, rarely visited by man, and yet his handywork is all around in the form of tin streaming channels, something started on the moor by bronze age man. Somewhere in the area there is a stone row, but today I fail to find it. perhaps next time.....
Mr Hamhead Posted by Mr Hamhead
12th August 2007ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment