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

The Merry Maidens

Stone Circle

Fieldnotes

Being a grumpy bugger, the approach to Merry Maidens has a tendency to bring out the worst in me: "look at that, those lazy ****s in the 4x4/People Carrier who've just pulled up and parked right next to the gate, can't anyone walk anywhere, grumble, mutter, etc".

For some reason, our latest visit (19.6.09) saw me in a particularly chilled mood about the prospect of the circle being thronged with busloads of people. Perhaps the visit to Boscawen-Ros had got me in the right frame of mind? Anyway, for once there was no-one at the circle when we arrived, so we managed to have a lounge in the longer-than-usual grass under a beaming sun. When eventually people did arrive, they came over the stile from Lamorna direction and had obviously walked, which made me even happier. I must learn to be less of a fascist about drivers. At least until next time we're there when a mini-bus pulls up...
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
21st July 2009ce

Comments (5)

You mention Lamorna which I have visited some years back - a close friend and me tried to walk along the cliffs from Mousehole and when we reached the very narrow bit on the cliffs that goes round to Lamorna, my companion froze and confessed he was terrified of heights ... we had to go back. The next day we caught a bus. Now I want to go back and see all these magical stones which have just entered my imagination and taken hold.
I am comforted to read you do not own a car as neither do I and on the occasion of my Lamorna visit we stayed in Penzance; where we couldn't walk, we caught buses.
Any tips for a non car-owner would be gratefully received.
June
tjj Posted by tjj
3rd September 2009ce
Hi June,

West Penwith is great for visiting loads of sites without a car. Four brilliant stone circles, a number of "quoits", standing stones aplenty, bliss. The buses during the summer months will get you all over, and they're pretty good through the autumn too (we have been regularly in October and November and had no problems). The best thing to do is to go to one of the bus stations (Penzance or St Ives) where you can pick up free area timetable booklets, which detail all the services in the area run by a number of different companies. First run the main, commercial services, Western Greyhound (small green "hopper" type buses) venture around the villages inland. I highly recommend a trip on the open-top bus around the peninsula (services 1 or 300) which passes Pipers/Merry Maidens/Tregiffian on the southern section, and goes within easy reach of Chun, Gurnard's Head, etc on the north. For guides, there is a series of slim walk booklets by Ian McNeil Cooke (artist who lives near Lanyon) which are geared to circular walks around the better known prehistoric sites (the walks also form part of his bigger volume "Journey To The Stones"). You also need a 1:25000 (Explorer series) OS map - the whole Peninsula is on a single sheet, so you only need the one! Additionally, Craig Weatherhill's Cornovia has been republished this year, but if you can find a copy of his Belerion (which deals exclusively with West Penwith) it's well worth finding.

We have often walked from St Just (the most westerly town, they sell lovely vegetable pasties at Warrens) via Tregeseal, Carn Kenidjack, Chun, Nine Maidens (you can fit Men-an-Tol/Men Scryfa into this) then down to the Tinners Arms at Zennor to enjoy the beer garden before picking up a bus back to St Ives/Penzance. It's a fair trek over the moors but gives an unparalleled feel for the moors and the landscape as a whole. However, if you prefer something shorter there's plenty of scope once you suss the bus times out. If you like holy wells, the easiest to reach is at Madron, a regular bus runs to the village from Penzance.

My favourite part of world, so much to enjoy!

:-)

Alken
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
4th September 2009ce
Thank you so much for going to the trouble to write the above. I have copied it so I have it to refer to later. Its quite a wee while since the trip from London to Penzance but I do recall travelling all over the place on various little buses - including going to St.Just (travelling back to Penzance with a bus load of school kids).
There was a lovely short walk from Newlyn up to the village of Paul, then down into Mousehole. I've been thinking about Lamorna on and off today - at one point (in between passing cars) I thought I could hear waves. I must go back soon, and take in some of the wonderful ancient sites, I had forgotten how much I loved it.

West Wales next though ... early October, in search of cromlechs/dolmens.

Best wishes, and thanks again.
June
tjj Posted by tjj
4th September 2009ce
It's no trouble at all June, I am happiest when waffling about the area (see many rambling fieldnotes). I've found a link to Ian Cooke's guides, sadly one of them is now out of print:

http://www.menantolstudio.freeserve.co.uk/guidebooks.htm

Enjoy Wales!
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
4th September 2009ce
Just had a look at the guides - brilliant; someone has written guides on how to get around without a car.

I really will go back soon - quite easy from where I live, there are trains straight through to Penzance. I have saved the Ian Cooke link; shame about Tinner's Way guide being out of print though, it sounds intriguing.

Once again - thanks.
June
tjj Posted by tjj
4th September 2009ce
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