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

Castle Down

Chambered Cairn


Visited 16.6.2010 on a day-trip to Tresco on the Scillonian ferry. The boat across from St Marys dropped us off at Carn Near, the southern point of the island, which put us as far from Castle Down as it was possible to be.

It was a lovely walk under blue skies along the eastern edge of the island, and the views across to St Helen's, Round Island and Northwethel from Gimble Porth are beautiful. We climbed up to the Down from its eastern side (Tregarthen Hill) and a prehistoric landscape opens out. Unfortunately it's very heather-covered, making it difficult to see what's what. There are 78 cairns on the downs, but most are simply lumps in the heather. A nice prehistoric field boundary does break free of the vegetation and as we head northwest across the Down we do manage to find a decent cairn with surrounding kerb and then what looks like a small capstone protruding from another be-heathered cairn.

Unfortuately our time is rather limited and in going up to have a look around the 16th century King Charles's castle (which predates the monarch of the same name by the best part of a century), we don't have time to seek out the entrance grave up on the west side of Tregarthen Hill. Still, it's a great spot on a nice day and we'll have to come for longer another time.

As we head back towards New Grimsby, we pass another prominent cairn towards the southern end of the Down. New Grimsby has a rather lovely modern megalithic folly, with a kerbed quoit (mini-Chun) and several standing stones, overlooking the harbour. From there we headed off to Tresco Abbey Gardens, with its holed stone.

It seems that the majority of visitors to the island come to see the Gardens and the little town, so Castle Downs are a nice quiet spot even on a lovely sunny summer's day.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
29th August 2010ce

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