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Soussons Common Cairn Circle

Cairn circle

<b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by texlahomaImage © texlahoma
Also known as:
  • Ephraim's Pinch
  • Runnage Circle

Nearest Town:Ashburton (11km SE)
OS Ref (GB):   SX675786 / Sheet: 191
Latitude:50° 35' 29.29" N
Longitude:   3° 52' 19.69" W

Added by phil


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<b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by Ravenfeather <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by tjj <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by wickerman <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by wickerman <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by wickerman <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by postman <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by postman <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by wickerman <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by wickerman <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by texlahoma <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by texlahoma <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by texlahoma <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by Mr Hamhead <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by Mr Hamhead <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by Mr Hamhead <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by Meic <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by Meic <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by Pilgrim <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by ocifant <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by Lubin <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by doug <b>Soussons Common Cairn Circle</b>Posted by greywether

Fieldnotes

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Visited 5th February

It’s getting on in the afternoon, so looking for an ancient site that was a) easily accessible, with no massive hike required, and b) somewhere we’d never been before, limited the options somewhat. However a cursory look at the OS map seemed to show a likely candidate in the temptingly close to the road form of the Soussons Common cairn circle.

Heading south from Moretonhampstead on the B3212 we initially missed the turning, which probably in hindsight was a good thing, as it’s a very sharp left turn, which almost doubles back on itself. So turning around in the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ village of Postbridge, and back up the road, we headed down the lane signposted towards Widecombe.

Within a couple of minutes the circle was visible off to our left in a clearing screened by forestry. There’s plenty of space to pull in, and I scamper out of the car and into the perfect little circle of twenty-three stones.

It’s almost too perfect here but I’m immediately struck by the atmosphere, it feels so welcoming and homely. Sheltered but not overpowered by the trees, seemingly remote but accessible on the quiet moors, pristine but not over-restored, there is just something about the place. An old camper van is discretely parked on a forestry track nearby, and the smell of wood smoke emanating from its chimney, along with the sound of wood being chopped for the fire, somehow just adds to the cosy air of domesticity.

It’s too damp for sitting, but I stand in the circle and ponder, surrounded by the sounds of the wind in the trees, birdsong, and the aforementioned crusty’s axe work. The central cist is well grassed over now, with only the top edges of the cist stones remaining as a faded outline, such a shame that people fail to treat these places with the respect they deserve, but at least this part of the monument is now protected as it slumbers beneath the turf.

Another of Dartmoor’s many gems, the circle is intimate in size, yet still gives a feeling of the specialness of the place. Once cairn stones would have filled this space, but today instead it feels a place of life, a small posy of heather placed by one of the stones showing it still holds a significant meaning for some, of which I am one.
Ravenfeather Posted by Ravenfeather
15th February 2017ce

This beautiful little cairn circle has been seriously damaged by a fire being lit in the central kist, you can see by the photos that the stones have been badly scorched, and it looks like the peat infill repairs from the 1993 fire damage has been dug out. These images are from August 2008, i hope that further damage has not occurred since. I am susprised that this is allowed to take place, considering its close proximity to the road, where are the Dartmoor forest rangers or local farmers when this is happening? wickerman Posted by wickerman
12th February 2009ce
Edited 12th February 2009ce

A nice little sanitised 'circle', easily accessible from the main Mortonhampsted to Twobridges rd.
The other name I have for it is Runnage Circle. The central kist was badly damaged by campers lighting a fire within it in 1993 and has since been in filled with turf to prevent any similar incidents.
Mr Hamhead Posted by Mr Hamhead
18th June 2008ce
Edited 18th June 2008ce

The Circle is a sweet spot – falsely so, sadly, due to the shelter and screening effect of the 60-year old plantation – but has fine views to the south and southwest. Jeremy Butler in Volume 5 of the Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities highlights that there was a triple stone row associated with the circle, but alas it has now gone – "site only: vicinity overplanted" - vanished beneath the serried ranks of pine. The grid reference of the row is listed as SX676799; well inside the plantation proper, half a mile or so northwards up the slope of Soussons Common: we looked, but in vain. Surrounded by conifers on three sides, it's difficult to see how the Circle may have looked in a cleaner landscape, but the row would most likely have been visible further up the hill.

The circle is described as a cairn circle; a delineating ring of closely-spaced (but not touching) small stones that enclosed a cairn-covered kist. However, to me it looks more like a kerb circle; a kist burial once covered by a more shallow stone covering (see Note below). I acknowledge that this difference may be nit-picking…...
Pilgrim Posted by Pilgrim
3rd October 2005ce

Yum! Yum! Yum!

Simply perfect.
Jane Posted by Jane
10th July 2005ce

Visited 21/5/5

This is a neat little 'fairy' circle on the edge of the plantation with a stone cist in the centre. Plonkers had lit a fire within the cist. FFS why?
ocifant Posted by ocifant
6th June 2005ce
Edited 6th June 2005ce

Folklore

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The strange name of Ephraim's Pinch is attached to a spot a little south east of the circle and is the result of a wager many years ago when a man named Ephraim bet that he could carry a sack of corn from Widecombe to Postbridge without putting it down en route, a distance of some 5 miles. It was at the nearby bend in the road that he finally felt the 'pinch' of his heavy load on his back and had to drop the sack. Mr Hamhead Posted by Mr Hamhead
18th June 2008ce

Miscellaneous

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In a 1903 excavation of the cist, two large coils of human hair were found - apparently connected with contemporary withchcraft practices and not the original burial. greywether Posted by greywether
14th December 2003ce

Links

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Soussons common cairn circle Video


Showing the current state of the damaged central burial cist.
wickerman Posted by wickerman
10th July 2012ce

Dartmoor Archive


I am sure there are plenty of other antiquities on this wonderful archive...it is just that I was researching this particular spot..

No sign of the stone row mentioned in an earlier posting..
Mr Hamhead Posted by Mr Hamhead
18th April 2008ce
Edited 18th April 2008ce

Megalithic Walks site


This is a cairn circle around 8.5m diameter consisting of 22 stones. In the centre is a cist with the stones forming the box.
Posted by phil
13th January 2002ce
Edited 21st July 2005ce