And here it is! The uprights of the cairn circle come into view – empty, miles from anywhere, this is a real treat of a circle. Some of the stones lean alarmingly, the ground is wet and muddy around the stones, but I'm grinning from ear to ear. Without doubt worth the effort of the long walk, the circle is a gem that I doubt has many visitors, except the cows that graze a little way off and pay me no attention at all. Coming to places like this makes the heart sing, makes me feel glad to be alive and all the transitory worries of life seem so far behind. After a good while spent circling the site, then sitting in the ring (devoid of much sign of a cairn, by the way) I am reluctantly reminded of the long walk back to Ivybridge and the further delights still to be had on the way and head off south. The stones hang crooked on the skyline behind me for a moment, before disappearing back into their timeless solitude. I hope to come back here again one day, for this is a wonderful circle.
I have to agree with the earlier posts - this is a rough walk, and not for the faint hearted. Taking in Stalldown Row, this was a four-hour round trip on a pleasant (if windy) day. The ground is sometimes difficult, there are boggy areas obstructing travel, and the terrain is very exposed. Having said all that, if you're reasonably fit and comfortable with a bit of exertion, this shouldn't pose any challenge. Just exercise some caution where the weather is concerned, because you don't want to get stuck out here in adverse conditions. Watch the forecast and take sensible precautions.
Warnings aside, this is a fantastic site. I'm inclined to agree with Gladman when he says Stall Moor may be more remote than White Moor (which is really saying something). The moors are desolate and beautiful around this site, and I spent the entire afternoon without seeing another living soul.
On the approach, I parked at New Waste (obvious parking spaces just through the first gate), then followed the path to the north. Once through the tree-lined area, I broke out across open country and ascended the hill to the north east. If you head for the top, you can't really miss Stalldown stone row - which is an absolute stunner, and worth a visit in its own right.
I headed north from the end of the row, descending the slope and plotting a course towards the river. The terrain was very awkward underfoot during this section. Eventually, after crossing a gulley and a stream, the ground climbs ahead, and the circle can be found on top of this rise. Just keep the river to your right and keep heading up-hill and keep your eyes peeled.
The return journey was somewhat easier. I headed downhill to the south east, intersecting with the river. I followed along the edge of the river's course until arriving at the weir. The ground was mostly reasonable underfoot, but I did need to navigate around some very boggy patches. After the weir, a solid track leads all the way back (I'd guess maybe two miles) to New Waste.
It's up against some stiff competition, but I'd say that this was my favourite Dartmoor walk to date. The views are magnificent, and there's a wonderful mix of scenery along the course of the journey. Bleak moors, rolling hills and valleys, streams, a river, woods... this walk has it all. I can't wait to get back in the summer.
I approached this wonderfully remote stone circle from the south, parking at the road terminus near Watercombe, to the north east of the small village of Torr. From here it is possible to ascend Stalldown Barrow and take in the, quite frankly, superb stone row which runs north/south along the ridge first of all. There's also a small cairn circle to be found here, too.
The 'Kiss in the Ring' is a good mile or so further on, above and to the north of the confluence of the River Erme and Bledge Brook, the latter having formed a deep gulley which needs to be crossed. The intervening ground between Stalldown Barrow and the circle features an additional cairn well worth seeking out, shown on the 1:25 OS map.
The atmosphere at the circle is incredible, the sense of place absolute, the feeling of peace and calm total. Why, even if you was to meet someone else here chances are they would be a fellow stonehead, since no tourist is ever likely to venture up here in a million years! My guess is that this might be the most remote stone circle in England, even more so that upon White Moor?
As if this wasn't enough, Dartmoor's longest stone row continues northwards from the circle to - according to the map - eventually peter out upon the slopes of Green Hill. I carried on a little further, taking a look at a rather substantial cairn, before returning back to the circle to simply enjoy being within this marvellously evocative landscape.
Note Mr Hamhead's warning, however. This is a rough, tiring walking in good weather. In mist the 'ghostly hounds' affect your sense of direction, so make sure you have a map/compass. Don't take it lightly, please.
I actually aproached this circle from the north, having followed the stone row from where it crosses the Erme River. A REAL adventure!
The "easy" way would be to come up the track from the hamlet of Torr near Cornwood, and then head out over the open moor, this is still not easy or a short walk.
Is it worth it? My photos may not do the circle justice...it was a very overcast day with the mist dropping down one minute and the next lifting. The whole Erme valley is full of antiquities...I think I past four stone rows and missed about four others on a eight mile walk, not including all the cairns and settlements, pounds, cists, and the odd standing stone...
Of the circle itself, there are 23 of the original 26 stones still standing, none taller than about three foot. It is a wild area....lots of soggy ground all around, even on top of the hill. Not a place to go if you are not sure of your map reading skills...but if you are, well worth it, the landscape is stunning.