The rows here seem to meander forever taking the traveller past the almighty great nearby tor and point you towards the stone circle 1km at Scorhill. The longest stone row idles its way across the moor with two lines of small stones, some hidden under grassy hummocks. Walking the length is not an option. You have no choice but to do it. The most complete section is actually not part of the main row, but deviates off pointing back down to Batworthy.
The instructions on the megalithic walks website (see link below) are excellent. Just a couple of additions though. First, to be clear that the bridge mentioned (i.e. where to park) is just outside Batworthy Farm, at SX662866. The space near the bridge should take 4 to 5 cars. I also saw cars parked at various small places off the road over the common, but the bridge area is better and more sensible. Secondly, the journey through the lanes is pretty tortuous, but at least you shouldn't get lost if you have an OS map. Once successfully on the right road (after the crucial junction at SX690870), it is pretty much follow the road and don't take any of the turnings off the lane. To avoid some of the earlier lanes try the B3206 to Chagford from the A382. Be careful to avoid the Range Rovers though! Judging from the cars and the shops this ancient Stannary town looks like a squeaky clean Devon version of Hampstead!
As you walk up towards Batworthy Corner, the north east most row comes clearly into view. A few hundred metres on and you've experienced your first bit of Shovel Down! This first row leads to an intriguing circle of three concentric stone circles. Up and over the hill and the enormous long stone suddenly comes into view. This massive, enigmatic stone has lots of stones around its base. Are they modern? They somehow don't look quite right. The southern stone row (as shown on the OS map) basically doesn't exist; there is nothing there.
I believe I found the remaining one of the 'Three Boys', but it is 70% fallen. From here, if you know where you are looking you can just see the top of the Long Stone. It would be interesting to know if it could be seen from the top of the three boys when it was / they were erect.
There must be 3 rows to the north, not just two as the OS map shows. The middle row starts and continues further away from the others, and is a good way to walk onwards to Scorhill.
When I later returned to the bridge I was led down the rocky path by a dog from Batworthy Farm, like Lassie leading an injured child!
Burl (in his book on stone rows) describes a stone further south than the Longstone, at SX660855 - the surviving stone of the 'Three Boys' , the other two apparently taken away for gateposts. The remaining boy is about 4 1/2 ft high.
(SX 66038549) Three Boys (Cromlech) (NR) (Remains of). (1)
The stone marking the southern end of a stone row ('F' SX 68 NE 16) is the only survivor of three such stones known as the Three Boys. It stands 4 1/2 feet high and leans over. The other two have been removed to form gateposts for a neighbouring enclosure. The suggestion that they formed the supporters of a dolmen is unlikely as the remaining stone would be quite unsuitable for this purpose. They were probably three unusually large stones used to mark the end of the stone row. (2)
(SX 66038549) Three Boys (NAT) Standing Stone (NR). (3) The remaining stone of Three Boys leans at 45o to the NNE; it is 1.7m long, 0.8m wide and 0.3m thick. Packing stones are visible at its base. A surrounding wet-hollow, diameter 3.7m, depth 0.4m,has been created by sheep. There is no trace of a mound. The situation, shape and size of the stone strongly suggests that it formed a terminal/blocking-stone to the double stone row (SX 68 NE/16 'F') which originally extended from the Three Boys to Long Stone. Published 1:2500 survey revised. (4) As described by authority 4. Se Sx 68 NE 16 E-F. (see also RCHME survey `The Shovel Down Stone Rows'(part 1) at 1:200 scale). (5)
(SX 65968601) Triple Circle (Stone Circle) (NR) (Remains of). (1)
A barrow with a four-fold retaining circle marks the southern end of a Stone Row ('B' SX 68 NE 16). The outer circle, consisting of nine standing stones and one fallen stone, is approx 29 feet in diameter to the internal faces of the
stones. Possibly seven stones are missing. The inner circle, approx 19 feet in diameter, has six standing stones and possibly
once had four more. The third circle, approx 15 feet in diameter, consists of eight standing stones and possibly once had two more. The innermost circle has four stones,two standing, and possibly once had two more. The diameter is approx 8 feet.
With the exception of Lukis every observer has described this as a triple circle. (2)
A small barrow with peristalith 25ft in diameter, two interior circles of othostats and a wrecked cist. (3)
A cairn at the southern end of a stone row with four circles of stone, the outermost with a diameter of 30 feet. Immediately
adjoining the circle are two large fallen stones. One is a pillar 11 1/2 feet long and the other a slab over 7 feet with
one end broadly triangular in shape. They probably stood facing each other at the ed of the stone row. (4) Fourfold Circle (NAT) Stone Circle (NR). (5) None of the authorities consulted gives this cairn a proper name. Triple Circle and Fourfold Circle are always used descriptively.
A turf covered cairn, 10.0m in diameter and 0.4m in height with a ruined central cist of small slabs.
Two concentric circles of orthostats and a perimeter circle protrude from the turf. See photograph. Surveyed at 1:2500. (6)
SX 65968601 Fourfold Circle a sub-circular configeration of four apparently consentric stone rings. The outer ring has a diameter of 9m, the others have diameters of 6.4m, 4.7m and 2.4m respectively. The monument comprises 29 visible stones. Most are approximately 0.3m in height although they vary from 0.1-0.55m. The middle two rings define the bottom and top of the scarp of a small earthern cairn apparently an integral part of the monument. It is most pronounced on the E (downslope side). In the centre is a roughly sub-circular pit measuring 1.3m by 0.7m and 0.45m deep; it is probably the remains of a badly robbed cist. On the N side are two fallen stones. When upright they may have served as a focal point for the end of the stone row (SX 68 NE 16 B). They measure 3.4m and 1.2m in length, the former being inscribed `GP' (for Gidleigh parish) and confirming its reuse as a boundary stone. Both stones lie within a pronounced erosion hollow 0.3m deep. If the stones did function as a pair at the end of a stone row, then their relationship with the fourfold circle is unclear.
(See RCHME archive survey `The Stone Rows on Shovel Down' at 1:200 scale). (7)