Just had a short break in north Devon, walking on Exmoor; along the coastal path from Lynton; and the green paths around some of timeless, unspoilt villages. I was aware before going that apart from Bronze Age barrows there was no exceptionally impressive prehistoric archaeology on Exmoor – we did manage to find the Long Stone and associated barrows, Longstone Barrow and Chapman Barrows. The Long Stone stands in very boggy land about half way between them. A local man who worked in the Exmoor Visitor’s Centre down in Lynmouth told us he understood there was as much of the stone beneath the surface as there was above – the stone stands approximately three metres high (nine feet) and slim in width.
We started our walk by walking uphill towards the Pinkery Exploration Centre from Goat Hill Gate where there is a small road side parking area. The path up to Pinkery Pond was by and large a good one – once at the top it became considerably cooler and windier in the autumn sunshine. We then followed the fence line path to Wood Barrow Gate where we had to climb over a tricky barbed wire fence as the actual path was on the other side of the fence. At this point our progress was watched by a herd of Highland cattle as this was true moorland. The ground very boggy – good walking boots essential (I was very glad I changed my mind about going up there in light walking shoes). We stopped for a bit at the Long Stone Barrow to have a drink and a snack before going over to the Long Stone, which is quite well camouflaged against the moorland grass. It’s an intriguing stone and we couldn’t help speculating about why it was there, I imagine its purpose is closely related to the large barrows on either side of it. As we retraced our steps back to Pinkery Pond we saw a pair of red deer in the distance, one of them definitely a stag. Walking downhill into the warm afternoon sunshine following the course of a moorland stream made our walk an enjoyable experience indeed.
It's a three kilometres walk from the lay-by at Goat Hill Bridge on the B3358 to the Longstone, the tallest menhir on Exmoor. Formed from a slab of local slate, it measures 3m high by 1.25m wide and 0.25m thick at its base. There is a much smaller, companion stone sharing its hole, known locally as a trigger stone, which is 0.7m high.
(SS 70514307) Long Stone (NR) A standing stone known as the Longstone 9ft high, 2ft2in wide and 7in thick. No change; classified as Bronze Age by Grinsell.
Published survey 1:2500 correct. (3)
SS 70514307 Longstone, A Standing Stone situated on a flat topped ridge of rough grassland and heather at about 465m OD. It is a tall slatey slab 3m high, 1.2m wide and 0.25m thick at its base. It is orientated NE/SW and an OS bench mark has been cut on its SE side. There is a `trigger' stone 0.7m high, 0.5m high and 0.15m thick, set against its SE side. It stands in an erosion hollow 3m in diameter and 0.3m maximum depth (4).
SS 7051443072. `Long Stone' a prehistoric standing stone as described by authority 4. It is shown on Donn's Map (a) of 1765 but incorrectly positioned on the Somerset side of the County Boundary. The monument is Scheduled: Devon 204, entitled Chapman Longstone (b). Published Surveyed 1:2500 correct.
(Note: Part of the SMR (c) entry for this site is incorrect. Long Stone is not "set in a quadrilateral formed of smaller stones"; the reference to "Plate 3" does not apply to Long Stone; and the barrow referred to is not `Long Stone Barrow'. There appears to have been some confusion in the recording with NMR site SS 64 SE 2). (5)
The Longstone marks the source of the River Bray. It's a 9ft high, thin but wide piece of slate.
Nearby is the Longstone barrow, 3 stones in a line, and a rectangular structure made up of two standing and two recumbent stones.
Nearby also is the Quincunx, made up of 5 stones: one each at N, S, E and W, and one in the middle.