After leaving Halliggye fogou it seemed rude not to visit the Dry Tree menhir as it was only a couple a miles away and so seemed a fitting way to finish off the day even though we didn’t really know what to expect.
I made the mistake though of first taking the turning into the Goonhilly Earth Station, and on arriving into the eerily deserted parking area it became apparent we were probably in the wrong place. I got out of the car for a scout around but was unable to spot anything vaguely megalithic. The area had a strange feel to it, the giant dishes of the listening station looming mute above the perimeter fences and with no visible signs of life inside the compound, it felt like the sort of place the survivors of a post-apocalyptic alien invasion film would end up at.
Getting back into the car we were almost ready to give up and come back another day, but fortunately we had a signal on the phone (would have been somewhat ironic if there had been no reception here of all places!) and a quick check of the internet suggested that we actually needed to park at the old RAF site next door.
So back down the B3293 and in minutes a brown sign indicating ‘National Nature Reserve’ pointed us into a turning which leads to a sizable parking area. Here several paths lead out over the downs, and information boards and some very good leaflets are handily available to guide the way.
Following the path which shadows the perimeter fence we soon see the stone ahead of us, and it’s much taller than I expected. From the angle we approach it reminds me a friendly giant with a tiny head perched atop his wide body. As I happily wander around the menhir taking photos from every conceivable angle I’m struck by the way the stone has such a different appearance from each side you view it from.
This is a lovely stone, I was a bit worried that close proximity to the perimeter fence might spoil the ambiance somewhat but the counterpoint of the modern dishes with this lovely stone just sort of works. I’d love to explore some more of the walks across Goonhilly, perhaps spotting some of the many barrows around which dot the landscape, but that will have to be for another time, only Cruc Draenoc barrow will be close enough for a visit today as I can see that one from the stone!
It’s nigh on 8pm now as we bid farewell to the stone, and hunger pulls us away home for supper. As we walk back we’re escorted by Meadow Brown butterflies that flutter along the path in front of us, a magical end to a lovely visit.
The EH carpark has now been tarmaced and the whole area tidied up. Three info boards now tell the story of the whole region. Paths have been improved and new permissive rights of way opened up. You are now free to explore the whole of Goonhilly from here down to the sea.
It is still posible to follow the path along the perimeter fence of the telecom ststion but a nicer route is to head south of the dishes around a large almost hidden 2WW building (it is possible to climb on top for some great views over the downs, but be carefull..there is a double wall with a big drop in between). Go past this and around to the south of a large cream coloured domed building. Once around the dome you will see the dishes to your left, head towards the fence and a kissing gate at the right end of the fence. Go through this and you will find the menhir. You can then return to the car park via the original walk beside the wire.
No problems here. Turn off the road just south of the Goonhilly Visitor Centre, into the old RAF centre, which is now in use as a car park. Take the path that leads back to the Earth Centre. And follow the path round to the left. When the fence disappears to the right, follow it around, keeping the fence on your left at all times. After a couple of corners, the Dry Tree is in front of you. Watch out for adders in season, apparently!
This is a big old stone, and as others have said before me, affords lots of photographic opportunities with the modern comms dishes in the background. It was re-raised early in the 20thC, supposedly not too far from its original position.
It was a rather wet day when I went here,parked in the layby where there is a gate into the moorland.Here there is an information board telling you what is in the area including the Dry Tree Menhir,You walk along the foot path keeping the perimeter fence on your right, when you are faced with a hedge still keep the fence on your right and step into the mud,negotiate this quagmire till you come to the stone.Well worth the grim passage here.I tried to find a better way back but got into worse trouble,go back the way you came is the motto.
This is just the most fantastic site. A now 10.5 foot high menhir with a burial at it's base which has survived against all odds. It had fallen by WW1, and soldiers removed 3ft off the top for a road - cheers lads ! It was then re-erected, and Goonhilly Downs earth station (the one with the satellite dishes) was plonked right next to it. The best thing about the monument is the way it changes shape as you walk round it - no other menhir I've visited does this in quite the same way. It's proximity to the wierd dishes and transmitters behind the high fence just 20 feet away gives some superb pictures, but does detract from it's ambience. No matter, just go and hang out there - it's awesome !