Leaving Rempstone Circle and Nine Barrow Down behind I rode back to Corfe Castle, crossing the main Wareham/Swanage road towards Lulworth Cove. The road passes to the north of the castle ruins and twists its way west until a turn off towards Kimmeridge and the coast until I reach a car park at the top of the hill overlooking Kimmeridge Bay.
A footpath nearby leads down a steep field and a very muddy path brings me to a style leading to another field. This field was full of inquisitive sheep, wary of me all the way to the far side to a hawthorn hedgerow that hides the Harpstone until I am almost upon it. The sound of cannon and gun fire in the distance is slightly surreal and off-putting as the army plays war games nearby. This 7 foot tall monolith is cut by vertical grooves and is honeycombed by thousands of years of weathering. A close knit hawthorn hedgerow surrounds the stone which is separated from the field of sheep by a barbed wire fence. Luckily the fence is easy to climb through as it is worth the exploration of the river valley the stone sits in front of.
After some time the distant war games come to an end leaving me and the monolith at peace in each other's company.
Visited the Harpstone again this afternoon and found that the approach to the field containing the Harpstone has been cleared and is no longer overgrown. The once slippy steep climb down to the stone is no more. The land has been cleared of all the overgrown trees and plants and a railing has been put in place with a "footpath" sign attached. It is so much easier to get to the stone now.
i visited this site for the first time with charlie and juamei on dec 27th 2004. juamei is spot on about it being very muddy getting to the stone in the winter time, so do wear good walking boots. the stone once you get there is magnificent, a really interesting shape with lots of detail. we found that we could get to the other side of the stone by going to the end of the field and walking back up on the other side of the hedge, this is a really nice approach to the stone as well but if you can't be bothered to walk round you could always slip under the barbed wire.
'7' tall, couple of feet wide and deep standing stone. A flat face with a globular sea-worn back to it. On sloped ground heading down toward a stream/river. Situated in a wide hedge surrounding a stream running down the hill betwixt barbed wire and electric fence.
A lovely stone. Big. Nooks and crannies to explore with the fingers. Just inside the hedge itself but its enough of a hedge that you can walk around the stone.'
[visited 24/12/02] This is a weirdly shaped standing stone in the middle of a valley in the middle of purbeck. A word of caution, wear wellies to get to this site as in winter the path from the nearest carpark (just to the south), is very very muddy. To get to the stone, park in the car park, walk north along the road to the footpath and set off down the hill. Go through the exceedingly muddy, steep path to the field at the bottom and head east. The harpstone is on the other side of the field past the three trees.
I really enjoyed visiting this site and look back to coming here in summer with a picnic. The stone is unfortunately the other side of a barbed wire fence, which is bypassable but only with care. Its a very strange shape (hence the name) and has what seemed to be its broken off tip resting against its base.
This site is is one of Dorset's finest Megalithic monuments and well worth a visit.
(27) The Harpstone (SY 98 SW; 92168058; Plate 217), monolith, of limestone, stands 1,180 yds. E.S.E. of St. Michael's Church, on the bank of a small stream and just inside the W. edge of Hurpston Coppice on ground falling gently N. to the Corfe River in the marshy valley bottom. It is 7¼ ft. high with a jagged and uneven top and has a maximum width of 3¾ ft. E.-W. and 3 ft. N.-S. The four faces are largely disfigured by vertical grooves and hollows, the result of weathering. Its origin is unknown. The place-name Herpston (1340) may refer to the stone, which stands on the bank between Herpston and Hyde manors and flanks the ancient road from Creech to Kimmeridge. (Hutchins I, 609; Fägersten, 136.)
(SY 92168057) Stone (NR) (1) Known as the 'Harp Stone', by which name it should be described on OS plans. (2) The Harp Stone (NR) (3)
The Harpstone, a limestone monolith, stands on the bank of a small stream just inside the west edge of Hurpston Coppice.
It is 7 1/4 feet high with a jagged and uneven top and has a maximum width of 3 3/4 feet east-west by 3 feet north-south. The four faces are largely disfigured by vertical grooves and hollows, the result of weathering. Its origin is unknown.
The place-name 'Herpston' (1340) may refer to the stone, which stands on the bank between Herpston and Hyde manors and flanks the ancient road from Creech to Kimmeridge. (4) SY 921805. The Harp Stone. Scheduled 735. (5) The Harp Stone, an undated monolith, probably ancient. Scheduled. (6)
The Harp Stone, a weather-worn standing stone, as described. Published 1:2500 survey correct. (7)