Arriving at the area of Buttern Hill Stone circle (28.2.05) from white moor, a walk of 1¼ miles over some rough and in places boggy terrain, I set about trying to find the circle. After 10 minutes of walking up and down a N/S course, about a third of the way up Buttern hill's western slope, the 3 stones standing at the Northeast edge of the circle came into view. SX 64945 88484 Elev 1301ft.
The circle's approximate dimensions are 82ft 4" N/S and 80ft 2" E/W, with 15 stones many obscured but the larger ones ranging from, 7ft 4" W, 6ft S/SW (Twin lines on the stone, natural or carved?), 5ft 11" W/NW, 4ft 11" N/NE, 4ft 4" at S/W & N/E. With most of it's stones fallen, the circle does not instantly captivate, but it would be a mistake not to give this circle some time to appreciate its true qualities.
I sat picturing the circle in the afternoon's broken sunshine, it's placement on the west side of Buttern Hill and the steep rising bank of Kennon Hill (West of Circle), leading the eye to a wide open South west Dartmoor vista for the sun to sink slowly into.
I knew absolutely nothing about this site before visiting. I just saw it on the map and decided to make it an extension to my visit to Shovel Down and Scorhill. If anyone knows of any 'official' name for it please tell me and I'll change it.
Although Bodmin Moor is much smaller, it is often a much harder place to walk than Dartmoor. A shortish walk on Dartmoor seems relatively easy to me, except for the fog and the lack of obvious features to map read by. Dartmoor felt drier than the Cornish uplands and there are 'paths' everywhere in this section of Dartmoor. Not obvious or marked paths but just loads of small paths (livestock paths?) that mean you don't have to yomp over uneven ground.
So, from Scorhill to Buttern Hill Stone Circle you basically just need to skirt round the south west side of Buttern Hill. When you see some watery ground at the bottom of the valley between Buttern Hill and Rippator, you're getting close. But don't go right down to this lowest point. Stay mid way up the gentle slope and continue for about 300 metres and the circle should be there. It is not easy to spot / see. If you see some stones in this area, check them out; they could be the circle. I counted 5 stones still standing, and 15 recumbant, ranging from large ones to tiny stones that seem to be inline with a circle.
It's a sad circle and obviously overshadowed by Scorhill, which is easier to get to and more 'beautiful'. But I have great sympathy for this circle. It's the underdog and I guess it was once beautiful.
(SX 64948847) Stone Circle (NR). (1)
Buttern Hill or Throwleigh stone circle is remarkable for occupying a position on low ground, near the bottom of a shallow valley west of Buttern Hill - a situation which argues against the "sacred" idea. Five stones are still standing, the tallest being 28 inches high with a curious though natural shape. There are nineteen fallen stones, the longest being 6 feet 9 inches; there are also 'triggers' giving a clear indication of the position formerly occupied by five stones now lost. The nearest equivalent true circle would have a diameter of 81 feet. R N Worth mentions the remains of a small cairn five or six
yards in from the southern edge. (2-3) Nothing visible on air photographs. (4)