To be honest I wasn't looking for a stone row...I was just out for a walk after visiting the remains of the nearby clay works.
And I was lost....well not exactly, but I had given up on finding the footpath and was just heading west into the sun hoping to find a wall somewhere....
Next thing I know there is this hugh great stone leaning at some precarious angle in front of me. Could this be the stone row that should be further to the north?
Well, yes it was and although the gorse bushes prevent you from seeing no more than three stones at a time I managed to find the northern stone quite easily.
Compared with the other rows I have visited on Bodmin Moor this one is made up of giant stones. The southern one I would reckon to have been about 6ft high when upright. Compare it with Craddock Moor where they struggle to be seen above the grass.
Also this one is built where it would be seen, on a ridge with views to the east and west. The view this evening to the west was of the shining waters off of Padstow, fantastic.
After deciding I had found both ends of the row I march off towards St Bellarmins Tor. On the way I came across another standing stone, it is not marked on maps and I could not work out if it was in line with the row but....as my picture shows it has lovely views of Brown Willy, Roughtor and in the middle Hawks Tor with the Stipple Stones on its southern edge.
One easy-ish way to get here is to park at the picnicy area mentioned in the Trehundreth & Greenbarrow Downs section, and hop over the fence into the firled to the south. Follow the fence along to the west until a footpath starts at SX128723 (the path isn't actually visible on the ground!). This skirts around the large pond. You will need an OS map and even then the stone row can be difficult to spot. I was confused by the field boundary the map showed on the east side of Colvannick Tor. In reality this is not a wall but maybe an ancient boundary; a sort of low bank and slight ditch. If like me you find the stone row difficult to find, head up to the Tor and the northern most stone should be clearly visible due east, about 300 metres away. From this stone you can take a compass bearing south east and walk the line of the row (sometimes through gorse!). There aren't many obvious stones until you reach the southern stones, one of which is large and still upright and can also be seen from the Tor. Beyond this stone there are a few large but fallen stones, and then one final stone 80m or so further on; a very large stone, semi erect. By this point you'll be able to see a few red and white poles in the distance, presumably warning poles for the 'Danger Area' on Cardinham Moor.
In all I counted 3 standing stones (2 of which were large), 1 semi erect (the large southern end stone), 5 fallen (all large), 2 broken stones together, and around 10 possible smaller stones, all fallen or just stumps. This is the best stone row in Cornwall. Harder to find and interpret than the more famous, and still brilliant, Nine Maidens row, but more rewarding and challenging.
There are ponies and sheep all around, and some sampy area around the large pond. Gorse and brambles line the A30 so getting over to Trehundreth Downs is not that easy. One simple way is by retracing your steps to where the footpath starts on the south side. Opposite this there is a gate into Trehundreth Downs on the north side of this very busy dual carriageway.
Cheryl Straffon's guide 'The Earth Mysteries Guide to Bodmin Moor and North Cornwall (including Tintagel)' (Meyn Mamvro - 1993, amended 2000) writes that "Colvannick Tor itself as probably named after the stones, meaning is it does in English 'erect penis', an indication of an ancient awareness of the phallic nature of the stones, and hinting at fertility rites performed here." I wonder if that's the first mention of an erect penis on this website? Probably not!