If travelling North on the A39 from St Columb Major, once you reach the Roundabout at Winnard's Perch travel for almost exactly 1 mile and there is a lay-by on the opposite site of the road, pull in here and walk back on yourself for until you see a silver gate on your left and behold... The Nine Maidens!
They are on the far side of the field and as others have said, the bogginess is far worse than it looks, so wear Wellies.
I also discovered that there was a composer named George Lloyd who's first opera contained a piece 'Iernin', which was inspired by The Nine Maidens standing stones near St Columb Major, and tells the story of one of the Maidens who comes back to life as a fairy.
Yaaaay! somewhere I haven't been before.
The list gets smaller.
I spied around the place using Google earth, the 21st centuries scrying equipment, and used the parking place on the A39, and the stile by the gate.
What Google couldn't tell me was how boggy and muddy is the entry into the field, but Carl and Mr Hamhead sorted us with that information. But even so, I still went over in my trainers, they were soaked by the time I got to the stones, and brown in general colour.
The distressing colour of my feet was however off set against the more than pretty colour of the Maidens. Whilst grey in the main, some maidens have a pink quartzy shine to them, and they all have white quartz veins running through them, it's impact upon me may have been lessened though ive just come here straight from Duloe stone circle ( Via Newquay zoo, they have a Fishing cat Dontcha know).
They are very pretty, maidens draped in long pearl necklaces.
But some Maidens have fallen, one seems to be calling out unheeded for help from her friends, but it gets worse, the end Maiden has fallen and broken her self in two. Sad.
They still retain some composure though, I have a liking for stones having a lie down.
The trickle of water that runs by the stones could be construed as pleasant, I certainly found it conducive to a happy disposition.
Still, it was wet and muddy so all things in balance.
There is a layby you can park in shortly beyond the B3274 / A39 junction (layby is on A39). Once parked, walk back towards the junction (about 150 metres) and you can enter the field in which the stone row stands via a gate. The stone row is visible from the gate - about 100 metres away. I counted 7 upright stones, 1 half-fallen and at least 2 fallen. Be warned, the ground is very boggt near the field gate but does dry out the nearer you get to the stones. I touched them all for luck!
Once you get back to the layby, if you walk 300 metres in the opposite direction there is a metal gate. In this field (visible from gate) is 'The Fiddler standing stone. If you walk up the farm track the stone is on your left but in the next field.
The stone is a small, squarish stump of a stone - not much to write home about. I assume it is connected with the the Nine Maidens as it is shown on the O/S map as The Fiddler.
The Nine Maidens was marked on my Visitors to Cornwall map but, because of the gloomy evening, it took about three drive by's and ten minutes aimless traipsing before I finally spied the Maidens at the far end of the field.
Maybe it was the evening or the light, or that I was alone but I gained a sense of uneasiness approaching the stones, almost forboding. It passed when I reached them and was snapping away.
Ironically named, the stones all seem to be male, if you go by the shaping if they were in a circle. They bear the now familiar quartz scarring and stretch some fifty metres in total alignment length.
Set at the far end from the road, there is a style for easy access about 200 metres from the layby I parked in.
Having just visited the Nine Maidens today I would advise not going after rain! The field was more water than earth.
Could I make a request...Please do not make for the stones by hopping over the hedge by the lay by. You will notice that some new fencing has been erected to stop this but people have obviously decided to go around this. If you walk down the road a short distance there is a nice new stile beside a gate leading into the field. You can then follow the official track across the field to the opposit side where the stones are.
Sadly today was not the best day to take photos..very gray cloudy day...until I got home and as I sit here now the sun is out and there is hardly a cloud in the sky...
Visited the Maidens Sep 2003, after spotting them on our AA road map, very close to the A39 with a handy layby. It seemed a good stop to make on the way back from Tintagel and the Witchcraft museum at Boscastle. I was a bit dubious about the Maiden's authenticity, I have to say, but maybe that's my natural skepticism...
I avoided the stile, as my wife and I had attracted the cows in the field right up to that point in the fence. So I went to a gate a bit further SW down the road. If you walk from there, you pass a few much smaller stones along the edge of a dirt track across the field. Lots of quartz in evidence.
The stones seem a bit hap-hazard: Fallen or pushed? Some of them are standing well and are quite large. There's a ditch (with water) that runs alongside them - that probably doesn't help their stability. It all felt a bit lonely and the stile is the only (dodgy) evidence of a public footpath. I was pretty sure I was trespassing. Still, I touched them all for luck, and shan't forget the visit. I've got a photo my wife took from the layby, which I shall try to submit. Don't know what she thought of me, consorting with maidens in a field on our honeymoon... :-)
Before the relatively recent discovery of 8 stone rows on Bodmin Moor and one at Lezant, this superb and intriguing stone row was believed to be the only one in Cornwall. Unlike other stone rows these stones are very large, and are aligned on a menhir 500m to the North East known as the Fiddler / Magi Stone (see separate entry for that).
The travel instruction already on this site are excellent, although I would add that t is a small SOS phone, so don't look for a big public phone box. It is a public footpath to the stones, from the stile, which is an interesting up and down affair, rather like mini ramparts of a hill fort. The field was very very sodden when I visited and full of sheep.
The northern most stone has amazing streaking of quartz across it.
In a field at side of A39 to Wadebridge, near Columb Major. Go past the woods on the left, then look for layby on right with phone. There is a stile by layby, but hidden. You cannot miss the stones.
This is the only alignment of stones within the County of Cornwall. Nine stones remain extending over 300ft. Some big, some small, some fallen. Orientated NE/SW. After eight hours in the motor, dusk here brought me up.
The nine maiden's may be based on the norse tradition of the nine other worlds as the location of nine maidens folklore in the area of perthshire and angus are in the same area as hog's back tomb stones which are of norse origin .
In 1605 Richard Carew said:-
Wade bridge deliuereth you into waste ground, where 9 long and great stones called The sisters stand in a ranke together, and seem to have been so pitched, for continuing the memory of somewhat, whose notice is yet enuied vs by time.