The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Men Gurta

Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>Men Gurta</b>Posted by MeicImage © Michael Mitchell
Nearest Town:Padstow (5km NNW)
OS Ref (GB):   SW968683 / Sheet: 200
Latitude:50° 28' 42.99" N
Longitude:   4° 51' 51.72" W

Added by phil

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I visited here a couple of weeks ago and there is now a signpost marked 'St Breock Downs Monolith' (no idea why they don't use its Celtic name), but as Men Gurta is only about 15 metres from the track of the Saint's Way it's probably easier just to follow those signs once you're on St Breock Downs.

The stone itself is still kept free of gorse, and there is a new Cornish Heritage Trust information panel near the stone.

The previously mentioned wind farm windmills aren't there at the moment, but there are still some huts and portacabins which make it look like they will be erecting some new ones in the not too distant future.
Posted by RoyReed
13th July 2014ce
Edited 13th July 2014ce

Visited 16.4.12

Aha, another E.H. site to knock off the list!
Although unusually for E.H. this site is not sign posted from any of the minor roads so finding it would be tricky without an O/S map.

Once you do find the stone access is very easy. You can park virtually next to the stone and it was nice to see that the area around the stone had been kept clear of the dreaded gorse. An information panel stands in front of the stone.

Despite the near by wind turbines there are good views to be had.
Posted by CARL
1st May 2012ce

This amazing monolith's markings give it an almost reptilian quality, scarred through with quartz. Striped, it gave me the impression of a dinosaur.

Peaking over the hedgerow as you approach, It is hugely impressive the closer you get. Towering 12 ft above you, it is a wonderful sight and well worth the hike up here.

There was no rubbish either, which had been a concern reading other field notes.

The gentle swoosh of the wind turbines in the distance got me to thinking what the erectors of this masterly stone would have made of the surroundings 3000 years on.

The silence was shattered by the FMJ screaming at the site of a grass snake. I should think it was more bothered at the interuption of it's sunbathing
jacksprat Posted by jacksprat
18th June 2007ce
Edited 14th July 2007ce

What a lump!..and I love this North Cornwall quartz seamed stone. As someone has allready said it is a shame about the rubbish strewn about the site...and I would guess it is a local landowner judging by the type of rubbish.
I waited patiently for the sun to come out from behind the clouds to get some decent photos...not sure if I succeded yet..will look later. Very windy and wet underfoot, I want to return on a drier day!
From here it is not far as the crow flies to Pawton Quoit or the Nine Maidens...but legal rights of way are few and far between and I ended up getting in the car and driving to the others. Perhaps on a nicer day I would have persevered and found a route.
Mr Hamhead Posted by Mr Hamhead
25th February 2007ce

In a stroke of genius I booked another week in Cornwall for the week the clocks change, and a week of stunning weather! It is early April and Bodmin Moor is tinder dry. Just before I arrived there had been several small fires in North Cornwall nd the day I left there was a large gorse fire at the other end of Cornwall (on the Lizard peninsula).

I stopped off in Dartmoor on the way, the sun was blazing and Fernworthy forest was so peaceful. Although it’s usually only the circle that is talked about Fernworthy is one of these ‘complexs’ with a stone circle , two cairns and cairn circles, two stone rows, and possible others. I was so taken in that I began to think I was an archaeologist for a day and soon I will have to unleash diagrams onto this fantastic TMA site! The south side of the forest also has a stone row. And a brisk walk onto the moor brings you to the Greywethers, a restored and stunning double circle. I also tried to find the Heath Stone on the way out. Does visiting ancient sites get much better than today?

On Sunday I went to the St Breock Downs area, checking out the St Breock Wind Farm Barrow, the colossal Men Gurta Menhir, and peering at the St. Breock Downs Menhir. I then moved south to the China Clay country (sounds like a theme park) to find the moved Menevagar / Roche Longstone and the huge Hensbarrow - this is the highest natural point in the area and the views back across the valley are stunning, with the St Breock Downs wind farm clearly visible. However, if you ignore the nice bit of the view you could just as easily think you are sitting on the moon as the clay works surround you. To round off a pretty lazy day I visited the two sites closest to where I was staying – Headon Barrow and Warbstow Bury, the later being quite stunning and the best-preserved hill slope fort in Cornwall.

On Monday I pleasured myself (steady on!) with a trip to the St.Austell Brewery - - and onto Mevagissey for sarnies on the harbour. I had forgotten my maps so instead of heading off for some yomping on Bodmin Moor I had to pull Plan B out, which was a visit to The County Museum in Truro - - I knew that the famed cup marked stone from the Tregiffian Burial Chamber was there, as was a copy of the Rillaton Cup, and other things. There is a huge amount to see and as they are a registered charity it is £4 well spent (and please fill out a Gift Aid form, so they can reclaim your tax!)

Tuesday led me on a huge barrow hunt, including the massive Tich Barrow, one of the Starapark Barrows, the Advent Triple Barrow (a rarity), and the Crowdy Reservoir Barrow and then several wind swept hours in the Roughtor area, including the Showery Tor ring cairn and cheesewring, and the Showery Tor Embanked Avenue, the Showery Tor Downs Cairn, Roughtor Slopes Cairn and three possible standing stones in the area. In an action packed day I also went to the fascinating King Arthur’s Hall, , the nearby King Arthur's Downs Stone Circles, the Casehill Cairn, and explored around the area; expect a diagram soon! On the way home I had a quick stop at Helsbury Castle.

Like it or loathe it I thought The Museum of Witchcraft - - was worth a visit so the next day I went to see it in Boscastle’s picturesque harbour. I was glad to see the Museum asking people not to have fires, leave rubbish or ‘inappropriate offerings’ at ancient sites. Later I visited three great cliff castle’s close by – Willabury Cliff Castle (Boscastle) plus the fascinating ‘stitch’ system of agriculture on Forrabury Common, Willabury Cliff Castle (Tintagel), and Tintagel itself. I also saw the curious Rocky Valley Rock Carvings but I’m even less convinced now. I had a quick search for Ugworthy Barrows (actually over the border in Devon) and the rare Woolley Long Barrow.

I really don’t seem to have got the hang of these ‘holidays’ have I? Not much resting going on, so I only went out on the moors late on Thursday, and spent some of Friday re-reading one of favourite books on the beach at Crackington Haven (‘Life and Times of Michael K’ by J.M.Coetzee if anyone is interested).

So several hours on Thursday were spent on Fox Tor & East Moor and in the Leskernick area of Bodmin Moor. Two totally different environments in one way (the former gorsey and brown, the later green but scarred and pitted like the moon) separated by the A30 but both full of ancient sites, and continued finds. East Moor includes the Fox Tor Stone Row (apparently), the East Moor Stone Row, and possible Menhir / Stone setting, and the Nine Stones of Altarnun. The Leskernick area is still being explored and new things still being found. My few hours included Leskernick Stone Row, a cairn near the stone row, Leskernick Stone Circel (Northern), Leskernick Stone Circle (South), the Leskernick ‘Quoit’, the Cairns on the summit of The Beacon, and a possible Kerbed Cairn and Barrow Cemetery on The Beacon
pure joy Posted by pure joy
6th April 2003ce

This is easy to find,it's by the side of the road in the grass.About 13ft tall with quartz lines running through it.Access no problem.There is a descriptive plaque as can be seen in Phil's photo. hamish Posted by hamish
22nd February 2003ce
Edited 22nd February 2003ce


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All the great stones in this area have these veins of quartz running through them. I wonder where they came from? hamish Posted by hamish
3rd March 2003ce
Edited 4th March 2003ce