Sitting at the car park below Grimspound with the map across the dash board we reckoned we had a pretty good idea where this row was. Much better in fact than the walkers we could see doubling back on themselves in the rough ground above Headland Warren. Were they trying to find the rows too? We decided to walk up to Grimspound and from there skirt Hookey Tor, cross the road and then pick up the footpath around the farm. After climbing for a few hundred yards we decided we needed to be turning to the left just as some gateposts came into view.
Far from gateposts these were in fact, the eastern end of a fine 160 metre triple row of stones. They looked quite different to the pictutre I'd held in my mind's eye. The three black and white images in Burl's From "Carnac to Callanish" suggest a much more exposed position. Instead these stones were fighting their way through the bracken, helped it must be said by a recent burn to the vegetation.
We took dozens of photographs of the male and female pairs and walked the row several times. My most striking and lasting impression was that the triangular terminal stone on the horizon at the "top" of the row was almost wafer thin.
Challacombe is on a direct line and about half way between Grimspound and the Warren Inn and despite being clearly visible from both of these honeypots it seems sadly ignored.
Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor (1912 but frequently reprinted - ie 1990 Peninsula Press) is an invaluable aid for a trip to the area. I discovered this book in the library of an excellent bed and breakfast in Chagford and rushed out to buy a copy from a local bookshop the next day. Crossing has this to say about Challacombe:
Here we shall come across a triple stone row, the existence of which was recorded in 1830, but at that time the whole of the stones composing it were lying on the ground. A few years ago they were re-erected so that the visitor has now something to look at, but whether he will be able to find any interest in what is only a late 19th century erection, formed out of old material and on an ancient plan is another matter. No real antiquarian interest can attach to such an erection as this, [but] at the same time we are constrained to admit that rebuilding is preferable to allowing the stones to lie upon the turf, and this even at the risk of it being said (and it has been said) that on Dartmoor you can be supplied with stone monuments "while you wait".