I wasn't sure if or how we were supposed to get close and was considering cycling backto the entrance to the wind farm but at the bottom edge there was a gap in the fencing so I left FMJ with the bike and jumped over.
Like Men Gurta this stone is scarred thorugh with the distinctive quartz markings. Standing about 7ft high, there is a distinct fissure through the stone.
It reminds me a little of the Lynham Barrow Stone in Oxfordshire and I wonder if the angle of it's erection is deliberate or if it's down to subsidence. Both mark the locations of barrows and are at a 10 degree tilt. This is a bigger stone to the monolith at Lynham however and beautfully marked. Wonderful.
After viewing the Men Gurta I was dissapointed that I could not get close to this stone. The double row of barbed wire fencing makes it clear that entry to the field is not encouraged! I did think about going in via the gate into the windfarm but it would have then meant a walk down the whole length of the field to reach the stone. There are what looks like a couple of barrows in the field plus one just to the east. This is the eastern end of a row of them that runs past the Nine Maidens and includes around 50 barrows in a seven mile stretch.
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 - http://www.staustellbrewery.co.uk - 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 - http://www.royalcornwallmuseum.org.uk - 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!)
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).
You cannot miss this on the way to Men Gurta, I was here on a very cold Feb afternoon but couldn't find a way into the field without ripping myself to pieces on barbed wire, will return on warmer times.
A granite standing stone on St Breock Downs, surrounded by three round barrows and a bowl barrow. It is roughly rectangular in section and measures approximately 1.7 metres by 0.3 metres at the base, and is approximately 2.3 metres high. The stone stands on a very slight mound. Large cracks in the stone are probably due to frost action. Part of the rock has split off from the top and is wedged where it has dropped into a deep crack. This is a natural break. The standing stone is thought to be of Late Neolithic/ Early Bronze Age date.
(SW 97316826) Stone (NR) (1)
Granite monolith on St Breock Downs. Roughly rectangular in section and measuring 5ft 6" by 1ft at the base. Approximately 7ft 6" high. The stone stands on a very slight mound. (2)
As described; the mound is very shallow, about 0.1m high, and unsurveyable. Published siting correct. (3)
The stone is 2.4m high, 1.4m wide and 0.6m thick, and stands on a mound 0.1m high and 6.0m in diameter. Surveyed at 1:2500 on PFD. (4) Scheduled. (5)
( 1) Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) OS 6" 1963
( 2) General reference D of E (IAM) MS file 358
( 3) Field Investigators Comments F1 ANK 06-JAN-72
( 4) Field Investigators Comments F2 NJA 05-APR-77
( 5) Scheduled Monument Notification Cornwall