With Cut Hill (and Fur Tor) our main aims for the day, we parked at the Post Bridge car park and set off into the moor. Before I go any further with this field report, this walk should not be attempted with out great respect for the dangers that Dartmoor holds. Over the rough and boggy ground we had to pull one of our party from a thigh high bog and considered ourselves lucky that no sprains or twists were picked up on the day. With my conscience clear, I will happily sing the praises of this wonderful wilderness.
The February (27.2.05) weather was sunny with strong easterly winds and a crisp frost/light snow covering making walking the wet areas slightly easier, (in our opinion) but obviously icy areas were an extra hazard. Using an OS 1:25000 map we took the direct route, (favoured by mountain goats) this gave us many beautiful hill top panoramas; a fitting reward for our exertions. Cut Hill is in a Military range; this is clearly marked with red/white posts (Range details can be obtained by ringing 0800 458 4868, this number is also on the OS 1:25k Map).
Cut hill stone row (SX 599 828) is the highest in the Dartmoor national park at 1,971 feet, consisting of six stones, all of which are in a prone position. From the SW end of the row, the first stone measured 7'6" x 2'11" and visible at its base are several smaller packing stones, evidence of the problems faced in erecting a stone row in this peat terrain. No. 2 - 7'10" x 2'7", No. 3 - 6'1" x 2'3" and has the letters J E W carved into it, No. 4 - 6'3" x 3'11", No. 5 - 8'6" x 2'3" and on the other side of a peat platform No. 6 - 6'10" x 3'5".
I took a bearing from true north of approx 230 deg, this closely aligns Cut Hill stone row with the midwinter sunset. (Referencing from Prehistoric Astronomy and Ritual by A. Burl, at a latitude of 50 deg. the midwinter sunsets at 231 deg.)
WSW of stone 1 stands a platform of peat containing a ditched barrow with a diameter of 46ft and standing 5ft at its highest point. The row and barrow are not aligned, this distinction is also shared by the small cairn found between stones 3 & 4.
The beautiful & remote setting gave this stone row an inspiring aura. Settling down out of the wind to spend some time just savouring the atmosphere, the pervasive spiritual connection with our ancestors surrounded me.
If you've made the journey to Cut hill, I would recommend the extra walk to Fur Tor (some superb rock climbing) as a beautiful spot to eat some lunch and a really good wind break. We journeyed back via the East Dart river / Sandy hole pass, this route was very boggy near some of the rivers tributaries, but with some paths and less steep climbs this felt an easier route, although longer.