Although I have put this site in under cairns it is more than that...but I was not sure if sacred hill was quite the right description.
3 Dec 2004
Bray Down is the most northerly hill of Bodmin Moor, and I must admit I had never explored it until this week. Not that it is hard to reach or access, just that it had never looked that interesting. As it is I had noticed that there was a settlement marked on the OS map at SX191826, just above the road that runs from Altarnon to Davidstow Moor. Being in the area I decided to drive up and have a look.
I parked the car at Bowithick where the river is forded and a track goes off onto the wild moor below Buttern Hill. From here it is a plesant walk along the very quiet road back to where the settlement should be. After a while a muddy track heads off up the hill at a slight angle and I decided to follow this for a while before cutting back to the settlement.
That was the plan....
Then i noticed an abandoned farmstead ahead and went to have a nose....nothing ancient, well perhaps mid 1800s but still got me interested. After exploring the four cottages and adjecent barn I headed uphill to the summit. The views over the wild northern moor were superb, it is a very lonely empty place up here, no signs of habitation at all, no signs of roads, very few "landmarks" just rolling moorland.
But just to remind you that you are on Bodmin Moor the twin hills of Brown Willy and Roughtor stand proud to the west...and this afternoon they are silhoetted by the sinking sun.
On the summit of Bray Down are two cairns, one has been vritually destroyed and a trig point sat in the centre of it whilst the western one has been dug into but is still a mound. This could be something to do with the fact that it seems to be, like Showery Tor, a cairn built not over a burial site but around a natural feature. Two sides of the cairn have been dug into but only as far as the natural rocks. On the northern side three uprights remain on the edge of the cairn.
With the sun sinking I open the flask and pour a coffee, put on my coat and wait...the sun turns the rocks around me orange (and possibly me as well) before it dissapears behind clouds coming up from the west. It is time to move on..
I descend back down the hill to the car, the light fading with every step. As I reach the car I remmember that i was going to look for the settlement...oh well, goood excuse to come back.