Of the three stone circles in the area, Stannon, Fernacre and here at Louden hill, this one is in the poorest condition, and yet, even if the other circles were not here I would still have come just for these stones, perhaps not for six hours, and perhaps not all this way for just one stone circle, but with as many as 36 stones still left you have to come and see it at some time, don't you?
Despite the high number of stones left in the circle most of them are having a lie down, which proves what I've always heard about the Cornish. From the south end of the circle away across the moors to the south I can just make out where King Arthurs hall is, I zoom in on it with my camera and i'm surprised I picked it out of the wilderness so easily. I'm also surprised to see the Hall framed from behind by a low hill, they do that don't they? Frame a site by a hill when seen from another site, and surprise me.
If you've got a list of sites that need to be seen and Louden Hill is on it then you'll have no choice but to come here, but you should come anyway, list or not.
The original plan was to drive to Middle Moor Cross by Camperdown Farm, park up and walk to Fernacre stone circle via Louden circle, a round trip of about 3 miles, as the road/track from the cross is private. Well that was the plan, but it changed when a friend suggested we take her 4x4 and drive beyond the cross and continue along the private track to both circles. We set out on the A30 and took the turning right signposted St Breward opposite the second turning for Temple on the left. It comes at the end of a section of dual carriageway after passing the Jamaica Inn on your left 4 miles prior to this.
This moorland road takes you passed the Trippet Stones on your right at the crossroad signposted Treswigga to the left and St Breward straight on. Turn right here if visiting the Trippets which can be seen from this point.
Continue on the St Breward road by following the signposts and you’ll pass over Delford Bridge then passed East Rose holiday park/fishing on the right. Straight through the next crossroad which in turn brings you to another to the northern end of St Breward at Churchtown. Church Hay Down is on your right at this crossroad and you turn right here signposted Candra. Follow this road which bears around to the right after half a mile and after another bend, over a cattle grid. You’ll then pass the road to Candra Hill on the right and part of the Treswallock Downs which is littered with huge boulders. No shortage of building materials here! The road then sweeps around to the left but as it does there is a short ‘link’ road to the right that you take and then right again on meeting the ‘main’ road which takes you directly to Middle Moor Cross.
Now it was decision time, because you hit a PRIVATE road which is clearly signed. After consideration we decided to take a chance and go for it. We continued and soon met another private road sign at Camperdown Farm, so now had been warned twice. Rightly or wrongly we again decided to continue because there wasn’t a soul about as far as the eye could see. Within five minutes I spotted on the horizon of the slightly rising ground a dark shape on the moor on the right-hand size of the track. Yep, it was the leaning triangular stone of the Louden circle our first port of call. I loved it and gave me a much nicer feel than I got at Stannon stone circle just over the way by the dreadful china clay quarry next to it! These are big circles in this area of Bodmin Moor but surprisingly the majority of the stones are really quite small in comparison to other Cornish circles and it remains a mystery to me why that should be so. Louden, Stannon and Fernacre all have a major triangular stone and this must surely signify something of significance, but what? No common point on the compass as far as I could tell, but have no knowledge of any celestial alignments that may come into play as that is not my thing!
I counted 36 stones in total at Louden but three were just under the turf. The triangular stone was due south from the centre of the circle. Most of the stones are virtually at surface level but not broken, so it surely indicates a build-up of soil over the years as the stones have sunk into the peaty soil. In the gapped areas I probed the turf with a dowsing rod which my friend carried and discovered three more stones where they should have been in the ring setting just covered with an inch or two of turf. I didn’t count those that were lying immediately to the sides of a couple of stones as they were quite small and possibly broken off the main stone. I would imagine that later in the summer (this was the 4th May) that other than the triangular stone, Louden could be difficult to find due to increased grass length, but once you have found it there is no mistaking it. One clue is that just yards to the east of the circle on the edge of the track on the southern side is a stainless steel ‘box’ nearly at ground level with the letters PO on it.
As at most circles on the moor there are always other stones lying around and it is a hopeless task even considering whether they are part of the site or not. Not shown on my OS map but just across the track from the circle and slightly to the east is what appears to be a lovely stone ring cairn. Close inspection showed it to have been constructed in three stages I thought with three separate rings of edging stones forming it away from the burial area. It was all a bit ‘interfered’ with but that’s what I gathered by close inspection and one is led to believing it may have had a connection with the circle in some way.
Link to photos here:- https://picasaweb.google.com/100525707086862773355/LoudenStoneCircle?authkey=Gv1sRgCJ3b5YqlqK6vBA#5739140100505851778
Don't go looking on Louden Hill for this circle..it's to the south of it. The circle lies on a plateau just to the south of the track to Fernacre Fm from Middlemoor Cross. Visiting in August most of the stones are well obscured by the grass..although there are very few to be seen anyway. To be honest it is not worth making the trip just to see this circle...good job Fernacre is just up the track and Stannon just over the hill..oh and Roughtor and Brown Willy looking down on you from above...and all the stuff to hunt for on Loudon Hill..and just the thrill of being out on Bodmin Moor.
What more could you want?
The Logan stone here is one of the best I know of, it's easy to spot, looking like a giant smartie sitting on a flat area of the outcrop and rocks easily (you just need to press lightly on the edge to set it going) but feels good and stable as it never rocks too far. A great boulder to sit on and appreciate the view across to Rough Tor while rocking gently.
Took the route from stannon circle and thought that the Louden circle would appear before us as we reached the crest of the hill.....wrong!
The circle would easily be missed if wasn't for the map we had with us. There seems to be about 4 what you could call standing stones (stumps) and the rest are more or less stones on the ground.
Had trouble tracing the shape also. Just to confuse things stones seem to stick out of the ground all over the place many are obviously cairns there are also some stone banks that aren't marked on OS maps. Unfortunately didnt have time to travel down to Fernacre which would have been an circle within easy reach if we had time (maybe another day)
After finally finding this it then made me realise how pathetic my 'possible circle remains' looked (see the sub-site I've called 'Louden Hill 2??'). Although this is regarded as a pretty minor circle (it is only mentioned in passing by Aubrey Burl in his 'Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany' (1995) and was not apparently discovered until 1973) at least it is clearly a fallen circle.
I counted 31 stones, including one double stone and several only just poking through the moor land, but not including probable overgrown stones (humps in the ground), nor possible stones just inside/outside the circle. This is rather strange because Craig Weatherhill counted 16/17 stone in all (see 'Cornovia: Ancient Sites of Cornwall and Scilly' - Cornwall Books - 1985, revised 1997 & 2000).
Several other stones seem to be scattered outside especially to the East and North East.