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Fieldnotes by goffik

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Goldherring (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Visited July 2004

We visited this completely by accident some years back, and for some reason it's been hovering around in my thoughts so I thought it about time I added it here!

Mrs G and I took a circular walk, starting from Sancreed Holy Well, via Boscawen-Un and associated standing stones, when I spotted the word "Well", in script, not far up the road, so we thought we may as well investigate.

Following the map, we were taken up the driveway of a private house, with "Goldherring" displayed in the wrought iron gate. We thought it just the name of the property, and thought nothing more of it, as we hadn't heard of the place until then.

We saw someone sitting in the garden, so we cautiously and politely approached to ask if they knew anything of the well. The man was vrey friendly, and before we could say anything, asked if we'd come to look at the ancient village! Well, yes please, we replied!

He very kindly took us on a guided tour of the site - which, to be honest, was largely unrecogniseable under the foliage, but every now and again, a large stone, or section of wall would appear through a gap. He showed me the location of the well, which was completely overgrown and unidentifiable, and was informed that it had been long since covered after a cow got trapped (and later freed) after falling in!

It was amazing to see the lumps and bumps, and trace the shapes into possible circular buildings

Craig Weatherhill, in his excellent book "Belerion", suggests the walls are actually later in date (Medieval). We didn't even think about referring to the book when we visited, due to not even knowing of it's existence, but would dearly love to go back and have a good explore.

Plozévet (Standing Stone / Menhir)

If it wasn't for the entry in Aubrey Burl's "Megalithic Brittany", I'd probably have passed this by believing it to be a folly!

According to Burl, "It is a thin, grey pillar, striated by the weather. It stands at 2.3 metres high and has been incorporated into a memorial to the dead of the First World War".

Now - I've seen a few standing stones in churchyards, and a few christianised ones, but never, until now, one that's been turned into a war memorial!

It's a fine sight, though. Sort of jumps out at you as you round the corner. The later additions are quite odd. Really makes it look like the whole thing is a modern construct.

The war memorial, as far as I can tell, was built by René Quillivic. According to Wikipedia:
"After World War I he had the opportunity to pursue his art in the form of war memorials, in which he typically emphasised pacifist ideals. Most of these were located in Finistère (Carhaix, Coray, Fouesnant, Loudéac, Plouhinec, Plouyé, Plozévet, Pont-Croix, Pont-l'Abbé, and Saint-Pol-de-Leon)."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Quillivic

Slightly separate from the main memorial is another (modern) menhir, with the head of a woman and an inscription bearing names of the deceased.

At the other end of the churchyard is the "fontaine de Saint Théleau à Plozevet" - a delightful little holy well which I sadly didn't take any photos of!

Access:
About 21km on the D784 from Quimper towards Audierne, on the right hand side of the road, in the churchyard. there is a car park next to the church.

Verwood Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 20/10/2007

Fieldnotes to come when I can find them!

Directions from memory: We parked at the end of St Stephen's Lane, and followed the well-defined footpath as it wound it's way through the forest. After a shortish distance we reached the reservoir. Just after the reservoir is the signpost - on your left - pointing left toward the stone. Further down this path is another sign, pointing right up a smaller path. The stone is just at the end.

Mardon Down Stone Circle

Ah! So this is what it's called!

Marked on the OS map only as "Stone Circle".

Visited one bright, sunny but VERY cold day last weekend, this was a very pleasant surprise! After a very short walk on a high ridge with panoramic views, the circle appears in front of you, behind a wooden fence urging people to not walk on the monument. The fence is in no way intrusive, and does not block access to the circle, but obviously it's better to stay on the outside of it for preservation reasons.

My first reaction is that it's a lot bigger than I expected! The stones that are still standing are broader and higher, and the diameter greater than I imagined.

It's very exposed up there, so is very cold when that wind blows! The gorse was being burned when we were there, and the sound of a chainsaw permeated the air, but despite that, it felt like a very peaceful location.

A prominent cairn sits just in front of the circle, by the path, which is diverted around the outside of the circle. The other visitors, while we were there, also obeyed the polite notice to stay off it. Nice to see the effect a simple, gentle request has on people!

Access: Parking at approximately SX770872, follow the well-defined path for about 10 minutes up hill, and voila!

Weather permitting, I'd say this was pushchair and (just about) wheelchair friendly.

Pawton Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Mrs Goffik and I were extremely lucky to have seein this on the last day of our trip in September.

It's a cracking example of a quoit - the arrow-shaped capstone (which needs no introduction as it's well documented) is HUGE!!! I know our ancestors were nifty with the old stone erection, but still... HOW???!?!

This place feels quite isolated, in a nice way. It's difficult to see from below as it was covered in ferns and brambles when we visited (no crops, luckily for us!) but it commands some nice views.

And has anyone else noticed how it appears to point towards a gap in the distant hills that reveals the sea? Or is it just me? See http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/post/54132

After looking at the map, I'm now curious to explore what is marked, between the quoit and Men Gurta, as "Pawton Springs". :o)

Access: From Wadebridge, follow the A39 South past the Cornwall showground, and take the left turn at Whitecross - signposted, as I recall, to Pawton and Nanscow(e). Follow the road for just under a mile and bear left at the junction. Take the next right (this heads toward the wind farm). The quoit is in, I think, the 3rd field on the right at the top end. There are several gates in the hedge along the road which are traversable. Parking is difficult, but once in the field, the going is quite easy.

Rubha Charnain (Cup Marked Stone)

I came across this site in the book "Lewis and Harris - History and Pre-History" by Francis Thompson.

Mrs Goffik and I followed the all-too-vague directions down to the coastline, along a narrow track from the A859, towards Glen Kyles and Rubha Charnain (which isn't signposted, if I remember rightly).

After investigating just about every rock along the small headland, we turned our focus beyond the house at the end of the small road. Navigating along the water's edge, we hopped up onto the grass beyond the fence surrounding the house, and continued straight on (I presume the unfenced area isn't private, anyway!). There is what appears to be an old wall pointing out toward the sea, and just to the left of that is a slope down to the black rocks. The unmistakeable cup-marks are pretty much all around you as you head to the farthest point!

And there's dozens of them! Ranging from coin-sized all the way up to dinner-plate-sized!

Apparently the larger ones may be more modern, although how this is known, I have no idea. They were used by fishermen for holding bait within living memory, but as far as I'm aware, it's nigh on impossible to date rock art... So maybe they were created thousands of years ago and used for that purpose because they were convenient!

The views are spectacular, across the Sound of Harris to the rocky islands of Saghaigh Mor and Saghaigh Beag with Easaigh beyond... Watching the Calmac Ferry come in from Berneray to Leverburgh...

Rock art is apparently very rare in the Outer Hebrides, which makes this place all the more unusual and worth the visit.

Access: Head North on the A859 from Leverburgh, and just after the village, turn left onto a single-track road. The road meanders gently past a couple of houses until a tight(ish) bend (you can probably park here quite safely - we did!) by a small, pebbly beach. The road continues past the bend and terminates at a private house. Follow the coastline to beyond the house and walk along the grass until you reach the slope down to the rocks. Head toward the farthest point and you will see cup-marks all around you!

The Puckstone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

I've been here a few times recently, and it appears the bracken has been cut back!

I picked my way to the top of this low mound, and saw what I presumed to be just the tip of the rocky outcrop that I assumed the Puckstone to be. Maybe that was the alleged standing stone?

I was walking along near the Agglestone last weekend, and could see the Puckstone silhouetted against the sky - it looked a LOT more prominent than my previous visit... I'll see if any of my pics show this in any detail.

Clitters Cairn (Cairn(s))

We popped by this lovely cairn on our way to and from the Nine Stones of Altarnun a couple of days ago...

We had to take a different route from the recommended start point of Tolcarne Farm, cos there was a dead sheep with it's insides spilling out blocking the gate. Moving the gate would have been a bit gruesome, so we shied away and drove round to what is possibly Treburland...

Bit of a longer walk, but very pleasant... Walked to the end of the track to what was once a gate (destroyed by a careless farmer, apparently!), left down the path that doubled as a delightful stream, then up, up and more up... It's all signposted as footpath until you reach the woods. Then up, up and up again alongside the woods. Keep going and you will pretty much fall into the cairn, as far as I can remember!

Ver' nice it is too. Lovely windblown tree as a marker, some smaller stones (and an empty cider can which I removed) inside it - it makes a great wind-break! There is a wall that runs up to and beyond the cairn that made me think of a stone row... Wonder if it ever was? I know there are boundary stones aplenty in the area, but they were elsewhere...

You can see the Nine Stones of Alternun from here, too, which is handy if you're lost!

Very windy and boggy, but pleasantly remote...

Golden Cap (Sacred Hill)

We visited this area yesterday for the first time, and what a beautiful, crisp, sunny day it was too!

Didn't check this page first, so trusted the directions in the big papery version and got a bit lost! Headed, as suggested, along the A35 between Bridport and Lyme Regis, but as Rhiannon says - no signpost was forthcoming... Eventually, I gave in and checked my seriously-lacking-in-detail road map, and, lo! Golden Cap was marked on it! Just next to Chideock...

So we drove back till we got to Chideock, and took a chance turning toward Seatown, where we then saw a sign for the Golden Cap Holiday Park - hurrah! At the end of said road is a car park just opposite the pub with voluntary £1 all day parking. Footpaths are marked from there (although currently diverted due to erosion).

We took the opposite path, heading toward Bridport, taking in the highest cliff on the South coast from Thorncombe Beacon - a fantastic vantage point! And a large tumulus right next to it as a bonus for the steep, hilly walk. Some lovely hills/hillforts to be seen from there.

The cliff garden at the Anchor Inn is a fantastic place to watch the sun go down with a rewarding pint of ale...

Getting back out onto the A35 was a bastard tho!

Access: This one's for the *relatively* fit (or the determined!) Sometimes steep, frequently slippery. Cows.

Caiplich Prehistoric Settlement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

We stayed at the marvellous Clansman Hotel on the banks of Loch Ness. Continuing up the road toward Inverness, we noticed a settlement marked on the map, so took a diversion.

On the A82 from Fort William toward Inverness, just under 2 miles after the Clansman Hotel is a left turn to Abriachan. (You need to go right first, onto a funny little turning bit, cos the corner is so tight!). Continue up the steep, wniding road for about 2 miles, and you will find the small parking area with noticeboard. To your right is the remains of the prehistoric village.

It's in a beautiful location, but to be honest, at the time of year we were there (early September) there wasn't a lot to see! A few stones, presumably from the huts, were poking out from the heather here and there, and you could *just* make out a few circular outlines... A very peaceful place. Boggy. Unspoilt. Worth a look if you're in the area, but not really worth going out of your way for! Might be better at other times in the year when the heather's lower..!

The best bit was the view, continuing along the road to get back on the A82! Didn't realise how high we were!

Access: Parking by the information board, the site is across the very quiet road, through a gate. Paths had been cut into the grass, which were surrounded by low lying heather.

Dod Law Hillfort (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

We liked it here, the missus and me...

Hob brought us up here one sunny(ish) afternoon. Last Friday in fact! Seems like ages ago!

A short walk through the golfcourse in Wooler stand several of these magnificent stones, carved with magical motifs. This particular one being within the ramparts of the hillfort.

Dripping water into the shapes and letting it run naturally into the grooves (giving it a gentle rub to spread it to the edges) really highlights the shapes.

The sun came out at just the right moment to take a few pics of the "ring of fire"... the water looked like molten metal for a couple fo minutes - fab!

We were happy here... I forgot for a while that I was on a golf course - wonder how many of these golfers know what they're walking among? Better than whacking a ball with a stick, I reckon!

Stan Stane (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Wow. What an amazing place this island is! Very barren... very windy!

Walking down the "main road" (said with a wry smile!) from the lighthouse to the bird observatory, we came across this tall fellow...

In a field near the observatory, unmissable due to the lack of much else! There is an electric fence around the drystone wall here, which suggests the owner would rather people didn't go into the field... I'm sure it's passable, but out of politeness, and respect for the cows, we stayed outside the perimeter.

But it's a bit of a beauty! Very tall, broad yet somehow slender, with a wee hole in it about three-quarters of the way up.

I've heard that the stone is still in use today - at New Year, the islanders gather round it and sing songs! Fantastic!

According to Orkneyjar (http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/monoliths/stanstane.htm) it could well be an outlier to a long-gone stone circle... It's certainly in a good location, and I was surprised there weren't more standing stones on the island...

Dress for rain! And wind!


Access: From the airport, turn right at the war memorial, and follow the main road from the airport to the bird observatory. The stone is unmissable in a walled field on your right. Just past the walled field is an open field. Half way along the wall is a style.

N.B. The wall and style are surrounded by a low voltage electric fence, which I am led to believe means the landowner would prefer you not to enter the field. Which stands to reason. Use your discretion.

Boleigh (Fogou)

Visited the fogou 9th June 2004.
(rewritten 23/06/04 cos I was half asleep first time!)

What a lovely place!

I was a bit nervous of this place after all I'd read about the odd happenings here, but found it to be a very peaceful place. We'd meant to visit many times but ALWAYS forgot to call ahead or bring the phone number with us (had to call Moth for it this time!)

The setting is very beautiful - I found it strange to think there was a house close by cos it just felt so secluded!

I find fogous odd anyway (I'm sure I'm not alone here!) - I start off full of beans, happily exploring and snapping away with the camera (normally just so I can see where I'm going! The torch normally gets swallowed up into the darkness...) and feeling like this is just a man-made hole in the ground... Then, unexpectedly, I get a shiver, and have felt quite scared (at Halligye I fair shat meself after about half an hour of feeling fine!)

So what is it with fogous? Boleigh is very beautiful, and very peaceful, as mentioned above, and is not exactly in the middle of nowhere...

I loved it here - it felt like I was in a time machine... I thought I was there for about 10 minutes, but emerged from the hole in the ground over an hour later!

Rob and (I'm so sorry I didn't catch your name!) his wife/partner (sorry again!) were absolutely lovely. Very welcoming indeed. The house itself is amazing, and some rooms are being let for a really relaxing B&B style holiday, along with a HUGE cottage that sleeps around 6!!! (Check out http://www.rosemerrynwood.co.uk/ for more info)

We shall definately return to Boleigh - not just for the fogou, but to spend the week (or 2) - maybe I'll even pluck up the courage to explore the fogou at night - wooo! Big chicken... ;o)

Madron Holy Well (Sacred Well)

I'd been to Madron before, and was aware that the well itself was away from the wishing well and chapel, but thought the only way to get to it was wearing waders!

On my last visit, however, I was impelled to try one of the many gaps in the trees on by the path, and try to find this path I'd heard of - found it! The path is a nuber of small logs - well, branches - laid out across the mire - very slippery when I was there (May 2003) and I was glad of my sturdy walking boots! I felt like Indiana Jones, leaping across huge puddles, swinging on overhanging branches (just like he did in that film, oh, Indiana Jones & the Fat Bastard, I think it was - not one of his best...)

After what seemed like ages, I came to the end of the path, and discovered some old clouties hanging above what looked like a pond - the well! Some stones were visible, but due to the amount of water, it was suitably submerged.

I felt I was in the middle of nowhere - it was so quiet. Gorgeous. Must pop back during drier weather...

G

Yellowmead Multiple Stone Circle

Wow. That's what I say, anyway! What an absolutely peaceful place this is... only the wind, sheep and birds making any noise. Oh, and the occasional low-flying aircraft! Bloody MOD...

But what a weird one! I knew this was made up of smallish stones, but I was shocked at how small! Some of the stones are weeny, but the whole place feels really powerful... Just so peaceful, calm and relaxing... I will most certainly come back here... and so should you!

Directions: On the A386, come off the big roundabout at Yalverton. There is a row of shops, and a small road leading off behind them towards Meavy. Follow the signposts to Sheepstor until you see a sign for Nattor - head for Nattor - the car park is at the end of the road.

From the car park, the circle is roughly North-West and can be reached in a number of very squidgy, marshy routes: Direct - through the stream - very wet!; From the left - along the fence - still boggy and streamy!; from the right - boggy, soggy, marshy, but probably the driest and there are some discernable paths...

Go on then! Off you go!

Moorgate Menhir (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Came to see this last September on a bit of an exploration of other local bits 'n' bobs. It is easy to find, marked on the OS map, and a brief walk from the road. If you've got the car, there is nowhere to park in the immediate vicinity that I found.

It's a nice stone - very tall! There is a massive chunk missing, that I'm sure I read somewhere was lopped off to become part of a road (although I could be confused with another story!) - I also read about the way that, due to this, it changes shape quite dramatically from each angle - which it does! It's not in the most ambient of locations, but that's not to say it's not worth another visit. Maybe it'd be different if I wasn't so paranoid about my parking!

There are several other stones from teh direction we came from, some of which formed a distinct circle. I will post the pics of that soon - it's not marked on the map if it is anything, but it is a circle of stones for sure! About 10-15 metres round (from memory). I re-checked me pics t'other day, and it really does look deliberate!

But... where I did park was a bit precarious, so I had to leg it back before anyone complained. Not that anyone was around, but that's the conscienscious person I am... :o)

Marlborough Mound (Artificial Mound)

On our way for a wee bit of a visit to the smaller less-visited bits of Avebury and surroundings (main target: Swallowhead Spring) I suddenly remembered the Mound.

Taking a cheeky diversion through the main gates ("Private") I drove down to the car park ("Private") and thought if anyone should ask, I'm lost and am just turning round! Ooh, I'm such a rebel!

Nearly drove straight past it! It's massive and I didn't expect it to be so close to the road! So we parked up, reasonably happy that it was before term starts, and it was Sunday. Saw a security type chap that just gave a friendly wave, bless him!

Surprised by it all, really. Didn't read up on it before I went. Surprised by the shell grotto (which I thought was quite nice really! Sorry!); totally surprised by the water tank at the top! Yuk! And what's that chimney for? Didn't even know there was a white (yellow!) horse nearby - modern or not!

It is very high, and the views that you can squeeze out of the trees are pretty good. I liked it and will probably hazard a return at some point. Mightily impressive.

I quite like the fact that, enormous as it is, you don't really notice it till you know it's there!

Never did get to that spring though...

Tolven Holed Stone

Popped in here on the way to the Lizard Peninsula for wells, fogous and the such. Was a bit wary of knocking, despite plenty of people saying the owners of the cottage are happy to let you see it! I'm terrible for access if I even get an inkling it's private, but this is a bit blatant! You can see it from the little back road but it's not the same... ;o)

We heard someone in the garden so knocked at the gate (couldn't see how to get in any other way anyhoo!) There was a lovely lady there on her tea break (she was decorating for the owners, who were not there) and she let us in. Must be my winning smile...

The stone is probably the weirdest that I've seen! It's leaning quite a bit, and triangular... You can see that from the pictures, though... But it's a lot bigger than I expected. It was stone cold on a lovely summery day, and damp. It seems to be almost perpetually in the shade of the cottage. Who'd build a cottage so close to this lovely stone? It's a shame, but nice that the owners/decorators are so welcoming to visitors.

Very nice stone. Wonder what it meant?

Chalice Well (Sacred Well)

Ah, yes, the Chalice Well theme park and gardens. ;o)

To be honest, I wasn't overly impressed with the well itself, and all it's concrete gullies and gutters... The gardens themselves are rather nice, and worth a visit, but I feel that this is one of them there places that have had the soul sucked out of them.

It all seems a little commercial. Several old people "om"ming on benches; More concrete. It's really just a part of the big Glastonbury hype.

I like Glastonbury, I really do, but it does seem to cash in rather heavily on all this Arthur stuff. (Nah, really?) I know what I'm trying to say, anyway...

I know I'm not alone here: it seems that the less well (ahem) known sites are the ones that retain the atmosphere. Regarding wells, my favourite and the most peaceful ones I've visited have all been a little out of the way, seldom visited (you can just sense it, OK?!) and hardly touched. Alsia well and the Fairy Well are perfect examples of this. No concrete. No admission fee. No old people "om"ming. Just peace and tranquility. And mighty fine tasting water!

Anyway...

The Fairy Well (Sacred Well)

Mrs Goffik and I tried to find this place May 2003, but, being the buffoon I am, approached it from the wrong direction, throwing the directions that I had into disarray!

This time, we took the first signed road to the beach at Carbis Bay, from the A3074 toward St Ives, and past the church on the left, took the next right into Headland Road. At the end of the road is a footpath that goes straight ahead or left. We turned left, down the slope, and over the train track, then right along the cliff path, down a steep bit, then, when the path forks, take the left turn. Again, a quite steep bit, but a very short distance will lead you to this beautiful, clear, flowing well...

It's completely untouched by modern hand, bar the obligatory clouties in the tree above. An inspiring setting, made all the better by the beautiful sunny day.

It is a natural well, granted, with no man-made structure around. It is attributed to St Uny, who was about in the 5th century, but I bet anyone a million squillion quid* that is was used by neolithic/bronze age man on a regular basis, both for the wonderful tasting fresh water continually gushing through, and the spiritual essence that is undoubtably in residence. If you believe that sort of thing. It's nice, whatever.

*Strong evidence must be supplied.
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