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Langstone Moor Stone Circle

Although less than a kilometre away as the crow flies, and clearly visible from Langstone Moor Stone Row, this runied circle requires some dedication to reach it. "Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor" published in 1912 warns of the dangers of the bog on PeterTavy Great Common - a warning which is still valid today! A splendid view of the Great Mis Tor, the local ponies, cattle and an ominous looking "murder" of crows (who were just hanging out at trhe circle when we arrived) is afforded from the circle. It is now in a sorry state runied once and then re-erected by the miltary and now little under 100 years later it's been ruined by them once again.

Langstone Moor Stone Row (Stone Row / Alignment)

It's easy to miss this row. Granted the standing stone's a whopper. But, on arriving you could miss the row altogether and wander like fools around the area to the north of the stone until you notice a 300 foot line of stumpy stones poking up through the grass and moss with the line ending at the standing stone (I speak from bitter experience). I don't ever recall seeing such an "unbalanced" arrangement and wonder if the standing stone was added much later. Petit (Prehistoric Dartmoor 1974: 131) reports that the row was "discoverd" in 1893 by Baring Gould. The 9 foot terminal stone was re-erected the follwing year by order of the Duke of Bedford but was used for target practice during WW2. Shell-marks are clearly visible in the photograps posted below.

Langstone Moor Stone Circle

The remote Langstone Moor is located on the edge of the Merrivale Firing Range "Danger Area", and thus is inaccessible at certain times of the year. To access the Moor you'll need to be prepared to walk for more than 90 minutes from your car - if parked at Peter Tavy - or to get up out of the saddle of your Mountain Bike. The area is dominated by White Tor (468 metres above sea level) to the West and the Great Mis Tor (538) to the south. The walk to the foot of White Tor past Stephen's Grave (marking the cross-roads burial spot of a suicide victim who killed himself when he discovered his betrothed had been unfaithful to him) is a well defined track littered with spent bullets. After that the footpath becomes more indistinct. You'll need a map with you and a compass in case of bad weather. Langstone Moor Circle comes into view on then right but do not attempt to walk directly there from the footpath - there's a very sticky bog in the way! The tall standing stone marks the eastern end of a poorly defined row. Both the stone and the circle were re-erected in 1894 but both have suffered from damage caused by military operations on the Moor. The poorly defined "Lich path" which cuts across Langstone Moor continues eastwards towards Conies Down and Beardown Man standing stone.

Altar (Wedge Tomb)

August 2003

A welcoming site. Well signposted, easy access, own parking spot, interpretation board, no neighbours.

Pity about all the dog poo though.

Conies Down (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue)

24 July 2004

BEWARE! Mrs RBD and myself lost our way and nerve on open moorland attempting to find this double stone row at the weekend. The path towards it from Langstone Moor is indsistinct and I think we cocked-up on Cocks Moor. When the weather changes - as it did both quickly and spectacularly for us you'll need a compass - we alas, didn't have one. At 1600 feet above sea level Burl and Petit report that this is the highest row on the moor.

In "From Carnac to Calanish" (1993) Burl rates this site as a "3" - runied but recognisable. This is the same grading as that given to nearby Langstone Stone Row which we had earlier walked through without recognising the ruin!

Park at Smeardon Down and take a compass. Good Luck.

Amongst Crossing's (1912) helpful advice on how to avoid getting lost on Dartmoor is a memorable line about turning your jacket inside out so that the pixies can't bewitch you!

West Saddlesborough Stone Row & Cairn Circle (Stone Row / Alignment)

July 2003

This was a difficult one to find. The area is rich in hut circles, cairns and naturally occuring boulders. After an hour or so of wandering about and taking endless photographs of likely looking "alingnments", I spotted the real thing. The stone close to the warning sign for the quarry marks the northern, lower terminal. In general though the stones were barely visible above the summer grass and were consequently difficult to capture on film. There IS a row here though, running N-S. Burl (Caranc to Calanish, p 237) claims that it's 179 metres long.

Cloontreem (Wedge Tomb)

Although badly ruined this site is well worth a visit for the fine views it offers over Bear Haven and the fact that it's on that rare thing in the West of Ireland: a public footpath. In August 2003 we parked at Gortagenerick and made the long climb up into the Slieve Mishkish Mountains to join the Beara Way. After a three-hour trek during which time we encountered numerous abandoned cars and dead animals - sheep mostly - and just as we were giving up hope of ever finding this tomb we dropped down into a hollow and there it was on a small ledge to the East of Eagle Hill looking out over Bear Island. Perfect.

Burford Down (Stone Row / Alignment)

Park at Harford and follow the river up the valley. This N-S row is about 500m long and is the southernmost of the the three rows which stretch out into the Erme valley. The stones are often small, but fairly evenly spaced and offer good sport in tracing their line down towards Yadsworthy Waste. A cairn at the southernmost end of the row lies parallel with Tristis Rock which dominates both Burford Down and the lower Erme valley. It rained all day when I visited in July 2003. This was the day that I decided that paying the extra money for a waterproof map was worthwhile after all.

Challacombe (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue)


Sitting at the car park below Grimspound with the map across the dash board we reckoned we had a pretty good idea where this row was. Much better in fact than the walkers we could see doubling back on themselves in the rough ground above Headland Warren. Were they trying to find the rows too? We decided to walk up to Grimspound and from there skirt Hookey Tor, cross the road and then pick up the footpath around the farm. After climbing for a few hundred yards we decided we needed to be turning to the left just as some gateposts came into view.


Far from gateposts these were in fact, the eastern end of a fine 160 metre triple row of stones. They looked quite different to the pictutre I'd held in my mind's eye. The three black and white images in Burl's From "Carnac to Callanish" suggest a much more exposed position. Instead these stones were fighting their way through the bracken, helped it must be said by a recent burn to the vegetation.

We took dozens of photographs of the male and female pairs and walked the row several times. My most striking and lasting impression was that the triangular terminal stone on the horizon at the "top" of the row was almost wafer thin.

Challacombe is on a direct line and about half way between Grimspound and the Warren Inn and despite being clearly visible from both of these honeypots it seems sadly ignored.

Hurston Ridge (Stone Row / Alignment)


After refuelling at the nearby pub - the third highest in England no less - we set off on the Two Moors Way from Bennet's Cross to Hurtson Ridge. As so often happens, Mrs RBD and myself wandered off the way-marked path too soon and were soon orientating ourselves alongside the edge of Fernworthy Forest.

"We can't have missed them?"

"There's a stone - oh no that's a sheep"

A brief chat about sheep, greywethers and the guy who bought the double stone circle on the other side of the hill in the mistaken belief that they were livestock ensued by which time we had spotted the menhir at the southern end of the row on the horizon in front of us.

Wow! With so many rows on Dartmoor it would be easy to take them for granted but the setting and size of this row marks it out as something special. We walked the row several times sharing the stones with Dartmoor Ponies who seemed pleased to see us.

Walking down this double row so soon after visiting the fine multiple rows at Challacombe, the male/female pairings were plain to see.

Teergonean (Court Tomb)

August 2003. Notes made with sun-burnt feet. (Damm those walking sandals!)

It was difficult but we made it! If you're going to walk out of one of the many agreeable pubs in the self-styled folk music capital of Ireland before closing time then there's got to be a good reason. On what turned out to be the hottest day of the year, we set off from Fisherstreet to the Teergonean crossroads and turned left towards the sea.

After passing a runied church and a few rustic caravans we found ourselves on yet another dusty track in the west of Ireland looking for something megalihic. This was our first Court Tomb however. Having already bought the revised "Book of the Burren" we knew what we were looking for:

"At Teergonean only four stones of this [fore]court survive but the stumps of others can be detected. Originally the forecourt was probably almost semi circular, the tallest and most imposing of the upright stones flanking the narrow entrance to the long rectangular burial gallery" (p 61).

The constant references to this tomb's ruinous state do not prepare the walker for the site that awaits them. Less than a half a mile from some typically spectacular Burren coastline is a well proportioned and neat little court tomb. Its a tough one, but of all the tombs I've visited I think the only one that I'd like to make that final journey in more than this one would be Pentre Ifan.

This seems to be a little visited place which is surprising given its proximity to Doolin's hostels and campsite and the many references made to it in the Book of the Burren.

We camped in nearby Doolin for a week and returned on several ocassions. You should, at the very least, make a day of a visit here and walk back along the coast for that full Burren effect!

Shronebirrane (Stone Circle)

Observations based upon a visit in August 2001.

This multiple stone circle is a delight despite the close proximity of a newly built bungalow. Having seen pictures of this Circle on Clive Ruggles' website I was surprised to find just how close the dwelling was to the site and how deeply it nestles in the Drimminboy valley.

We followed a fox on the the long road south from Lauragh which pierces the foothills of the Tooth Mountain.

On arriving, I sat with my back to the bungalow, looked north and felt the sun on my face as my childern played quietly amongst the stones. Children of a similar age living nearby looked on suspiciously whilst we counted the 9 stones and wondered where the other four had gone. This place lacks the majesty of nearby Drombohilly and the order of Ardgroom but it remains an excellent example of a Stone Circle and is well worth a visit.

The Waters (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The walk to this stone on the dusty track from the Cable Car to Kilmichael is a long one. With the weather turning against us and the very real fear that we could be stranded on the island overnight we didn't stay long. The stone is clearly visible from the track and is on boggy ground. The name "The Waters", mentioned in Durell's 1996 book Discover Dursey seemed a rather unromantic name for a stone in such a fine Westerly setting. The stone itself is about 1 metre high and is orientated NW-SE

Gort na Gainimhe (Standing Stones)

After managing to get to Dursey (via Cable Car) it's a relief to encounter solid ground. A 45 minute walk from the cable car brings you to a site which makes the hair raising journey across Dursey Sound seem worthwhile. On a visit in 2003 however we were not able to access the field in which the stones are situated as one of the few inhabitants* left on the island was erecting a barbed wire fence on the field boundary between Dursey's only road and Gort na Gainihime and refused us access when we explained that we'd come all this way to see his stones. Typical! Still, two years earlier on a gloriously sunny day, and with no farmer in sight, we scrambled down alongside the stream locals refer to as "The Big River", and up a bank to reach the stones.

Durell (1996: 211) reports that the stone is 1.8m high, 95cm wide and 65cm deep and has a recumbent stone beside it. She also gives directions to Rock Art in the same field but despite some efforts we couldn't find any trace of the stone in question.

*Penelope Durell (1996) in her excellent Discover Dursey (Ballinacarriga Books: Allihiles) observes that the permanent population of the island is now down to single figures. If you're going to Dursey you'll need this book and a head for heights.

Creswell Crags (Cave / Rock Shelter)

Pleased to see that Stubob's put this site on the map. I've visited this place a couple of times but sadly have no photos to post here.

A strange place this - I recollect that the air was very still last time we visited, almost oppressive. Visually this is similar to a scaled down version of Cheddar Gorge but, thankfully without the tourist coaches parked at the bottom. The caves are largely fenced off from the public but a winding walk around the valley floor takes the visitor past each fancifully named cave.


Whilst you're in "the Dukeries" pop into the grounds of nearby Rufford Park for some food and a look at the gallery. I've posted up a review on the facilities section.

Wibdon Broadstone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Spotted this from, of all places a seat on the 10:25 Cardiff to London train, diverted around the Severn because the tunnel was closed. 5 minutes out of Chepstow on the left hand side when travelling east was a quite unmistakable standing stone.

The stone is approximately 50 feet away from the line and looks as if it's at least 5 foot high. After checking the OS map I've found this is recorded as "the broadstone" (as if there's not enough of those already on this site!). From the impression I gleaned from the train window this is a big old fella' of a stone which looks out across the severn. Spotting or Snapping it from a moving train will be a challenge for TMA-ers and will certainly enliven my next journey on this line. Access on foot looks as if it would be from High Hall Farm at Wibdon on the A48 about three miles out of Chepstow.

Coate Stone Circle

This little visited site is situated on the outskirts of Swindon. It is a runied stone circle which now consists of an arc of 5 stones. Dayhouse Lane bisects the intact remains of the circle and the vansihed half.

All five stones have fallen but each is significantly bigger than those of the nearby Winterbourne Basset circle.

This site was discussed on the Forum in summer 2002. Liddington Castle and the Ridgeway are clearly visible from here. It is on a direct aligment with Barbury Castle and Avebury to the south.

Liddington Castle (Hillfort)

A three hour walk north along the Ridgeway from Avebury brings you to the edge of the Marlborough Downs and the foot of Liddington Hill. Liddington Castle Hillfort will be a familiar landmark to many as it is visible to the south of the M4 motorway between junctions 15 and 16. At 3 hectares it is somewaht smaller than the nearby Barbury Castle (4.7 hectares) and has only one ditch rather than two. It is however considerably quieter, is about 50 foot higher and offers better views of the Marlborough Downs than Barbury. An entrance at the south east is defined by a few half buried sarsens. Pottery from the early Iron Age has been found here and on the northern escarpment are some neolithic flint mines.

Walking up the hill from the Ridgeway the flint mines are encountered after a couple of minutes and mole hills regularly bring flint waste to the surface.

This visit (31/12/02) was my first time here for about 20 years. The erosion to the site is noticeable as is the vandalism to the Triangulation Point which used to double up as a memorial to local writer Richard Jefferies. Jefferies famously came up here to write. Despite the proximity of the motorway and onward march of Swindon (the settlement and not, unfortunately, the football club) this remains a fine spot for quiet contemplation.


My 7 year old son got very confused here. As we walked up to the castle I recounted the story of King Arthur's victory here in the battle of Mons Badonicus. On spotting a memorial gate to Harry King (1910-1995) "who loved to walk on Liddington" my son quite justifiably asked why King Arthur didn't have a gate but King, Harry did.

Garth Hill (Round Barrow(s))

Trips to the nearby sites of Tinkiswood, St Lythans, Rhondda Stonehenge or Pontypridd Rocking Stone will inevitably lead to a brush with the City of Cardiff. From the Castle Grounds, the home of a modern stone circle, look up and look to the North you will see the long high ridge of the Garth.

This hill, or mountain, depending on your point of view is supposedly the inspiration for the film, "The man who went up a hill and came down a mountain". From the summit are impressive views across Cardiff and south to Exmoor whilst to the North, Pen y Fan and the Brecon Beacons can be clearly picked out.

There are five Bronze Age Burial Mounds here (five that is according to the CARN database, the rather jaded interpretation board suggests there are only four). Two stand out and are visible as nipples on the horizon overlooking Cardiff. The interpretation board in front of "burial mound number 2" warns sternly of the penalties for vandalising the site, yet this, the largest of the four mounds, sports an ugly triangulation pillar. Whilst despoiling the site it does produce the uncanny effect of making the mound look like a mini Glastonbury Tor from a distance.

The western-most mound (number 1 on the interpretation board) is seldom spotted by the frequent vistors to this viewpoint but it is my favourite. A small hollow provides shelter from the winds and a cosy bed from which the scurrying clouds overhead can be tracked. Some distance to the east is a long ridge running north-south which was built as a gun emplacement during the 1940s. I'll venture no opinion as to whether the intention was to shoot at the Germans or the English.

This site commands spectacular views for 360 degrees and I would suggest therefore that this was a high status burial. Any significant fires burnt in the vicinity of Tinkiswood/St Lythans to the south west or Pontypridd Rocking Stone to the North East would generate a pall of smoke easily visible from here. If you're visiting these other nearby sites you should really try to find time to take in the views from up here. Let me know on the forum if you're planning a visit as this is my local.

Oh, one more thing. It's ALWAYS windy up here.

The Mother's Jam (Natural Rock Feature)

This little valley of Sarsens tucked away between Fyfield and Overton Downs is as magical as ever.

Merrick's directions below are spot on. As you walk into the valley (after truning right off the track) the altar stone of the Mother's Jam lies 20 yards to the right of the biggest and most striking Sarsen. My strongest reaction was of a sarsen holiday camp, or more darkly, a megalithic version of invasion of the bodysnatchers - these were the pods ready to replace Avebury. The lichen and erosion patterns on these Sarsens are so familiar to the erect stones in the henge and avenues.

We joked about a Bronze Age geezer presiding over this huge Sarsen yard "Nah mate, can't do anything for your in that size or colour. We've got this big grey one though".
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30-something Wiltshireman now living in Cardiff. When not at work (as a housing academic) or coaching a local junior football team I'm often to be found with my camera at sites listed on TMA

Apart from Swindon's County Ground some of my favourite places include:
The Polisher

My TMA Content: