The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

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Sherberton Stone Circle — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Sherberton Stone Circle</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Sherberton Stone Circle</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Sherberton Stone Circle</b>Posted by Erik the Red

Sherberton Stone Circle — Fieldnotes

Our drive to Sherberton (1.3.05) ended about a mile from the site, with a sign, which announced that parking was forbidden beyond this point. So with some brooding clouds looming above we strode out into the afternoon. Walking along the road we reached the farm and with a welcoming sniff from two border collies, proceeded to walk on through the farm yard bearing to our left and out into the fields beyond.
This circle sat quietly in a corner of a field, once revered now just an observer of farming life happily going on all around. The N/S measurement across the circle was 99ft, the E/W being harder to ascertain due to the intervention of a stonewall. With seven of the eight standing stones in an arc from the north/west to the east, the rest of the circle has suffered at the hands of the stone mason/wall builders. The two tallest stones (8ft 8" & 7ft 4") lay fallen in an 18ft arc spanning the southern point of the circle.
Without another second's hesitation, the clouds that had been with us all afternoon decided to join us, with a snowstorm of near horizontal proportions. With regrets that we couldn't have spent longer enjoying Sherberton, we packed up and wandered away through the blizzard.

Scorhill (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

As the sun sets, glinting through the clouds across the moor, Scorhill casts a shadow from an ancient time. Having suffered from the region's stonemasons, this circle is still such an evocative beauty, whether admired as it stands now or letting your imagination loose trying to replace and complete its former majesty.
The circle has a diameter of 88ft, which originally had between 65 and 70 stones, of the 34 that remain, 24 still stand. The jagged uniformity of Scorhill's stone selection, adds an intensity to the circle's atmosphere.
We had planned to finish today's trip (Cosdon, White moor, Buttern and Scorhill) at Batworthy corner, our driver for the day having walked over to meet us at Scorhill. With some spare time before we trooped over the horizon, she sat in the circle, wandered and walked out to meet and greet two of Dartmoor's ponies.
Returning to the circle, the ponies followed venturing up to the outer edge of the circle but wouldn't enter. Reasons for that? Maybe the outer edges of the stones proved to be the best scratching posts! The grass isn't always greener on the other side (Also very short grass inside the circle) or could the legends be right? Horses/ponies sense something about the circle. Who knows the answer? (Two ponies but they weren't telling), whatever the reason why, these megalithic wonders remain as mysterious and fascinating today, as they did when they first rose to the sky.

Buttern Hill Stone Circle — Images

<b>Buttern Hill Stone Circle</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Buttern Hill Stone Circle</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Buttern Hill Stone Circle</b>Posted by Erik the Red

Buttern Hill Stone Circle — Fieldnotes

Arriving at the area of Buttern Hill Stone circle (28.2.05) from white moor, a walk of 1¼ miles over some rough and in places boggy terrain, I set about trying to find the circle. After 10 minutes of walking up and down a N/S course, about a third of the way up Buttern hill's western slope, the 3 stones standing at the Northeast edge of the circle came into view. SX 64945 88484 Elev 1301ft.
The circle's approximate dimensions are 82ft 4" N/S and 80ft 2" E/W, with 15 stones many obscured but the larger ones ranging from, 7ft 4" W, 6ft S/SW (Twin lines on the stone, natural or carved?), 5ft 11" W/NW, 4ft 11" N/NE, 4ft 4" at S/W & N/E. With most of it's stones fallen, the circle does not instantly captivate, but it would be a mistake not to give this circle some time to appreciate its true qualities.
I sat picturing the circle in the afternoon's broken sunshine, it's placement on the west side of Buttern Hill and the steep rising bank of Kennon Hill (West of Circle), leading the eye to a wide open South west Dartmoor vista for the sun to sink slowly into.

White Moor Stone Circle — Fieldnotes

After leaving Cosdon Stone row (28.2.05), we considered the weather report from that morning's news, mentioning overnight temperatures of -9 C. After walking in very cold conditions the previous day, (making several boggy areas much easier to cross) we had high hopes that taking the path that skirts around Ray Barrow Pool might be possible. It was, but only because of the low overnight ground temperatures and was still precarious. On reflection, I would prefer after visiting Cosdon rows, to continue up Cosdon Hill crossing over to Little Hound Tor and then onto White moor stone circle. The extra ascent and distance being better than an early bath.
White moor stone circle sits on the southerly slope of Little Hound Tor and with it's surroundings of many impressive Tors, creates an enigmatic scene. The circle measures 67ft 3" N/S and 66ft 3" E/W with 18 visible stones (tallest 4ft 5" in the south) and one is broken at ground level.
From the circle, standing 521ft away on a bearing of 155 deg is another outlier of conjecture. With Dartmoor boundary/directional markings "T" & "TP" carved into it, but an unerring alignment through the circle, this stone is a puzzle.
It was worth all the effort to reach this lovely circle, a jewel of the moor.

Cosdon Hill (Stone Row / Alignment) — Images

<b>Cosdon Hill</b>Posted by Erik the Red

Cosdon Hill (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

Cosdon Hill (28.2.05) loomed large as we started our climb to the stone rows, following the bridle path sign posted Nine stones, the start of our second day on the moor tested the resolve and stiff muscles of our group with this ever increasing gradient. As the 3 stone rows finally came into view, the hill levelled out (slightly) as if to welcome us.
Walking along the rows from the east, many of the stones are missing or have sunk into the peat, but crossing a small gully that cuts through them; the rows seemed to gain vigour as they rise in abundance from the soil (Many thanks to the 1897 restoration). Standing at the terminal stones and looking out over the valley below, it was easy to understand why this would have been such an appealing site for the rows constructors, selecting as they did the row's approximate orientation of 100/280 deg (consideration for the slight wandering of the rows courses). The Left Ts* measures 2ft1", Centre Ts* 1ft 6 ¾" and Right Ts* 3ft 1 ½" inches (*Ts: Terminal Stone).
The circle (W end of rows) has a diameter of 18ft 5" with 5 stones standing of a possible 17, these surround a ruined kerbed cairn with a diameter of 15ft.
Setting our course to White Moor stone circle we left Cosdon Hill, feeling energised as if enriched for spending time in this wonderful place.

Cut Hill (Stone Row / Alignment) — Images

<b>Cut Hill</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Cut Hill</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Cut Hill</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Cut Hill</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Cut Hill</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Cut Hill</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Cut Hill</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Cut Hill</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Cut Hill</b>Posted by Erik the Red

Cut Hill (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

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.

Culburnie (Clava Cairn) — Images

<b>Culburnie</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Culburnie</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Culburnie</b>Posted by Erik the Red

Culburnie (Clava Cairn) — Fieldnotes

The Ring Cairn is in good condition, with 8 stones of an original 9 still standing in the 70 ft diameter circle, but due to its close proximity to a house; it does loose some of the atmosphere which other circles invoke. The stones grade in size towards the s-sw, with the largest stone measuring 8ft x 3ft. The ruined cairn (5 ft at its highest point) has managed to aquire a rather large tree growing inside. It is hard to see what damage might have been done as yet by root growth; but needless to say some savage pruning might be in order to prevent further harm befalling this once majectic site. Situated by the side of the road but at bottom of someones garden, possibly the best rockery in the British Isles.

Tordarroch (Clava Cairn) — Images

<b>Tordarroch</b>Posted by Erik the Red<b>Tordarroch</b>Posted by Erik the Red

Tordarroch (Clava Cairn) — Fieldnotes

With a rainstorm raging and under the watchful eye of some rather large Highland cattle we found the Tordarroch ring cairn. It was very helpful to have a 1:25000 os map to find this clava ring-cairn. The outer stones, with a diameter 113ft and with 7 of the 11 visible stones still standing (graded to the s-sw), make this an impressive site; although the ring-cairn is in a sadly ruined state. The inner face of a fallen curb stone in the s-sw of the ring-cairn has 30 cup marks carved into it. Worth a visit as a 200yd walk will get you from the roadside to the centre of the circle, but it is also easily viewed from the road.
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