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

Fieldnotes by postman

Latest Posts
Showing 1-20 of 1,113 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 20

Old Harestanes (Stone Circle)

This is my first time at the Old Harestanes, it's been on the list for ages, so it's high on the list of today's must see's. The reason it's taken so long to get here is it's on private property, in fact it's at the back of someones back yard. Some door knocking and mild smiling is the order of the day here.
Eric and myself approached with some trepidation, which door should we knock on, being who I am I always go for the door with a letter box in it, you can't go far wrong there.
I knocked on the inner door of the porch, on the west side of the house. Twice. An old man came to the door, I asked him if he had a stone circle on his property, and could we have a look, pretty please, smile, think happy thought's. He said we do, it's over there, he pointed. We couldn't see it, but he clearly wasn't going to show us so we said thank you very much and walked off behind his house. It's not a big garden, it was quickly found.

Hob said from RCAHMS "No comparable monument exists in Peeblesshire, but one near Penmaenmawr, Caernarvonshire, dateable to the Middle Bronze Age, is strikingly similar." where on earth is that then? Penmaenmawr isn't in Caernarvonshire is it? They don't mean Circle 275 do they? I cant agree with that. RCAHMS also says theres four stones in the circle, looks more like five, with a little intruder.

It's in someones garden, did I say that, I thought it would be good living next door to Balbirnie, but this ol' feller has one all to himself. Just imagine having an actual stone circle that has appeared in books and stuff, in your garden.
Brilliant.
So, there are six stones, one is tiny, and I think an intruder to the true stones. Five actual large stones form what's left of the circle, which was never large. On the floor inside the circle is a raised area, it could be an overgrown getting buried stone, as its in a garden I didn't go digging. There may have been some lithic movement.

Not the best location to see a ruined stone circle, but glad to have gotten to see it anyway, hopefully the words Old Harestanes will now begin to move into the back of my mind, and settle down with all the other names. Funny thing about names of ancient sites, I think I can remember all their names, yet not an idea who that boy my son hangs round with is.

Orwell (Standing Stones)

I came here once a long time ago, but have no digital pictures, which was the only reason I needed to make the detour further up north to the lovely Loch Leven.
The fact that this pair of standing stones are tall, strong and good looking stones that over look the western edge of the Lomond hills (which are actually miles away from the Loch of the same name)had something to do with it as well.

No map needed here much either, easily seen on the north side of the A911 between Milnathort and Wester Balgedie, opposite Orwell farm, which gives the stones their names, named after a farm, how inglorious.

There's no where good to park, I made do with blocking a field entrance, leaving kids in the car, and jumping the fence for a ten minute quick meet and greet. Hi I'm the postie, no not that one, and you are? big stone? ok, and your friend there? he's big stone too eh? Not very talkative, stones, it's nearly always a rather one sided conversation.

Two stones, separated by about fifteen yards, one stone is tall and bulbous, with rounded edges, the other is more angular, rough and sporting the undressed look. The rough stone has pinky quartz veins on it's lower half of one side, the side facing the other stone. Both stones have been reset in concrete.
The Lomond hills fall away quickly on it's western edge and the look is of dramatic scree and cliffs. Further north along the hills is a hill prosaically named West Lomond, it has a cairn upon it's summit and can be seen framed by these tall stones, if you stand in the right place of course.

A good stone pair.

Tuilyies (Standing Stones)

You don't need an ordnance survey map to find this one, easily spotted on the south side of the A985 between Kincardine and Dunfermline, just west of Cairneyhill, north of Torryburn. There is a layby right next to the stones, but no way of gaining access to the stones field, except for jumping the barbed wire fence, even with an injured leg it is but a two second ordeal.
The tall single standing stone is a very good example of the type, taller than me, grooved by precipitation, and an almost hole, it doesn't go right the way through.
It's reminiscent of the Queen stone near Symonds Yat, and the tall Machrie moor stones on Arran.

Just yards away is the remaining three quarters of a good four poster stone circle. I like four posters, the most economical of stone circles there is. It's the Toyota Prius of the megalithic world, whilst not being intensely irritating.
So three stones remain, the smallest stone is fairly unremarkable, grey and squat. The middle sized stone was just right. Leaning maybe and a very flat surface to one side. The tallest stone is most impressive, maybe eight times the size of the smaller one, pretty yellow lichen crowns it's pate.

Is the taller single stone an outlier to the circle? or was the circle put here because the stone was already here? What happened to the missing fourth stone? Lots of four posters end up as threesomes, how come? Questions questions.

Nice place, I do like four posters.

Balfarg Riding School (Henge)

It took ages to find this place, I really didn't want to miss it as the last time I came round here I didn't know it was here, so I put in a little extra effort.
It can be seen on drive by on the west side of the A92. You could park near Balbirnie and walk from there, it's just 400 feet away. Or you can do what we did, drive round in circles until something gives.
Kilmichael Road is a long crescent shaped road surrounding "The Henge", when your at it's furthest right hand edge, going clockwise, there is a left hand turn, it leads to Glengarry Court, to it's right is a stream with a grassy walkway and path following a stream to the mortuary enclosure.
Phew, at last.
The well worn henge can still be seen, but only in one small place, at it's southern extreme, from there it curves round the west side of the wooden posts, becoming more and more shallow until it just fades away. More than two thirds are gone.
The mortuary enclosure has been well reproduced for our visiting pleasure, I took more time feeling and photographing the posts than I did the henge.
Not a great site, but a must see part of the Glenrothes stoning experience.

Balfarg (Henge)

Eleven years ago I came here and was caught between dismay 'n disgust and elated giddiness. I really like the henge, I even approve of it's surroundings, should all henges be out in the countryside? I can stand a few getting stranded in suburbia, juxtaposing nicely with our last site of the day.
But some knob had lobbed a big blob of yellow paint on the last remaining circle stone, it was still there last week, couldn't the council do something about it? has anyone told them? has anyone told anyone?
Still a bit disgusted to tell you the truth.
Still like it here though.
I once got told off by a crusty lady not to walk on the henge at Thornborough, this one would make her head explode, they've cut car parks into the henges bank all the way round, they put a fence in the ditch by the entrance to stop smaller cyclists wearing it out. There's a boy in the ditch singing to him self whilst hitting his own head with a stick, it wont wear out the henge, it just made me laugh.
And there is nearly always someone watching you through a window.

Still like it here though.

Balbirnie (Stone Circle)

It's been twelve years since my first happy time at Balbirnie, I was on my own then as I am now, though this time they're in the car waiting and not the hotel.
Last time I approached on foot from the north, early in the morning. It's morning now too but I've sensibly approached from the south in the car, and parked just thirty yards from the circle.
The storm that got us a few days ago has left it's mark at the circle, there's big branches all over the place, I surreptitiously remove them all before photography begins. I don't want to get caught tidying up, they might think I care or something, emotions are they? we don't hold with them.
The branches weren't the only difference, it was a lot more overgrown, sure the grass was short but the nettles and other "weeds" were right up to the stones on the north side. The information boards have been replaced too, once there were two now there is only one. They have been replaced at Balfarg henge too, there we can learn the true sacred place where these stones belonged. The henge's entrance was aligned on the stones of Balbirnie. There is a roundabout north west of the big henge, where Pitcairn road meets western Avenue(B969) this is where the stones should be, they moved them all the way to the far other side of the henge. The far side of the henge, there's chapter nines title.
I'd wondered for ages where it was moved from, I was surprised to find the answer.
But the circle is still a good one and even seems to have brought some of it's sacredness with it from the B969. People still look at you oddly when they pass you by and your intricately trying to photograph the decorated stone. Weirdo.
Oh right, we're the weirdos

Ardross (Souterrain)

Worst souterrain in the world!

There's a small layby below the hill, a straight line will take you to the worst souterrain in Scotland, if there are no crops in the field. Probably best just to have a quick look at the castle then go and see a really good site.
I'd regrettably chosen this place to visit because it was close to the sunrise site of lundin links and because the pictures on here and elsewhere made it look quite good, scant though they are.
Thankfully, the kids were still in "it's too early" mode so I had the place to myself, I walked up the hill making for a rough patch of low scrub, I was hoping for a footpath, a sign, something to let me know I was going the right way. Behind me I could see the Firth of Fourth with Big Bass rock shimmering in the morning haze.
I'm at the top now standing right next to the malignant heartless beast that is Ardross, the worst Souterrain in all of Fife.
I've done a bit of research and know there is a hatchway that must be accessed to enter the, you know what. After a summer of Fogouing on Land's End I was quite excited and a little eager to get into this Iron age stone womb, so I quickly walk round the edge of the scrub expecting to see a formal entrance of some kind, but there wasn't one, a swear word slipped uncharacteristically from my crest falling face.
I could see there were some quite large boulders on the top of the low mound so I mount the low mound and stride through the long grass. For a second or two I was thinking I'd got mixed up and come to the wrong Souterrain, this one was obviously an ex souterrain, the good souterrain Id seen inexpertly photographed must be elsewhere. As I approached the large boulders I suddenly and quite unexpectedly began falling, down, not over, straight down, I only stopped falling when my body had filled the gap I was falling into, my left foot was still dangling, free of contact with a floor, my right foot was half way up my back. After the initial surprise I decided now should be the time to express the pain flooding through my left leg, no words would come, not even a bad one, just a long groan that morphed into a whimper. My hankey had fallen from my pocket, so I carefully tucked it back in, I had dropped my compass too but couldn't quite grab it, I was fairly stuck. Then some words came.
In the end I had to wriggle and push upwards until I was finally free, my leg was throbbing from knee upwards, but you know what I thought, so there is something here after all.
Then as I was fumbling with my compass it fell down the hole.
More words.

I had a look at my leg, it was hurting enough to prompt thoughts like is it broke? There was a long graze up my outer thigh, but not much bruising. My thoughts went back to the souterrain, worst souterrain ever.
I pulled the grass back from the hole I'd fallen into, expecting to see part of a souterrain, instead it was just a rabbit hole, a deep, perpendicular rabbit hole, they have now exceeded there evil beyond that of the dreaded gorse, and earned the moniker of M****r F****r.
And there well out of reach was my compass, a choice word or two and a second later..... screw it.
I carefully raised myself to my feet and carried on inspecting the low mound, almost immediately I found the man hole cover that lets you in, I wasn't feeling particularly strong but I gave it a tug or two, dug through the dirt with my fingers trying to find an edge to get under and pull up, but it wouldn't budge. Worst souterrain this side of Elie.

At least I knew I was in the right place, but it wouldn't let me in, is it locked? has no one been there for ages? the man hole cover was getting buried. What a disappointment, this is Es Tudons levels of disappointment, you wont know what that means, imagine a child's face
on a burglarised Christmas morning.
The walk back to the car was a nightmare, every footfall exquisite agony, still got the rest of my list to go at too, limping and groaning all the way.
Worst souterrain in the world.

Lundin Links (Standing Stones)

No fieldnotes for 11 years!
It's a long way to Tipperary, I've heard it said, fortunately, I'm going to Lundin Links, and just in case Lundin links never makes it's way into song or film it's in Fife, Scotland. Still a long way though, I've given myself five hours to get there before the sunrises, it will be close, i'll be racing against the sun.
The sun beat me, but I won on a technicality, the equinox sunrise, from Lundin Links' tall standing stones, is somewhat obscured by the row of houses on the edge of the golf course, giving me a much needed extra ten minutes.
I parked in the small road by the golf club entrance grabbed the camera, left the sleeping kids (for they had both blessed me with their presence)in the car, and scurried off round the corner and off to the stones.
As I approached the most impressive ruined four poster stone circle in the world I could see the sun had most definitely risen but the stones were still in shadow, a tree had saved my bacon, I bet that's never been said before. At best it was a draw? I got in position and awaited the suns loving caress, golden light dappled and speckled through the leaves of the giant Oak tree, I took a few pictures. The sun doesn't totally see the stones until it's gotten above the tree, and by that time it isn't really sunrise anymore.
I think a summer solstice would be best, the sun would rise closer if not out of Largo Law the big hill to the north east, framed by the stones, which aren't at the corners of a square but a rectangle, well, a circle actually, but, you know. Then it's lots of pictures in the golden sunlight of a perfect equinox weekend, I say weekend, it's actually tomorrow, the equinox, but for a myriad of reasons we are having our equinox today, on Saturday.
The stones are pretty damn impressive, two, three times taller than me, and two are proper twisty shapely stones. They are a beautiful muse, and an honour to photograph in such good light.

Devil's Punch Bowl (Natural Rock Feature)

Last May I came down this way to have a look at Buwch a'r Lloe standing stones, but I also, if we'd had enough time, wanted to go and have another walk around the waterfalls at Devil's Bridge. Three months later and yet another plan goes to pot, this time I wanted to go to Dolgamfa kerb circle, via Ysbyty Cynfyn church circle. But the rain was unabating, we'd got wet enough for one day, so I decided Devils bridge alone would suffice, for now.
I am fairly certain I've said "This is the most beautiful place in Wales" before, but that's because I'd forgotten about Devil's bridge, I have kicked myself hard, repeatedly, because this time I really mean it. This is the most beautiful place in Wales.

There are no ancient remains here, no cairns or stones, no fort, no huts. But, we are left with the option of natural rock feature, and this is certainly one of those. The Afon Mynach is a short lived river it's entire length is no more than four kilometers, for most of it's stretch the water hurries along at an untroubled pace, but soon enough it all kicks off.
The river narrows, squeezing itself through an ever tighter gorge, fallen logs try to bar the rivers progress, the river cares not, it just keeps on going.
Then it does something funny, as the chilled water pours through one particularly narrow crevice, it starts to swirl, the current grinding round and round, forming circular holes in the bedrock for the river to negotiate through, three in all (maybe).
Then it's through the narrowest river gorge I've ever seen, A slim serpentine, a water worn fissure, bridged by one of the most should be famous bridges in the world.
The Mynach, having endured the chasm, now falls 90m, over five falls, creating one of the most sit and watchable sites in Wales. Old trees, copious fernage, with unstoppable moss, all bathed in late summer rain, sweet sweet rain that falls from the heavens and makes everything shiny and exquisitely bewitching.
Then the Mynach disappears through another tight ravine and is gone, in a few hundred yards it'll join the Afon Rheidol. A nice river to be sure, but the best bit is now behind it. It is off to the sea now passing below half a dozen hill forts til it finally empties into the Irish sea at Aberystwyth.

Though there are no ancient remains here, I'm sure the place would have been know to the Iron age people who lived nearby, and maybe to the Bronze age folk too, kerb circles close by to the north are close to water worn gorges. But devils bridge is the water and rock site par excellence, they were here alright, as mesmerised by the otherworldly beauty found here as I am.

In the beginning though it was the bridges above the Mynach that brought me here, and are I believe worthy of mention.

The present road bridge is a late twentieth century reconstruction of an iron or steel lattice girder bridge of 1901. Immediately below is the bridge built in 1753.
The 1753 bridge frames the comparatively diminutive lower bridge which, perched on the living rock above the river chasm, has a single arch perhaps 6.0m wide that crosses some 30m above the gushing torrent. This stone rubble bridge is thought to be a medieval structure, perhaps sixteenth century, although it appears to have been much restored when the 1753 bridge was built over it.

Pendeen Vau (Fogou)

Had I tried to leave the best til last I couldn't have done much better than Pendeen Vau. I had only one problem, it's exact whereabouts, The map was pretty vague, yes I knew it was at a farm, or at least in a farm yard, but I couldn't quite get which of the houses had that very farm yard. Off I went, on my own, down the lane, before too long I was at the lighthouse, this I decided was definitely too far, so I back tracked, talking to Eric on his phone looking at the map and going on street view and such trying to figure out which of the houses had it, but then I was back at the car and with only one way to go. We peeled off the lane, right, down a red gravel farm track, I parked just fifty yards from the farms front door.

It was universally agreed in the car that I would be going solo on this one, no kids no dogs, just me, camera, torch and Fogou. At the front gate I looked in the front yard and reckoned on a back door approach instead, but that felt too invasion of privacy so I went back to the front gate opened it and went in, no path across the lawn or letter box in the front door persuaded me that the back door is the way to go. As I approached the back door an Audi with occupants old stopped right by me. Time to apply charm and smarm, I said hello and asked If I can have a look at your Fogou, he said of course do you know where it is? I said I think I can see it from here through the gates, with that he left me to it, no hesitation at all he didn't even blink. I challenge anyone to come up with a more trusting, care free farmer any where in England.
I, quite literally had the place to myself, so I shimmied straight up the drain pipe and took some photos of the site from above on the farm house roof. Then I went in had a cup of tea, watched Countdown, had a quick lie down, then headed back out to see the Fogou, right, yes the fogou.

Through just three gates and I'm in the farm yard, the fogou sits before me. There are no cows, no mud, no gate covering the entrance, it was as if someone above had created the most awesome visit ever.
Torch, camera and twine at the standby position I entered the labyrinth. There is a lot of rubble on the ground, unsure whether that was something I should be concerned about I carried on with one eye on the roof.
In short time i'm at the tiniest entrance I've ever seen in an ancient site, only in actual caves are passages smaller than this. I crawl through, almost on my belly, squirming and wriggling through without getting dirty proved impossible. Inside the Rab cut chamber, I use the words calmly and without stammer but still have no idea what they mean, does it just mean it's underground? hewn out of the earth itself. At the end of this domed passage is a small pit full of dirty water, did some one dig here looking for bones and stuff?
On the domed roof is a silvery spread of I don't know what, possibly the same kind of stuff as the green glowing mossy stuff, but silver. Dangling down from a crack in the roof are what look like roots hanging with brownish watery droplets on them, and I guess that's what they were, rather than the strange cave dwelling worm? that hangs silk with droplets on them and they catch an insect and then pull them up to feed. It would have been cool if they weren't just roots.
Back out into the fogou's main passage I carry on along the passage til it gets too small to get into, there is a small gap through which you can see back out into the world, turn and take a photo.

Then it's back to the tiny portal, sit for a bit, photo a bit then back outside. I go round the back and have a look at the blocked creep entrance.

And I'm just about done, back in for some toast, and that's it.
Noting on the way in and now the way out That antiquarian Dr William Borlase was born and lived here, firstly I thought well no wonder he got interested in things with a Fogou in his back yard, then I wondered if he'd built it himself after getting inspired by all the other sites he'd seen.
I'd have one in my yard if I could.

Carn Euny Fogou & Village

It's almost time to go home now, there's just time for a couple of fogou's and Tintagel castle.
It's been twelve years since I was last here too, but the only thing that seems to have changed is you cant get through the creep passage in the fogou anymore. But, crucially we had the place to ourselves again.
With heatwave Herbert (i'm naming heatwaves now) still pouring on the sunshine we made our way straight to the fogou, glorious shadows embraced us lovingly. Inside the round chamber/beehive hut, which is it? There were no Swallows here this time, like most of nature they aren't doing very well. But hey, the football season has started so it's not all bad.

Once out of the shade we go up to the top and find some more shade to sit in, shade and an iron age view unrivaled in the central Penwith peninsula.
But the shade can't contain us for long, we enter the big house with a cobbled porch, there is an annexed section by one wall, and a small gully through the wall to outside the house. But best is the north east entrance to the fogou, it actually seems to be in the corner of the house, there's a chance it may have just been excavated that way. But either way it's a beautiful little place, if there was no such things as fairies it would be necessary to invent them to explain this place.
Attention should be applied to the rectangular windowed house as well, if only to acquaint ones self with the 18th century part of the site.

The aerial picture on the perhaps new information board seems to show more round houses over the wall at the west side of the village.
One Fogou to go.

Tregeseal (Stone Circle)

It's been twelve years since I was last here, and right from the start there is one glaring similarity, driving here is a real pain in the horse. Driving and navigating, with two kids and two dogs, it's not easy, sometimes I get really confused, is it this way? that way? can I get my car up there? will there be a spot to park in? In the end I parked, I'm still not sure where, I could see a farm, and someone perhaps watching me. We went quickly in the direction I hoped was right.
A couple of fields later and I'm beginning to look for stones, a likely rocky outcrop will sort out their whereabouts for me. From on top of which they are indeed visible, wow, we made it, and with one of our number still wearing her slippers.
Over a stile or for what passes as one round here and we are in the presence of brilliance, a more or less complete and perfect circle, there are a couple of gaps, but there are also other stones on the general periphery of the ring, but there provenance is generally unknown.
A weird dip in the land sits on the edge of the circle, later I find out it was a quarry that threatened the ring. (Burl)
The kids sit in the middle of the ring with the dogs whilst I wander about taking pictures deftly omitting the squatters from any of them.
The sun was getting real low, any anxiety from our off beat approach had subsided and I settled into the magical scene. Now we were all squatting in the centre of the stones, a lone woman was approaching from Carn Kendjack but after she saw we were there she went off somewhere else, then returned when we left. That's the way to do it.

There are moments in time, lots and lots of them, but most are none descriptive empty moments, some are quite bad, some are quite good, but just a few are perfect, the light, the view, the stones, the company, the moment when a plan comes together, when all is good with everything.
Moments to live for.

Halliggye Fogou

We entered the Trelowarren estate from the south off the B3293, driving mostly through woodland, after that it all gets a little hazy. I had intended to attempt a drive all the way to Halliggye farm house, but it never materialised, I did see a promising footpathish type thing going off left into a field, but with no sign saying Fogou I carried on. All the way to the big car parks, there's two, I chose the right hand one, and ended up parking with in yards of the footpathish type thing. With not much at all to go on, Eric and I went that way, we did have a 1:50,000 map but it's not finely detailed. The path was just a mowed grassy stretch at the edge of the field leading to a small wooded area, I hoped it would be there, it wasn't. But there was something, a tall mound with a winding path round it. This I decided was the Mount marked on the map, hence we should go west. At this time we noticed a number on a sign post, this must be part of a kind of guided walk, we followed it, to a couple of houses. One of which was called Halliggye. The fogou is behind it.
Elation!
From now on, when we're trying to find a stony site and we're not sure we're going in the right direction, but walking it anyway, we could be walking away from it for all we know, it will be called Fogou anxiety.

Fogou anxiety has now been replaced by Fogou adoration.
There is a box with a windup torch, thank you, and together with the two little torches we've brought and the flash on my Camera and Eric's phone I felt we'd be sufficiently enlightened, and not in the dark.
So it's straight in, down the Victorian gated entrance and into the gloom, it's taller than I thought, we can more or less stand up straight, right up until the point that we can't, standing before two low entrance ways to different pats of the Fogou. We firstly take the right hand entrance, down on our knees we shuffle through the low trilithon portal, it doesn't go very far though, this is the original entrance, now bricked up and blocked off. There was a very big cave spider in here on the modern wall, Eric doesn't like spiders, he fair pushed me out of the way to get out.
Time now for the left hand entrance, it's slightly less cramped getting through this one and once through we can just about stand up again, torches powering through the darkness reveal a long well built curving corridor, we follow it onwards. At it's end is a raised stumbling block, "thanks for that Kelty", and just beyond the stumble and in a small area at the end of the passage is the smallest lowest passage entrance I've ever crawled through. But crawl through we did, we got to the end and sat on our haunches, then we turned off the lights.
Trying to look through darkness is a funny thing, your brain kind of says well if your not going to look at things I'm going to make stuff up, then you start to see things, who needs LSD when you've got Fogous, imagine them both together, cringes, absolute madness.

Lights back on we make our way out, crawling, stumbling, watching for spiders and yet all the time looking round in awe and wonder.
We're back outside now, Eric's wicked sense of humour kicked in a bit and he likened our experience to that of Thailand's recent caving story, not funny, but I knew what he meant, that was like nothing I've ever seen before. Are all Fogous like this? no, but I wish they were.

Boleigh! buck your friggin ideas up.

Trencrom Hill (Hillfort)

After a long and tedious motorway drive down the first thing we did was, well, it was book into the holiday village, then we went the chip shop, but after that we went straight up Trencrom hill.
Parking was had, funnily enough, in a car park on the south side of the hill, room for half a dozen cars or so, but this evening there's just a van and us, us consisting of two older children, two Jack Russells and myself.
The way up is clear, but steep, big boulders abound, it's not far to the top, once at the top we see the van driver flying his fast remote controlled plane. The view behind you as you climb up is one of St Micheal's mount, so inevitably I whipped out the camera to take a shot at it. But the camera was dead, as dead as the proverbial. Disaster. I can only hope the camera has been turned on all the way here and all I have to do is recharge and start again. Pah.
We walk around, a touch despondent, and then head off to Beersheeba standing stone, with camera phones.
8am the morning after, daughter stayed in bed, Eric, dogs and me are back at the top, the plane flyer is gone but a rainbow has stood in as his replacement, rainbows are better.
From the southern walkers entrance we went over to the eastern entrance, a rather grand entrance with standing stones for gateposts, nice.
Then back to the highest rocks in the fort, there are basins here, three right next to each other, perfect for sitting in whilst watching the world doing it's thing, or things, one of which is stirring the soul, sounds crap I know, but it's never just about the stones, or in this case the fort, buddy at work is so narrow minded that he thinks this is just a hobby, it's more a way of life.
Anyway, fully stirred, we continue to wander among the rocks, we didn't wander too extensively, thus not seeing either of the two wells here about somewhere. Our limited wandering did expose the western entrance which I'd failed to note the evening before, another grand entrance with standing stones incorporated. Very nice.
Then we left, it's time for breakfast, that, I think, was my first Cornish hillfort, I must see more.
So I do.

Assycombe Hill (Stone Row / Alignment)

I went the same way as Meic, his directions are spot on, I counted the number of crossroads, but didn't really have to, it's a long straight track, when it forks take the right track, stones are on the right, unmissable.
The walk was really rather nice, in the forest mostly out of the sun, we saw a couple of young deer. Always a bonus.
I've wanted to come here for a number of years now, it looks a real belter of a stoney site. But it really took me this one did, got under my skin, I wanted to stay.
Eric once more plonked himself down under a small tree at the top of the clearing, seemingly going to sleep, leaving me free reign to linger longer, to get to know the site. It's not a site, it's a beautiful woman, imagine going on a date with Charlize Theron, she's very pretty, but she also likes prehistory, loves star trek, superheroes and she too has no sense of smell, I hope you get those analogies. I went to see a nice stone row but found much more.
At the top of the hill is a lovely little cairn circle with a faint cist at it's center, then tall stones wibble and lean and off down the steep hill go two stone rows. Half way down is a long stoney bump across the row perpendicular to it. At the bottom of the row is a single terminal stone, there was probably two but hey what are you going to do. Have a look at the awesome hut circle just off to the side, that's what, I wonder what it's occupiers thought of the rows, is the house the same age or later, did they use the rows, did they build it, and got buried up the hill. Such a thought provoking place.
Back up at the top, Eric is still crashed out, so I join him for a while and lie down on the big flat stone next to the cairn, a big flat stone? did it once stand? is it a really over sized cist cover? I close my eyes and begin to drift.
Not to sleep but into memories, memories of stones of times past, trips out with my toddling children, they'd have followed me into a volcano if I'd have told them it'll be cool, anything so long as we're together. In the end perhaps that's what keeps me going, trying to recapture those bucolic idyllic days, days with no worries, lying around on the grass and introducing my children to the world. Those memories come with me always, there not as good as real children laughter, or complicated questions with absurd sounding answers. Am I rambling? It's Assycombe's fault. A life with stones and a life with children, two things I'm most glad I've done.

Ringmoor Cairn Circle and Stone Row (Stone Row / Alignment)

I've been a good boy and waited eleven years for my next chance to say hello to Ringmoor, patience is a virtue they say, but having no money is a poor mans excuse for patience.
I'm not going to bother with the kerb circle, TMA doesn't believe it's ancient, so to ensure that I have the time to see everything I want, I am willing to sacrifice the maybe kerb circle, Burl seems to believe in it though. Perhaps I should have gave it a few minutes look.
Like Brisworthy this cairn circle was re-erected in 1909, presumably by Rev H.H Breton of Sheepstor. A good man I'm sure.
Eric has taken his leave and hidden amid the tall grass in the middle of the ring, to hide from the sun and my camera, and to rest his poor little feet. No rest for the wicked though, so off I go down the hill north following the stones of the row. An odd row it is too, sometimes a double row, sometimes single, stones this side and stones that side, I can only assume it's pretty knackered. Like me, I couldn't even make it to the last stone, I should have, but god I was tired.
Back up the hill to the stone circle, I choose a stone and sit leaning against it, "you can come out now if you want Eric"
"Nah, it's cool in here"
Strange lad.
Anyway it is time once more to be moving on, there is one more thing I want to look for whilst were here, stupid map says it's a cairn circle, maybe, we didn't find it, it was a cist anyway, no wonder we couldn't find it.

Brisworthy Stone Circle

The first time I came here it all felt a bit complicated to find, we even had to ask someone who was in their front garden for directions. But this time I threw caution to the wind, I drove all the way to the end of the road, by the farm, tucked the car as far out of the way as possible and walked off quietly down the footpath.
I wasn't sure if we were going the right way, there's no Brisworthy stone circle signs pointing the way, I was just following my nose, ha good one Chris.
The footpath leads out onto a rough pasture type field, in the far corner is a path, I doubt it is thee footpath though, either way, from there I could see some grey blobs shimmering in the midday midsummer sun, we made for them, and made them, they were some stones. Terrific.

Eric slumped against the tall oddly shaped stone that has been likened to a leaping Dolphin, whilst I go round inspecting the stones. A little over a century ago only three stones still stood, thank god it was restored, by a Reverand no less, H H Breton, thanks Rev.
Out of all the places we're going today this is the only one I've been to before, as it happens, exactly 11 years ago to the day, I brought my 8yr old daughter last time after an aborted sunrise attempt at Downtor, but this time the weather can only be described as perfect, everything today has been perfect. To add to that perfection, Eric has agreed to go where ever I go, unlike daughter who last time didn't want to go up the hill to the Ringmoor sites, I'll be back one day I said. Eleven fricking years though. We leave Brisworthy for now and tread wearily up the hill.

Hart Tor (Stone Row / Alignment)

Greywether says there are two stone rows here, a double and a single row of stones, but the single stone row is called, at least on the TMA, Black Tor. Which is it?
This unexpected delight was my final site of the day, it wasn't on my list of sites that I wanted to get to, but I'd decided to put Trowelsworthy warren stone circle back for another day, so I had a bit of time left over. What I want now is a place that's not far from the road, the very road I'm travelling along homewards. Black Tor fits the bill, it's got a Logan stone (Zip it Stan Lee) and a rock basin. I like both of them things so I leave Eric dozing in the car and, stagger? across the moor. I couldn't find the rock basin and couldn't decide which if any of the balanced rocks would move under my weight. Disappointed, I look down to the river valley, look again at the map and decide that I can see the stone row, So, just one more then.

The river is crossed via a metal plank, as I did so a pony was drinking from the small pool, stood on the plank watching the scene, I decided this was as good a Dartmoor scene with no stones in it as Iv'e seen, the water was so clear and clean looking, even the pony looked in very good health. Sharpitor and Leather tor provide the best of backdrops.
Fresh over the river a cairn hangs out, no stone row or cist that I could see. So straight over to where the double stone row bangs against the river then follow them up the hill. The now, almost compulsory drainage ditch cuts through it, keep going up, to where the stone rows joins forces with a particularly good cairn circle. Adjacent, almost conjoined, is another cairn, no circle stones, but it does have a single row of stones that reaches beyond the ditch.
Even if there were no megalithic site here it would still be a good place, rocky tors, ponies, clean and clear river, a gorgeous day, but there is a megalithic site here too, and my mind is blown, damn it I've got to go home.

Sharpitor (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue)

If your stopping to have a look at the stone row that is right next to the muddy pool, then be advised, it is very ruinous, but there are two more stone rows very close by and they are both in better condition than the one you stopped for.
Views abound.

Sharpitor cairns (Cairn(s))

Apparently not associated with the very nearby very ruinous stone row, but is in line with it.
I only stopped for a quick look on my way home in the late of afternoon, but was glad I did, the stone row may be a bad one but the cist is 75% perfect, the stone circle of the cairn maybe 20% perfect, the view 90% perfect. It had been a long and expensive day but the percentages don't lie, there's always more to see on Dartmoor.
Showing 1-20 of 1,113 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 20
After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website ten years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Callanish
Balnauran of Clava
Torhouskie
Swinside
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Drombeg
Uragh
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

My TMA Content: