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Stone Circle

<b>Duloe</b>Posted by heptangleImage © heptangle
Stone circle of eight stones (one fallen) of white quartz. The tallest stone is 2.4m high. Partially restored in the 1860s.
Nearest Town:Looe (5km SSE)
OS Ref (GB):   SX23575830 / Sheet: 201
Latitude:50° 23' 50.79" N
Longitude:   4° 28' 57.75" W

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Visited: 9 October 2017.
Last week spent a lovely few Cornish days based in Fowey. Took a slight detour on route to visit Duloe stone circle. Not that easy to find using a road atlas and we were almost in Looe before we realised we had gone too far. Find it we did though as I have wanted visit Duloe since first reading Julian Cope's impressions in the TMA book.

Dated 2000BC, it is unique for being Cornwall's smallest stone circle with the largest stones. There is a (now much faded by the elements) information board which gives quite a lot of information if you able to read it. The circle is less than 12 metres in diameter and consists of eight quartz rich stones which contain ankerite. This suggests they were obtained from Herodsfoot mine, although similar stones are found at Tregartland Tor, Morval.

A nearby farm is recorded as being named Stonedown as far back as 1329 but the circle was not officially discovered until 1801, probably because it was bisected by a hedge and stood half in an orchard and half in a field. The bisecting hedge was removed in 1858 by Rev T.A. Bewes of Plymouth and 1861 the fallen stones were set up although the one broken in the process now lies prostrate. At the same time an urn said to be full of bones was discovered at the base of the largest stone but broken accidentally by the workmen and now lost. In light of this it is thought be a bronze age burial mound.
tjj Posted by tjj
15th October 2017ce
Edited 16th October 2017ce

Visited 16.4.15

In the village of Duloe on the B3254. Sign posted from the road – pedestrian access only from road.
We parked outside the village hall, a short distance to the north.

Karen chose to stay in the car whilst I led the children up the road to the stone circle. We passed a group of young children being taught how to safely ride their bike on the road and make a right hand turn. It was nice to see their teachers doing this and hopefully will reduce the risk of future accidents?

We soon arrive at the circle and the girls made for the lambs, Dafydd for the stones and I for the information board. Oddly enough the information board states there are 8 stones here but I counted 9 (albeit one very small) See Mr Hamhead's notes.

The white of the stones shone brightly against the deep blue of the sky. All was quiet except for the low bleating of the lambs lying in the warm sunshine – wonderful.

Duloe is one of several famous sites I managed to visit during my week in Cornwall and (as with the others) I was not disappointed. This is a superb stone circle to visit with very easy access.
It is remarkable that these sites have managed to survive all these years despite being so close to housing etc.

If you are ever in the area this is a ‘must see’ site.
Posted by CARL
23rd April 2015ce

I haven't been here for a long time, it was before the kids were born i'm sure. There was only one concrete plan for the day, and that was Newquay zoo (They have a Fossa, dontcha know) so I could pick anywhere in the vicinity so long as it's not far from the road.
I could have chosen anywhere, but my last trip here was in the pre-digital days so I just had to come back, first it was The Hurlers then Trethevy quoit now this brilliant little circle.

There are several reasons for its brilliance, it's really close to the road for a start, I parked by the front of the church, left the kids, two minutes later it was "wheres my shades man".
The circle described by the stones is small, I like small stone circles over the great big ones like Stannon and Fernacre, much more cozy and homely.
Though the circle is small the stones are large, mainly, the highest is eight and a half feet tall, five others coming down to about head height.
But the most brilliant thing is the shiny glowing whiteness of the quartz stones, ever since my first trip here thirteen years ago all the quartz stones ive seen have been compared to these stones here at Duloe, and ive got to tell you, nothing compares to them. If anything my long absence has whitened them , they seem more white than my memory allows.
The smaller butterfly inspired stone can stay as far as i'm concerned, it could do with being a bit bigger but it seems to fit well, probably the whiteness.

Brilliant !!!
postman Posted by postman
12th February 2013ce
Edited 12th February 2013ce

Duloe Stone Circle. Visit date: 27th June 2012.
There's something about Duloe stone circle that draws me back whenever the opportunity arises and normally that’s when we’re off to Looe for the day. But today it was different as it was a ‘Duloe only’ day with nothing else to sidetrack me.

Parking, unless illegally, is not possible outside of the cutting between the properties leading to the circle, so one has to park in the road behind the close-at-hand St Cuby church where there is a large lay-bye.
Once parked up it’s only a two or three minute walk back to the cut-way which is adequately signed on the roadside opposite.

Always my first impression when approaching the circle is what a little gem it is. Unlike all other stone circles, dolmans, standing stones and burial chambers in Cornwall that are granite, Duloe’s circle is of quartz and must have been quite dazzling on first build. Another obvious peculiarity is that unlike the major large open circles in Cornwall built with mainly smaller stones, this small circle has mainly huge stones in comparison! Does this offer us a clue to its meaning and use I wonder?

The largest or tallest stones lies due south and there are 4 definite ‘compass stones’ to the N,S,E & W and are all the larger ones of the eight present. The very small stone to the south east is an additional stone just placed on the surface in modern times and not part of the original build. I did consider moving it as two other groups of visitors arrived while I was there and par for the course started counting the stones which of course came to nine. I pointed out the error which they thanked me for but if you don’t then of course they go away with a slightly false impression. I left it where it was but it just moves if you touch it anyway so won’t fool many at this time. I’d like to know where it came from though and if it was off one of the others or just a random chunk dug up in the field.

Historically a bank/hedge ran either through the middle or part of the circle at some stage but it’s difficult to say now in what direction or what ‘gaps’ in passed through, although the fallen stone may offer a clue. While mentioning the prostrate stone you will note from the old black & white photo that it lay in a hollow or depression and this ‘may’ have been created when the bank was removed. Today the depression can still be seen but has silted up considerably since the old photo was taken.

Direction wise just take the road from Liskeard to Looe (well signposted from Liskeard) and Duloe is 5 miles out from Liskeard or about 4 miles from Looe. As you come into Duloe from Liskeard the Old Plough Horse pub is on the left and a tad further on the cutting to the circle is on the same side but indicated by a sign on the RHS of the road. Just pass this and the church is on the right that you can park behind. Well worth the visit and a must if you are in the area. As I said, a little gem.

Here are a few photos including an ‘aerial’ I took. An interesting stone is the third and fourth one shown as I had a really close look at it this time because I've always suspected it was 'worked'. It has a large 'scallop' out of the lower section as you'll see with definite small grooves running upwards/downwards and may have been a sharpener/polisher for nothing larger than arrowheads and the main scallop for general smoothing.
Posted by Sanctuary
28th June 2012ce
Edited 28th June 2012ce

It was good to visit Duloe again this July, 2011.
Last time we found Duloe by accident, just driving along and then saw a sign for the circle. That hardly ever happens so it was a very nice surprise.

This time we were staying in Lanreath, just a short drive away.

Duloe, although small is a very special place. it almost feels like it is in someones back garden, as the track to it is in between domestic properties, but with farmland all around as well. On this occasion there were a lot of sheep present which came bleating and running towards us, they were clearly the current guardians of the circle. My two year old daughter ran towards them with great excitement, "funny sheep" apparently.

It's interesting to see the level of excitement that stone circles, and other ancient sites bring out in children. I often feel very different within circles, and especially in Fogous but with children I think there is a very natural and immediate response. I sense that they intrinsically know what we may have forgotten about these places.
texlahoma Posted by texlahoma
4th August 2011ce

28/12/06 12:25-13:30
Missing the sign along the road I headed up a track between Stonetown Farm and the local pub, where I was greeted with an excellent view of the stones. Backtracking I found the signpost and headed up the path. Rather than the icy cold I had expected, the stones seemed warm and inviting. There were nine, including the recent addition, which at first glance seemed appropriate, but upon closer inspection it appeared less gritty and more polished than the surrounding stones, and almost devoid of their numerous species of lichens. Still, I thought the circle would look less complete without it. Sheep were grazing in the field and a ginger cat was rubbing its head against the most western stone.

The midday sun could be seen over the tall stone to the south. A previous visitor had left markers with the compass directions on, which corresponded with my map. Several small shells lay in the centre of the stone circle, surrounded by a circle of small stones.

In "A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany" Burl claims that the name Duloe means 'two Looes' due to being close to both the east and west Looe rivers. However in Appendix 1 of his recently published "Stonehenge" he claims the word "Du" to be Cornish for "Black". A possible link to villages past? And how stange, as this is the whitest stone circle I have come across!
Posted by mykie
28th December 2006ce
Edited 28th December 2006ce

I visited the circle on Sunday 29th October 2006, a lovely warm sunny day, to have a look at the extra stone that had been added. As Mr Hamhead said in his news item it has only been placed in the circle not set into the ground. It is in a position where another stone could possibly have been. I could see no reference to why the stone had been placed, this had either been removed or blown away in the gales we have had down here. There was however a small plastic bag containing a triangular stone, of some sort maybe a crystal,and a completely incomprehensible note placed in the centre of the circle. Also a feather had been stuck into the ground beside it. Lubin Posted by Lubin
29th October 2006ce

07.01.04 11.30am
These are great polar monsters. As you approach they seem to change in size dependent upon the angle of approach, but nothing prepares you for the scale of these beasts. The tallest must be near 9 foot of quartz granite, and the beautiful lustre of the stone contrasts sharply with the bleak relief of the surrounding trees and fields.

The circle gathers the visitor in and when stood in the middle you feel a claustrophobic breathlessness like the tight embrace of a mother. Stepping back and walking around the outside you feel drawn to touch and stroke the stone, which welcomes you with warmth and friendly reciprocation.

I felt there was an affinity between the circle and the nearby church, but time was not on our side and we had to press on, so d*wsing rods had to remain packed, but this is certainly worth a visit and more research, if only from the folklore that must surround this charming place.
Dominic_Brayne Posted by Dominic_Brayne
12th January 2004ce
Edited 12th January 2004ce

Thanks to Pure Joy's post (below) we didn't miss the little wooden sign at the side of the road and easily found this little piece of prehistoric loveliness.

'We're big and cute and white, white, white!' the stones scream at you as the massive pillars of sugar dance intimately at the edge of a field. Just above their angular footprints I noticed that a wide strip through the bottom quarter of each stone (at the same height on each stone) seemed pinker than the rest - modern environmental conditions or deliberate ancient artistry?... I couldn't tell. But it was very pretty nevertheless as the stones glittered with Hollywood glamour in the bright spring sunshine. Glencullen eight times over...

I only had 10 minutes here
which was a real pity
The sun was out, the sky was blue
And the grass was not cow-shitty

I would have liked to think of stars
with which they were aligning
In the sparkling sun I saw the stars
In their surfaces a-shining

I would have liked to sit and stare
Till the stones gave me snowblindness
But I had to leave so I just bowed
And thanked them for their kindness
Jane Posted by Jane
10th April 2003ce

Duloe Stone Circle - 24.12.2002

Duloe seems to be pretty much open access. Although it is on private land it seems that as long as visitors act properly we should be able to enjoy this lovely lowland circle. The circle is actually close to the church at the South end of the village and is now signposted from the road by a small wooden signpost.

A small lane, next to a barn being converted, leads up to a gate and into the field. As the field in which the circle stands often contains livestock it's very wise to keep dogs on a lead and beware of the lambing season etc.

Next to the hedge, behind the circle, there is a lovely little info board which has been photographed by Phil and posted on this great website. Enjoy!
pure joy Posted by pure joy
9th January 2003ce

25/10/02 - Before i went on a weeks holiday to Cornwall, i polled the Ma for site worth seeing in slightly more remote bits of the area, and Duloe came up a number of times. I looked in at the submissions and the photos didnt really look very inspiring, and i made a note to visit if i found time.

Had a week of terrible weather, which precluded visiting anywhere really remote, so I had realistically put aside any notions of seeing any worthwhile sites. After a last minute visit to Looe, we where jsut leaving for the base camp when I noticed that Duloe was within 3 miles and literally on the way home. PeteG had warned that the sign was small, and the farmer tended to obscure it, so it was eyes peeled! Just as well as I drove past and had to run back. It had been lashing down all day, and I was pretty cheesed off generally, but the skies had just started to brighten. I walked up the path past the farmhouse, expecting an irate cornishman to hurl abuse at me, but it was calm and still. at the top of the rise, a gate marked the entrance to the field, and as I approached, I saw her, beckoning!

It was peacfully quiet apart from a strong wind, and the clouds hurried about their business as I walked on. This was one of the few circles I had seen complete, and the hairs stood up on my neck and arms. At a distance, it looked like pale grey stone, but close up it is quite spectacular. The sun beat down and the stones shone, brilliantly as i touched each in succession, widdershins, marvelling at its wooly head of green lichen. I stepped into the centre of the circle, and the large fang shaped stone that faces the gates, was thrown into sharp relief by the setting sun,which appeared to sit on the point of the stone and cast a shadow that reached me at it s centre. a moving and exhilarating experience, both for its supernatural beauty and its tiny size, a definite genius loci about the site, even though one of the stones has tumbled some time in the past, it still gives a feeling of completeness - standing at the centre and watching the sun set, the farm, the wires and the fences disappeared, and for a brief moment the monument was new....
Wotan Posted by Wotan
27th October 2002ce
Edited 11th September 2003ce

A wonderfull little circle, after a couple of misty days hunting for other sites finally on 22/03/02 we were blessed with a warm clear day. This place is pretty easy to locate and when we did we were rewarded. After walking past the run down house we came to the gate and there she was, even at a distance you could almost hear it welcoming you. This circle radiated a warm welcoming that no beast could refuse, so on we went. In the middle I got my usual feeling of peace and serenity that I always do in these great monuments, where as my girlfriend descibed it as "A cuddley circle",and who am I to argue?, shes closer to these things than MAN can be. This place is not as daunting as its larger relatives, and its size should not put anybody off from visiting it, good things come in small packages. Posted by finbar
24th March 2002ce


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It's only a short walk from the circle to a holy well, which curiously has the type of don't-mess-with-stones folklore that you'd often associate with prehistoric stones themselves. So that's my excuse for adding the following:
The well of St. Cuby [or Cybi] was a spring of water on the left-hand side of the [road which leads from Sandplace to Duloe Church], which flowed into a circular basin of granite, carved and ornamented round the edge with the figures of dolphins, and on the lower part with the figure of a griffin; it is in shape somewhat like a font, with a drain for the carrying off of the water.
The well at one time was very much respected, and treated with reverence by the neighbouring people, who believed that some dire misfortune would befal the person who should attempt to remove it. Tradition says that a ruthless fellow once went with a team of oxen for the purpose of removing the basin; on reaching the spot one of the oxen fell down dead, which so alarmed the man that he desisted from the attempt. In spite of this tradition, however, the basin has been moved, probably when the new road was cut, and was taken to the bottom of the woods on the Trenant estate; it is now placed in Trenant Park.
From Ancient and Holy Wells of Cornwall by M and L Quiller-Couch (1894).
There are some photos on the Megalithic Portal including the interesting carvings on the moved font, which is now in the church.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th November 2012ce
Edited 27th November 2012ce


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If you are interested in wells, then just before you get to the village of Duloe, take the right hand lane (to Herodsfoot) from St.Keyne, and along that lane you will come on a very pretty moss and fern laden well of St.Keyne's. Robert Southey's poem will explain the consequences of getting married should you drink from the well.
moss Posted by moss
11th September 2017ce

From "Beauties of England and Wales" - Britton and Bayley (1801):

Within a furlong of the north-east of the church, is a small Druidical Circle, that has not hitherto been noticed. It consists of seven or eight stones, one of which is about nine feet in height: four are upright, the others are either broken, or concealed by a hedge, which divides the circle; part being in an orchard, and part in an adjoining field. We are unable to state its dimensions accurately, but its diameter does not appear to exceed twenty or twenty-five feet

This may be the earliest published reference to the circle?
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
15th January 2009ce
Edited 9th April 2013ce

"My head was not so full with fancies as the head of Mr. McLauchlan, who went across to Duloe, called the fallen stones of the circle the results of the overthrow of Baal's altar, reflected on the prevalence near-by of oak and vervein, and convinced himself that Duloe was Dru-los or the Hill of the Druids".

from "Freedom of the Parish" by G Grigson 1954

Now available again through Westcountry Books
Mr Hamhead Posted by Mr Hamhead
23rd September 2006ce


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Duloe Stone Circle on Youtube

wickerman Posted by wickerman
27th October 2013ce