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

Fieldnotes by chris s

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Carvannel Menhir (Standing Stone / Menhir)

I think this is definitely a hitherto unrecorded menhir - and a gurt beauty it is too! Noticed it on a meander around the lesser known paths of the northern Carnmenellis district just last week. Some 7 feet high and more than 4 feet broad, it nestles near the boundary of Stithians and Lanner parishes on an underused and occasionally thicketed footpath down from the nearby Carvannel Farm - thought it was only fair to name it so.

Crowan Beacon (Cairn(s))

Shallow tor topped by a large cairn, unfortunately, like Chapel Carn Brea, somewhat wrecked by a WWII observation post, but still evident.

Men Amber (Natural Rock Feature)

An odd one that I'd been for many years aware of the feature from afar without ever really being able to place it satisfactorily in close up. Men Amber is a granite tor on the most westerly rise of the Carnmenellis granite, and viewed from northerly aspects comprises a readily identifiable outcrop on a long low ridge that also comprises Crowan Beacon, Polcrebo Downs, Longstone Downs (see below) and Prospidnick Hill before the land drops towards the Cober valley and the Lizard. It is the only granite tor visible along this otherwise relatively smooth ridge from a north-westerly direction, and is plainly visible from the North Cliffs and thus sites such as Crane Castle 11km distant.

The tor is very much of the classic 'stacked' formation rather than a crag, and thus is quite possibly the site of a logan stone I have seen reference to in Cornish antiquarian literature as 'being near to Nancegollan'.

It is also at the crossroads of two tracks of arguably great antiquity: firstly a ridgeway slightly bowdlerized by subsequent enclosure running broadly south from Black Rock (adjacent to the cairn and fire summit at Crowan Beacon) along the ridge a modern field's width behind the tor across Longstone Downs; within a couple of hundred yards of Prospidnick Longstone, then just east of the summit of Prospidnick Hill, before becoming a minor road and dropping gradually into the valley of the River Cober to the erstwhile (medieval at least) tidal limit of that river at Helston St. Johns; secondly a mostly intact track which seemingly originated at Tregonning Hill, across NW through Carleen before becoming a hollow way on the direct incline up immediately past Men Amber. East from here a sequence of now unclassified minor roads lead in an almost direct easterly bearing across the Carnmenellis uplands to Porkellis, Longdowns and eventually Mabe Burnthouse above the River Fal.
I need to do some more fieldwork and sight bearings on this one, but am sure it is usefully sightlined with Tregonning Hill, and indeed even as far as the foothills of Penwith looking NW. The shout goes out - calling Mr. Hamhead?!?

Trink Hill (Round Barrow(s))

Twelve O'Clock Rock (as it is named on the OS sheets) also somewhat dominates the skyline eastward across St. Ives Bay, and despite its relatively diminutive size, can easily be picked out from the barrow at Godrevy, over 9km away.

Standing Stone Hill (Standing Stone / Menhir)

I'm pretty confident I've found this corroborated against the 1851 OS map for the area, the stump of what appears to have been a square cut menhir stands in situ at this bleak moorland hill........

Maen Cadoar (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Funny one this....missing from most standing stone literature, but well known to those into Dark Ages stone crosses. It is in fact a menhir which stood on the parish boundary between Gwinear and Gwithian until 1907, when it was moved to its current position in Camborne churchyard. Local historians hold the opinion that it is a prehistoric menhir which was converted into a cross in the 11th or 12th century........this is denoted by the very small and crude crosshead which has been fashioned by tapering the neck of the 6ft plus menhir, then letting it flare out again. The decoration of the crosshead is equally crude, and to all intents and purposes, it still looks like the standing stone it obviously is.OK, it's out of its original position, but it's a "maen" nevertheless, and deserved of recognition............

Nine Ladies of Stanton Moor (Stone Circle)

.....went to visit on monday evening in the rosy early spring evening light, and how fantastic it looked...........there amongst the birch glades, absolutely perfect. An all too brief sojourn( I had to get to Rowsley for the last Manchester bus of the night ) of some half an hour......but it felt like longer, and certainly was some of the best quality time I've had this year.............they just can't destroy this area, I'd take it over many a bigger site in terms of tranquil of the absolute best.

Carwynnen Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

After being re-erected for a brief period in the mid-20th century, this chamber tomb had collapsed again by 1983. Currently still lying in a sorry state; no plans to re-erect it. Last visited in August 2001, nevertheless impressive and atmospheric.

Crane Castle (Cliff Fort)

Very little remains of this cliff fort which looks like it's gonna completely disappear in the next couple of generations. what would have been a headland defended by a ditch across the narrow neck has now disappeared; a few yards of the defensive ditch, cut into the crumbly cliff rab still 4 feet deep,august 2001.

The Hood (Enclosure)

Overlooked by the very fine Craig Weatherhill guides to Cornwall (CORNOVIA and BELERION), this univallate hillfort round is still worthy of a visit. Marked on the OS explorer map sheet 204 (Redruth&St.Agnes) as a settlement,The Hood presides over the Roseworthy Valley,with sight lines south towards the complex of sites around Black Rock and Carmenellis; and north-west towards Trencrom Hill.
The formation of the fort is preserved by modern field boundaries,and although the interior of the fort is now a perciptibly conical crop field,the ditch still survives on the northern and south eastern circumference.On my last visit in august 2000,the northern ditch was still upwards of 8 feet in depth.As far as i am aware,no excavations have been carried out on this site.
It is accessible by foothpaths from both the Roseworthy and Penponds ends of this section of valley;indeed, the(incredibly muddy)track, Viaduct Lane, which runs along the valley side below,shows evidence of being a "green lane" of great antiquity. It runs inland from the coast at Gwithian to the granite uplands at Carwynnen,and is still a right of way for most of its length, variously as a bridleway and a minor road.
There are other sites along this route;a clapper bridge crosses the stream approx. half a mile inland,which local folklore records as forming part of the "Saints Way" to St.Micheals Mount(SW632387,unmarked); further inland at the Carwynnen village end of the track, lies the currently collapsed chamber tomb, "The Giant's Quoit" (SW650373).
The Hood is certainly worthy of further investigation and recognition.
me....stone circles, cheese,music music music, folklore,Kernow,veggie cooking, chatting to folk{get in touch!} ,psychogeography,writing, being out in the weather whatever it may be, hidden corners of the isles...

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