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Drizzlecombe Megalithic Complex — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Drizzlecombe Megalithic Complex — Fieldnotes

This, for me, is a must-see site. It is more than possible to see Drizzlecombe, Brisworthy, Ringmoor and possibly Shaugh Moor and Yellowmeade in one day.

The complex lies on a valley floor near a river and is well worth any effort to reach it. There are three cairn cirles, each with its own stone row. Two of these rows have very tall (3 metres?) stones at the non-cairn end. They really do make an impressive site. Situated between the rows and the river is 'the Giant's Basin' standing a good few metres high it must have been an impressive mound before looting/excavation (?) ripped it open.

There are other cairns in the area, particularly on the hillside between the complex and the path from the carpark.


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

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Brisworthy Stone Circle — Images

<b>Brisworthy Stone Circle</b>Posted by johan<b>Brisworthy Stone Circle</b>Posted by johan<b>Brisworthy Stone Circle</b>Posted by johan<b>Brisworthy Stone Circle</b>Posted by johan<b>Brisworthy Stone Circle</b>Posted by johan

Blackbury Camp (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Blackbury Camp is an Iron Age 'fort' or settlement site located about a couple of miles north-west of Seaton in East Devon. There is a remarkable sense of solitude at the Camp, surrounded as it is by woodland and farmland. Many locals come here to walk their dogs or let their children run around the largely flat interior.

The banks are still fairly high in this oval shaped camp with entrances located at either end, although these may be modern. The most interesting feature is the main entrance which is still defined by large ramparts that form an almost box shaped entrance. The entrance slopes down towards a slight valley and looks directly out towards higher ground. The 'rear' of the camp is on the higher ground that spreads out to reach the Broad Down Necropolis a mile or so distant.

It's a lovely, shady place to stop off if you are heading down the B road towards Exeter and Dartmoor beyond. The camp is looked after by English Heritage.

johan 2003

Leskernick South Circle (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

another example of doing the fieldwork first! We were actually looking for Altarnun, and presumed it would be the same side of the main road as the village. So we set of in driving wind and rain into the featureless moorland with visibility fading, searching for the wrong stone circle, which we nearly didn't find. We could see the stone row but didn't venture that far.

We only found the circle whilst dejectedly walking back to the car. We literally stumbled upon it. I didn't even count stones although they are lain flat, and would have stood at an impressive height. I say stood because they didn't look like they were placed in their respective positions. They looked and felt too jumbled for that.


Leskernick South Circle (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Leskernick South Circle</b>Posted by johan<b>Leskernick South Circle</b>Posted by johan<b>Leskernick South Circle</b>Posted by johan

Woodbury Castle (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited Woodbury Castle (not a castle, nor really a hillfort) on a lovely April afternoon. Beware as the name Woodbury crops up in many places in Devon alone, and many more in other counties too.

This is a camped enclosure of impressive proportions set on a rise in Woodbury Common, north of Budliegh Salterton & Exmouth and South-East of Exeter. It looks like a camp that might have been fortified at one stage as the ditch is outside the bank. The bank is quite impressive in places and gives the inside of the camp a secluded feel. The camp itself has a host of trees inside, and also contains a well (encased in modern brick and iron) called Soldier's Well.

Well worth a visit if you are passing.


Hangman's Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Hangman's Stone</b>Posted by johan<b>Hangman's Stone</b>Posted by johan<b>Hangman's Stone</b>Posted by johan<b>Hangman's Stone</b>Posted by johan

Essa Standing Stones — Images

<b>Essa Standing Stones</b>Posted by johan

Essa Standing Stones — Fieldnotes

Reading Phil's postings about Cornish stones reminded of a stone I'd seen a few years back but not heard any info for. I've stayed in Polruan and surrounding villages many times but only once spotted these stones, even though Essa1 is right by the road side, admittedly the hedge is quite high. Any I snapped a photo, which I have uploaded. According to Phil these stones don't appear on maps, which is scandalous. Anyway, if you are in the area, take a walk up Polruan's road out, up the hill toward Lantic Bay and the stones are in a field on your left - sorry can't remember how far along the road they are.


Broad Down (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Images

<b>Broad Down</b>Posted by johan

Giant's Grave (Dartmoor) (Long Barrow) — Images

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Giant's Grave (Dartmoor) (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

Just got back from Moretonhampstead and four hours trudging almost friutlessly around a hill-side.

For a start the official map of Datrmoor had an official path marked that wasn't actually there!!! This led to much head-scratching and map-turning and re-treading of steps as we tried to work out exactly where we had parked and where we were in relation to the marked sites.

The map suggested the hill-side contained a Stone Circle, a number of Cairns and a Cairn Circle. What with the map and path fiasco and the general gorse and bracken covering it proved pretty difficult to find anything. What we did find suggested that the map was slightly wrong.
On top of the hill what at first appeared to be a stone circle with it's centre covered in gorse (note, not in the position that the map suggested), on further investigation (to me at least) seemed to be the remains of a long barrow (hence...Giant's Grave. Kerching!) If this was what the Giant's Grave referred to then I'm slightly confused as to why no-one seems to have picked up on this. There was a v.large stone that could have been the blocking stone, one very defined, one partially defined earth bank running back from this stone eventually tapering to a point (not very high but clearly visible) and a number of other stones that could have formed the forecourt. There were also two pronounced ditches in the structure that would suggest chambers. I have taken pictures.

Around this general area were stones that looked like they could once have formed a circle, but this could not be clearly made out because of the gorse. There was also a circular impression in the ground about ten metres in front of the Giant's Grave that looked shaped but had no other features associated with it (looked far too big to be a cairn).

The Stone Circle proved elusive. In the area where the map suggests it sits there is a large scattering of loose stones and it became far too easy to make circles out everywhere. Nothing stood out, but maybe we just missed it, maybe it had gone. There was an interesting feature in the area where the stone circle was supposed to be. It looked like a cairn that had been broken into with stones all around the rim, but the hole in the middle was vast and deep - looked like someone had dynamited it!, or a bomb had hit it.

Ultimately, the day was fruitless. Although I would be interested in a second opinion on the Long-barrow hypothesis. I think next time I go a whole day will need to be spent as this seems to be a much neglected hill on the borders of a much more famous area (oh and the map reading skills need to be improved a great deal!)

Knowlton Henges — Fieldnotes

An addition to my earlier review. Check out the following sites for proof of how mind-blowing this area once was (they are both from Bournemouth University's pages).

For a plan of the area (a must see):

For details:

Hambledon (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

If you like solitary hill-forts with fantastic views, this is the place. Visited Hambledon Hill the same day as Knowlton Henges whilst at University.

A sharpish climb leads you to a very big site, complete with long-barrow situated bang in the middle! I remember just sitting and watching the countryside spread out before me for hours as there was no-one else around.

The Nine Stones of Winterbourne Abbas (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

This is one of those 'blink and you'll miss it' sites tucked away at the side of the road.

I've never actually stopped here but from the road the stones look like huddled ancient conspiracists cloaked in the cover of the encroaching trees. You can almost imagine them coming alive at night and heading outwards in the security of the night.

What shouldn't be forgotten though is the surrounding countryside is littered with barrows of all kinds. Hundreds of them! I have also read somewhere that there used to be another circle in this area - I think Stukeley mentioned it. Certainly, as you head further down the A35 towards the next town, there is a solitary standing stone in a field at the bottom of the road's embankment (you can only see it heading back the other way though!). Can't be sure this is ancient, but its location in the field, and the surrounding landscape it probably is.

Avebury (Circle henge) — Fieldnotes

Avebury, as an area is unbeatable. There is so much here that even after four visits I have yet to reach the Sanctuary!

I would strongly recommended getting your hands on a copy of 'The Avebury Cycle' by Michael Dames. Whilst I don't agree with all of his conclusions, what he does achieve is to locate the circles and henge within a wider landscape that included other circles in the immediate area (Faulkner's Circle, South Circle, etc), long barrows, sacred hills, enclosures, rivers and springs etc etc. This is an essential book for an essential site. It will certainly help you plan future visits; the next time I go I'm planning on not even visiting the main circles/henge but just taking in the surrounding sacred landscape.

Hangman's Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

This is a quick post to bring into your consciousness a much neglected and oft passed monolith.

Hangman's Stone is situated on the main road from Axminster to Exeter in Devon. Just past the turning to Seaton, it is situated on a grassy verge bank of the Hangman's Stone Crossroads.

Thousands of cars pass this lonely stone each day without even realising it is there (much of the year the grass is too high to make it out properly).

The hoary old Stone seems isolated on its crossroads with little sign of any associations in the modern landscape. However, a little research has discovered a long bank and ditch structure that has almost entirely been ploughed away.

Old maps show that the structure moved away from the stone in a northerly direction, and that the combination of bank, ditch and stone was called 'Norman's Grave'.

I could find no mention of any of this in the local library!

So next time you are driving in that area, keep a look out for this lonely old stone and make it feel like its not forgotten.

Knowlton Henges — Fieldnotes

There is a very good site that forms part of the Stone Circle Webring - can't remember URL or name! - which gives good detailed information about this site. What you see is a lovely little henge, a big barrow and a tiny church. Visited it by accident when at Bournemouth Uni a few years back. The site on the Web-ring reveals a much larger ritual area that points to a very complex and important site in antiquity. Well worth a visit, I found it most relaxing.

Broad Down (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

Broad Down Necropolis - South-East Devon

Broad Down Necropolis is a three-mile long linear barrow cemetry set in the South East Devon countryside. Largely neglected in modern times it's fame is reduced to a series of 'tumuli' marked in the Ordnance Survey map (192).

In its orginal entirety this extensive site would have looked very different, as the number of barrows still identifiable are very few in comparison. There is also the possibility that a number of these barrows may well have had stone circles associated with them (Fox, 1948; see also Burl, 1974).

Also in the area are a number of sites identified as Flint Circles (Farway, and White Cross) although I have not had chance to visit these sites to verify if there are any remains.

The OS co-ordinates for the current extent of the cemetry are:

N - 192.148.974
S - 192.173.933
E - 192.177.946
W - 192.143.962

other sites in the area are:
Blackbury Castle
Hangman's Stone (I will endeavour to post a separate entry)
Hembury Fort
Woodbury Fort
Site of Seven Stone Circle (Sidmouth)
Sidbury Fort

Older maps show the extent of the destruction of the site as barrows have been ploughed under, and a mysterious stone that is marked on the map and surrounded by barrows (1979 edition of Pathfinder series - SY09/19) seems to have either been moved or destroyed. I have found no mention of this stone elsewhere.

Another old map (thanks to Morfe for URL!) shows a mysterious feature called 'Ring-in-the-Mire' (est. 192.154.958) which appears where barrows appear on present maps. This is in a different location to the Stone Circles of Fox (1948), again, I
have not had the chance to do a bit of field walking to check this out further.

From my very limited investigation into this area, it is clear to me that this was once a very important area of the country.

It seems it has suffered from a lack of recorded history and fame compared to the sites at Winterbourne to the east, Salisbury plain to the north-east and Dartmoor to the west. This little post is my attempt to get it back into the nation's consciousness (at least to some extent).

It is possible to view many of the existing barrows by using the small roads in the area (there are two goods barrows in a triangular field at Roncombe Gate). It is worth noting that all the current sites are on farm-land and fall within the grounds of a number of different farms.

This is an area I am hoping to look at more closely, and so there may a future post with updated information.

Johan 2000

The Plague Market At Merrivale (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue) — Fieldnotes

I agree that this is a pretty special place. You have no idea of the site when driving along the road that skirts it.

I was there this summer with my family and girlfriend. We arrived at the site wet and miserable from a fruitless search for another Stone Circle (bit of a map reading mishap!) with all but myself getting rapidly bored of the idea of traipsing through fields looking for old stones.

First we found the big row, then we found the standing stone, then the circle. Spirits lifted. We then walked the big row, finding the cists. Spirits were positively animated. We all then headed off in different directions - pointing, speculating, wondering. Phew! To round it off we walked down the second row and finally back to the car.

The point is, no matter what mood you are in, these places are special and will always be special and they have the ability to lift the spirit time and time again.

The Plague Market. Pah! Merry Vale saved the day.
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