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

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Bellever (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

I've spent quite a bit of time exploring Dartmoor having previously lived in nearby Plymouth for a few years and it really is littered with ancient sites. For me though, this is the greatest spot on the moors. Bellever Tor itself is fantastic, commanding a superb view over the south of the moor. The area to the north of the tor is forested (now partially deforested in places) on either side with a central 'avenue' of open land leading up to the hill. This may be a later artificial man-made intervention, but it gives the tor a real sense of majesty, like its a ceremonial pathway or something. This 'avenue' is approximately 1.5 km in length, leading all the way up to the ancient Kraps Ring (I ain't shitting you!, Doh!) settlement. Walking between the tor and the settlement, there are numerous hut circles, cairn circles , stone rows and cists. The whole area really has the air of a antiquated mecca and the most happening 'vibes' of practically any historical site I've visited (and I've been to quite a few...). In fact I spent an amazing summers evening up here recently exploring the area and climbing the tor to witness a spectacularly red sunset.

Last time I went I stayed at the Youth Hostel which is handily located a few minutes walk away in the hamlet of Bellever. I believe there is also a hotel in nearby Postbridge (plus numerous other places in the locality), so no excuses for not hanging around to check out the other sites in the area, like the Greywethers as well.

Stonehenge and its Environs — Fieldnotes

I guess everyone has to make the 'pilgrimage' to the 'henge at least once in their life if only to decide for themselves whether the stones are worth the hype or been commercialised beyond reason.

Well I guess their is an element to both arguements. Obviously it's a well impressive site and something to be proud of but it is a pity the place has suffered so much abuse. The A303 being so close is bad enough, but the tacky gift shop and entry fee plus the headset issue to hear some cheesy misinformed commentary is taking it too far. I think the place can speak for itself. Oh and the (in)security guards patrolling the grounds is pathetic.

A top site ruined by the bad vibes of gross commercialisation.

The Longstone of Mottistone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>The Longstone of Mottistone</b>Posted by xyz

The Cheesewring (Rocky Outcrop) — Fieldnotes

I couldn't visit the Hurlers without a visiting the Cheesewring as well what with it being such a short walk away. Basically a large naturally exposed rock outcrop / tor just teetering on the edge of a quarry. Bit of a climb to the top, but well worth it. Thereare some magnificent views to be had of the wilderness of the surrounding area and getting closer to the rocks just brings home what a freak of nature this formation is. Like other tors around the region, the rocks are precariously balanced on one another and it looks as if they could topple at any moment. Has all the makings of a classic rock idol and as potent as many man made temples, if not more so. A lonely, but magnificent place.

The Hurlers (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Well, this site is certainly in a very bleak and desolate location on Bodmin Moor just on the edge of the village of Minions. I couldn't help but find it quite beautiful though. It's certainly pretty unique as well with its three circles. The day I was there it had been raining and there was a wonderful rainbow to brighten the sky. There were quite a few visitors about but the site curiously still felt really lonely. A lonely, desolate but beautiful place.

Five Barrows (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Images

<b>Five Barrows</b>Posted by xyz<b>Five Barrows</b>Posted by xyz<b>Five Barrows</b>Posted by xyz

The Longstone of Mottistone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>The Longstone of Mottistone</b>Posted by xyz<b>The Longstone of Mottistone</b>Posted by xyz

The Longstone of Mottistone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

In my previous entry for the Five Barrows site at Brook on the Isle of Wight I mentioned this site, and explained that it forms the remains of a long barrow. Well, I just paid a visit this afternoon, and it reaffirmed the greatness of this site.

Lying due south of the mighty mother hill that is Mottistone down and within Brightstone Forest, the site is composed of a large sandstone megalith approx. 5m tall and a second recumbent stone at its foot forming the former entrance to the monument. A surprising amount of the barrow remains, making it easy to trace its outline, plus the tomb itself remains defined on the ground. The barrow also appears to be aligned to the summer solstice sunrise. Adding to the splendour of the location is the nearby iron age hill fort atop a small hill a few hundred metres SE of the Longstone. The largest round barrow on the island, the Black Barrow is approximately 1km due east of the Longstone, plus there are several other smaller burial mounds nearby.

The Longstone has always been something of a local landmark and gets quite a lot of visitors due to its fantanstic location within the forest here and also for the top vibes of the area in general. It's certainly great to have such a place more or less on my doorstep.

Five Barrows (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

Julian failed to visit my homeland of the Isle of Wight for the MA, but while the island may not be exactly teeming with magnificent sites there are a number of number of prehistoric remains scattered around the downland. There are numerous round barrows atop the hills, iron age hill forts, although only one megalith (the Longstone) which is in fact serves as the remains of a longbarrow.

Five Barrows is a wonderful site consisting of nine round barrows on Brook Down, one of the thin spine of hills running out towards the needles on the west of the island. The barrows themselves are of various sizes and condition, with the largest and best preserved example enclosed with a henge. The location is fantastic, commanding a fine view over the west of the Wight, to the chalk cliffs at the western end and towards Afton where the 1970 pop festival was held. It was on the very banks of this downland that some of my heroes including Miles, Hawkwind and the Lizard King himself put in some of their finest performances. On a clear day it is possible to see as far as Portland Bill on the western horizon, whilst clear views over to the New Forest on the mainland are often possible. To the east is Mottistone Down which itself has a number of barrows, and to the South the rugged SW IOW coastline, running down to the headland at Blackgang.

This place always gives me great vibes, and has a strangely different character on separate occasions when I visit, yet always hugely positive.

Glastonbury Tor (Sacred Hill) — Fieldnotes

Until recently, I was a Tor virgin but I guess I had to make the journey to find out for myself if this site really is worthy of the claims of magical powers bestowed upon it. After the ascent the the top I sat there for perhaps two hours in the wonderful June sunshine appreciating the fantastic location of this sacred hill. I took with me my Yamaha QY70 portable music sequencer and a pair of headphones and was interested to see if the Tor could inspire an interesting musical composition. Well it wasn't long before a celestial melody popped into my head which seemed to perfectly encapsulate my experience of the place.

After descending the Tor and visiting the Chalice Well (and drinking the water) I felt a strange reawakening. Worth the effort after all then!

The Greywethers (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

I had a spare week back in June so I went down to the South West armed with a few OS maps and my essential copy of the Modern Antiquarian. I wanted to check out as many sites as possible (hell, there are loads not featured in the MA), and especially this one since I hadn't been before, despite having lived in nearby Plymouth for a number of years. Since leaving Plymouth I've missed the quiet desolation of Dartmoor and it's many prehistoric relics, particularly when they are as fine as this. Far away from the tourist trail that can so often be overwhelming up here, the Greywhethers was worth the effort of a difficult hike across open moorland. By the time I reached the stones, the weather was turning from hot and sunny to dull and overcast, perhaps magnifying the bleek location that this fine monument occupies. These two well restored circles are a perfect representation of the solitude that can be sought around these parts.
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