Monday 23 April 2018

Dry Tree, Carwynnen and Nine more Maidens

12th September 2014
We are heading up to Devon today, but are going to take a slow journey and call in at a few places en route. It's an early start again - the B&B serves breakfast at 8:00 am (no leeway), so there's been no chance of a lie in at all.
Not far to go for the first stop of the day - just a couple of hundred yards up the road to the church at St Just. Just a pop in to see the Selus Stone. Believed to date back to the 5th or 6th century, it bears the inscription - SELUS IC IACIT - "here lies Selus" The letters NI have been added above the LU of Selus, but it is not known whether they are contemporary with the original or a later addition !

We are going to take the long route back today, via the Lizard, rather than heading up the A30. There are a couple of stones, that I've not seen before - and of course some beautiful scenery.
Goonhilly Downs, is a wonderful Nature reserve and designated SSSI, in the middle of the Lizard Peninsula. There's a car park, several information boards and some well laid out paths.
The area is dominated by the satellite dishes of the Earth Tracking Station and having followed one of the paths from the carpark to find Dry Tree Menhir, it is strange and almost surreal to see the high tech modern and the ancient, divided from each other by a wire fence.
Dry Tree menhir is a large 3m stone. It was re erected in 1928. Apparently, some troops were starting to chip away at the fallen stone and broke a slab off for road mending, when they were stopped by Sir Courteney Vyvyan & Colonel Serecold.
The stone is made of Gabbro, which is found on Crousa Common a few miles away. nearby are three Barrows.
Birdwise, it was quiet - just a handful of Chiff Chaffs, some Blackcaps, Bullfinches, Long Tailed Tits, Stonechat, Kestrel and 15 Golden Plover flying around

Next, we head over to Crousa Common. Theres a spot to park at the cross roads by the common. A stone pair sit on the Common, but finding a way to them is seeming impossible. Walking along the road, I can make them out over the hedge. One is standing and the other has fallen. There does seem to be a gate into the very large field down at the far end, but there are a lot of horses in there, so I have to make do with a long range photo over the hedge. It's a shame, as the standing stone looks quite large. Next time !!!!

Moving on, down the minor road, which skirts the Common, a right turn takes you along a narrow lane and as the road takes a sharp right, there is room to pull the car in. A stile takes you on a footpath through a field to Tremenheere Standing Stone. The Farm here, obviously taking it's name from the stone. The stone is 2.9 metres high and sits half way across the field, which today hosts a large herd of rather frisky Bullocks.Well discretion being the better part of valour, it looks like it's another long range shot and another return visit.

Seeing as we are in the St Keverne area, where better for a spot of lunch and especially, an Ice Cream, than Roskillys Farm.
Back on the road and heading cross country towards Praze an Beeble. Carrying on towards Camboren and taking a right near Killivose  and towards Treslothan.A sharp right (a little way past Treslothan Church) brings you to Carwynnen, where there is a pull in on the right. There, visible in the field sits the recently reconstructed Carwynnen Quoit. A pleasant walk through the meadow brings you to the quoit. It had collapsed into a big pile in the 60's but now stands tall and proud thanks to the hard work of the Cornwall Archaeology Unit. The Capstone was lowered into place on the 21st June 2014, just a few months ago.

Carry on down the lane and rejoin the main road just North of Praze an Beeble, which will take you Into Camborne (we have already been on this stretch - unaware of the short cut), where we join the A30 heading East, until turning off at Indian Queens, and taking the A39 towards Wadebridge. A mile or so past Winnards Perch we start to look out for The Nine Maidens on the right hand side. Once seen, there is a convenient layby just further up (on the right) and it's just a matter of walking back down the grass verge and crossing over the stile into the field.
Aligned NE-SW the row is 107.6 metres long and consists of Nine stones ( makes a change for a Nine Maidens - to actually contain Nine stones !). Of these, Eight are either standing or leaning and One (at the NE end is recumbant). Some of the stones have been broken.
Away to the North East in line with the Row is another stone, known as the Fiddler. It is thought by some, that originally, this could have formed the NE end of the row.There are also some cairns scattered around the adjacent fields.

Friday 20 April 2018

Circles & Quoits in West Penwith

11th September 2014
It's a lovely sunny morning as we leave our B&B in St Just for another day of stones, birds and some lovely West Cornwall countryside.
Heading North out of St Just, we go through Botallack, then Trewellard,where we take a right turn on the B3318, until we come to the Parking spot below Woon Gumpas Common (Opp the T Junction).

The Common is a riot of colours - yellow of the Gorse, various purples of the Heather and the green of the Bracken are a feast for the eyes. High on the hill above, you can just about make out Chun Quoit and various tracks lead in all directions. It's a bit soggy at the start, but improves as I make my way up. The small tracks up, come and go, some end abruptly, some are very narrow through the gorse. Cornish Gorse seems particularly sharp and prickly on the legs !

Chun Quoit gets ever nearer and I am soon standing at the familiar mushroom shaped quoit. This is one of the iconic ancient sites in West Penwith. Four uprights support the large capstone, which is the only one in West Cornwall in it's original position. The views from here are amazing as well, with West Penwith stretched out before you.

Carrying on West will bring you to Chun Castle, the settlement that crowns Chun Downs.

I make my way back down to the car park and set off over the road and down a track on the left, passing a cairn hidden in the bracken. A male Whinchat perched on the gorse looks magnificent as he watches me pass by.

Further down this track in the inscribed stone at Boslow. The inscription is unreadable now. The stone weathered and covered in lichen. Craig Weatherhill, in his book Belerion, says that the inscription reads jac-t vena (prob - hic jacit vena - "here lies Vena), though pastscape note it as TAET UERA. There is also a cross inscribed on it's Southern face.

From here there is a track out on to the common and up to Carn Kenidjack - "The Hooting Carn". Again the area is ablaze with the yellow, purple and green. Atrack will lead you in a more or less Southerly direction until the stone circle at Tregeseal appears.

This circle is the only one left, of an original three circles, which sat here in an East - West line, The Western circle has long vanished. The middle one was destroyed in 1961, though a few of the stones are still in the field hedge.
The circle has nineteen stones, some of which have been re erected over the years. It's a lovely secluded spot and one of my favourite circles to visit.

There are a line of five holed stones on the common, They are not always easy to find and on this occasion I somehow miss them as I head back up one of the tracks to Carn Kenidjack and back to the car.
The next stop is just a little way along the road, There is a cross roads of sorts. A trackway leads either side of the B3318 at SW395330 and there is just enough space to pull in. I take the track which leads to Chun Downs and Trehyllys but turn off right after just a few yards and follow the track towards the air traffic control station. After a while, there is a gate leading out onto Boswens Common and Boswens Menhir is visible a short distance away.
This is another fantastic stone. From certain angles it looks as though it is twisted as it points skywards. It stands at around 2.4 metres and is situated in the centre of a ruined Barrow.
I take an alternaative route back, following a track down North West to rejoin the Chun Down/Trehyllys track and back to the car.

Time for a spot of lunch, so we head off to Penlee House  Gallery and cafe to enjoy lunch and admire the ancient market cross which sits among the exotic plants of Morrab Gardens

A quick visit to Marazion Marsh to catch up with a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper that had been reported. Luckily the bird is still there and good views are had. Before we drive up to the hamlet of Boskednan and park near Greenburrow Mine (Ding Dong mine). There are various tracks leading past the engine houses and over the common and eventually to the Boskednan Nine Maidens stone circle.

I haven't been here for a good number of years - the last time, I walked from the Men an Tol. Since my last visit, there has been some restoration work. Three stones have been re erected and several stones that were leaning, have been straightened. A lot of the scrub has been cleared too.
So now there are eleven stones standing out of an unknown original number.Though there were nineteen recorded in 1754 by Borlase (thirteen standing and six fallen). The restoration looks really impressive. Once again the views are far reaching and amazing.

It's getting late now, so we nip down to Sennen Cove to catch the sunset, before returning to our B&B for the evening.