|The Trehundreth & Greenbarrow Downs are one of those brilliant complexes that you get in Cornwall, like Leskernick, where you have standing stones, settings, a row, cairns, barrows, etc all in one relatively compact area. This one is also relatively flat, and relatively easy to get to and get around within. So everyone's a winner.
Surprisingly none of this area is mentioned in Craig Weatherhill's otherwise excellent 'Cornovia: Ancient Sites of Cornwall & Scilly' (Cornwall Books - 1985, revised 1997 & 2000).
It isn't always easy to see what is what though, or to find it all. The OS map, the text and pictures in Peter Herring and Peter Rose's 'Bodmin Moor's Archaeological Heritage' (Cornwall County Council - 2001) and the text, drawing and pictures in Cheryl Straffon's guide 'The Earth Mysteries Guide to Bodmin Moor and North Cornwall (including Tintagel)' (Meyn Mamvro - 1993, amended 2000) all help, but also can confuse. I think that by writing all these notes I have helped to pull this info together, but without a repeat visit with a GPS system I don't think some of these mysteries will be solved yet!
The other side of the road contains Colvannick Tor Stone Row, the best stone row in Cornwall. Harder to find and interpret than the more famous, and still brilliant Nine Maidens row, but more rewarding and challenging. And with a name that means 'erect penis' what more could you want!
If anyone wants to follow the route, the fieldnotes are given below in my route order. I wouldn't particularly encourage doing it in this order though (unless you have a GPS system) because I found the stone row hard to find from the western end and had to find it via the barrows and cairns on Greenbarrow Downs.
These downs are one of the brilliant complexes that you get in Cornwall, like at Leskernick
where you have standing stones, settings, a row, cairns, barrows, etc all in one relatively compact area.
A handy place to park is in an off road picnicy area where the lane from Temple hits the thunderous A30 (circa SX132726). This has a few picnic tables, a mobile café, and even a portaloo! Heading eastbound on the A30 this is signposted 'Temple Fishery' and 'Temple'. Alternatively there is a layby on the eastbound side of the A30 at SX124723. Technically there are very few public footpaths in the area (and the ones there are, are not obvious paths on the ground), but Downs like these are rarely visited by anyone or anything and as long as you use the normal common sense country code I don't imagine anyone challenging you (don't quote me though as some sort of magic access key!).
I actually accessed the Downs after visiting Colvannick Tor Stone Row
so directions on that page suggest one way onto the downs.
Colvannick Tor Stone Row - 31.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid refs = SX12817189 to 12937163.
One easy-ish way to get here is to park at the picnicy area mentioned in the Trehundreth & Greenbarrow Downs
section, and hop over the fence into the firled to the south. Follow the fence along to the west until a footpath starts at SX128723 (the path isn't actually visible on the ground!). This skirts around the large pond. You will need an OS map and even then the stone row can be difficult to spot. I was confused by the field boundary the map showed on the east side of Colvannick Tor. In reality this is not a wall but maybe an ancient boundary; a sort of low bank and slight ditch. If like me you find the stone row difficult to find, head up to the Tor and the northern most stone should be clearly visible due east, about 300 metres away. From this stone you can take a compass bearing south east and walk the line of the row (sometimes through gorse!). There aren't many obvious stones until you reach the southern stones, one of which is large and still upright and can also be seen from the Tor. Beyond this stone there are a few large but fallen stones, and then one final stone 80m or so further on; a very large stone, semi erect. By this point you'll be able to see a few red and white poles in the distance, presumably warning poles for the 'Danger Area' on Cardinham Moor.
In all I counted 3 standing stones (2 of which were large), 1 semi erect (the large southern end stone), 5 fallen (all large), 2 broken stones together, and around 10 possible smaller stones, all fallen or just stumps. This is the best stone row in Cornwall. Harder to find and interpret than the more famous, and still brilliant, Nine Maidens
row, but more rewarding and challenging.
From the stone row you can clearly see the small possible Trehundreth Downs Menhir / markstone
that aligns with it on Trehundreth Downs across the road.
There are ponies and sheep all around, and some sampy area around the large pond. Gorse and brambles line the A30 so getting over to Trehundreth Downs is not that easy. One simple way is by retracing your steps to where the footpath starts on the south side. Opposite this there is a gate into Trehundreth Downs on the north side of this very busy dual carriageway.
Cheryl Straffon's guide 'The Earth Mysteries Guide to Bodmin Moor and North Cornwall (including Tintagel)' (Meyn Mamvro - 1993, amended 2000) writes that "Colvannick Tor itself as probably named after the stones, meaning is it does in English 'erect penis', an indication of an ancient awareness of the phallic nature of the stones, and hinting at fertility rites performed here." I wonder if that's the first mention of an erect penis on this website? Probably not!
Trehundreth Downs Menhir / markstone -31.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref = SX12537258
Cheryl Straffon's guide 'The Earth Mysteries Guide to Bodmin Moor and North Cornwall (including Tintagel)' (Meyn Mamvro - 1993, amended 2000) reports a "small menhir or markstone at SX12537258. Walking towards this mark stone on the top of the rise the Colvannick Tor Stone Row
comes into view across the A30".
Easy to spot as it lies in an area of the Downs with little bracken and few stones. However it is extremely small and very reminiscent of two boundary / marker stones I saw on the Downs, and the pitiful Peverell's Cross. It has about 60cm of stone above ground, with an extra 25cm as part of the 'pit' it stands in. However, from my memory this stone doesn't have any letters carved on it, unlike the boundary markers elsewhere on the Downs. Curious.
Elsewhere in the Straffon booklet she writes that Trehundreth Downs Menhir
is aligned to a cairn, and this stone. Add to this the Colvannick Tor Stone Row
and "evidently all these stones were part of a special alignment, and perhaps a spirit path of the dead associated (sic) with the burial mounds here". Maybe Straffon wants this to be a menhir, rather than a boundary stone, because it is conveniently aligned to the stone row?
Trehundreth Downs Menhir - 31.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref = SX12427281
Marked on the OS map. I don't think I found this. It was all getting a bit confusing at this point. The OS map, the text and pictures in Peter Herring and Peter Rose's 'Bodmin Moor's Archaeological Heritage' (Cornwall County Council - 2001) and the text, drawing and pictures in Cheryl Straffon's guide 'The Earth Mysteries Guide to Bodmin Moor and North Cornwall (including Tintagel)' (Meyn Mamvro - 1993, amended 2000) all help, but also can confuse. I think I have helped pull this info together, but without a repeat visit with a GPS system I don't think some of these mysteries will be solved.
Trehundreth Downs Stone Setting / Row -31.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref = SX12527274
An interesting row / setting of 3 large stones, one of which is still standing. Quite easy to spot form afar and from all around the Downs, which thankfully makes it easier to find than some of the other things around
Trehundreth Downs Cairn - 31.3.2004
Marked on the OS map. I can't say for certain that I found this unless it is the small mound aligned just to the west of Trehundreth Downs Stone Setting / Row
Another Trehundreth Downs Cairn - 31.3.2004
Marked on the OS map. I didn't look for this.
Greenbarrow - 31.3.2004
Marked on the OS map. A large, easy to spot barrow. It literally is green and sticks out amongst the brown downland. One stone is stuck in the edge of the barrow as if it might be the last remnant of a kerb. A faint ditch also seems to circle as least part of the barrow.
Greenbarrow Downs Cairns - 31.3.2004
The OS map marks two cairns very close to the Greenbarrow
. One is obvious to spot at SX131730. The other, marked at SX129730 didn't seem obvious to me.
Trehundreth Downs Stone Row - 31.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid refs = SX12477292 to 12757302
Not that much to see. I was tired by this point so didn't count or plot what I could see. I found this difficult to find from the west. Easier to find from either Greenbarrow
or the Greenbarrow Downs Cairns
. From any of these walk north west and you should walk right through the row! The row is low and small. One bonus is that you can clearly spot the Trehundreth Downs Stone Setting
from this row. If you want to see a totally different type of row (tall, long and chunky) pop over the A30 and try to find Colvannick Tor Stone Row
Trehundreth Downs Stone Setting - 31.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref = SX12587292
I found this from the Trehundreth Downs Stone Row
. There is a good picture of this in Peter Herring and Peter Rose's 'Bodmin Moor's Archaeological Heritage' (Cornwall County Council - 2001). This excellent book writes "next to a cairn on Trehundreth Downs is a setting of three uprights in an arc, as if to define a forecourt-like area where rites could be performed against hills under the great expanse of the upland sky". Although their description is a bit strange to what is on the ground and their interpretation surprisingly flowery compared to the rest of the book, it proved very useful to help me find this.