Heading downhill from Corringdon Ball stone row (30.8.2010), East Glaze Brook proves to be narrower and faster flowing than its western namesake, the water forced into a little fall by the granite rocks on its sides. Luckily it's not wide enough to cause any real obstacle to progress. The long barrow, a skyline landmark for some time, has now disappeared beyond the brow of the hill.
There is apparently another stone row between brook and barrow, but my cursory look doesn't reveal it and by now I am quite tired and hot, and still not quite at the furthest point out of the day, so I don't press the point as much as perhaps I should.
Cresting the ridge, the slumped shape of the long barrow comes back into view. A real rarity on Dartmoor, this wrecked chambered long mound would readily recognise its Cotswold cousins, the principal difference being the much harder granite of its construction. Unfortunately, like many of its family it has been trashed. The chamber is now reduced to a collection of scattered stones, leaning and fallen uprights and a dismounted slab that was presumably the capstone. Cattle clearly trample around the remains, probably making rubbing stones from the uprights. The earth around the stones is being very badly eroded by these visitations. The mound itself is low and stands to a height of less than a metre. An even more trashed and reduced round barrow, cut across by a wall, sits quietly to the southeast. Despite all of this, the long barrow remains surprisingly impressive, partly due to its positioning against the skyline when seen from both east and west. The endless skies of Dartmoor and the solitude of this spot, far away from roads or houses, contribute to a strong sense of timeless place that many barrows in better states of preservation elsewhere lack. As ever on Dartmoor, I find it very difficult to imagine a woodland landscape in place of the wide open spaces of the moor. What change this mound has seen over the ages!
I spend a while here, in silence and solitude, but it's a long, hot walk ahead and at length I return over East Glaze Brook to collect G/F. We head back to the old tramway bed at Glasscombe Ball, which as part of the Two Moors Way will take us all the way back to Ivybridge. It's been a terrific day out, the Neolithic survivors at Cuckoo Ball, Butterdon Hill and Corringdon Ball, although less celebrated and visited than the numerous Bronze Age sites, remain an important and rewarding collection of Dartmoor sites to visit.
(30.8.2010) After leaving Glasscombe Corner stone row, with its ruined terminal cairn, we take a trackless route northeast, roughly following the alignment of the row. The hillside slopes downwards, towards the little valley of West Glaze Brook.
Even in this hot, dry weather the approach to the brook is muddy and damp - in winter this is probably a quagmire. The brook itself runs clear and quick, crossing it is a balancing act across uneven, slippery stones. Luckily it's narrow and we make it across without incident. The hillside then climbs again, to a broad neck of land separating West Glaze Brook from its eastern counterpart. Over to the ESE is the rounded bulk of Corringdon Ball hill, while the slumped lines of the attendant long barrow, our ultimate goal for the day, are now silhouetted against the skyline to the east.
On this neck of land is Corringdon Ball stone row, one of the more well-known of the rows of Dartmoor on account of the multiplicity of its rows. It lies amongst scattered clumps of gorse, vibrantly flowered with yellow at this time of year, and the stones are very small, easily hidden in the short grass. In truth I find myself rather underwhelmed by this site, for reasons I'm not really sure of. Perhaps it's the diminutive size of the stones, or the fact that the overall pattern is quite difficult to ascertain amongst the grass. Maybe it's simply the heat of the Bank Holiday sun overhead. The terminal cairn circle at the eastern end seems strangely resistant to easy plotting by eye, with only an arc of stones cutting across the end of the rows to mark its existence at all.
From this end of the rows, the contours drop steeply again to East Glaze Brook and G/F decides she doesn't want to make the final crossing, electing to stay under the welcome shade of some trees near to the row while I go on to visit Corringdon Ball long barrow.