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

Fieldnotes by IronMan

Latest Posts
Showing 1-20 of 159 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 20

Willy Hall's Wood Stone (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Just got back from my first trip to Ilkley in a few months and what can I say that Stubob hasn't already, what an absolute disgrace. This is one of the most perfectly situated, unpublicised sites on the moor and it's now been damaged, quite possibly forever, by a mindless, selfish idiot. Shame on you whoever did this.

Stoke Flat (Stone Circle)

As with Wet Withens this site isn't that impressive in it's own right, but is made special by it's surroundings. On this particular day the contrast between the Autumnal colours of the dead ferns and the stark white of the silver birch trees made for quite a beautiful scene. I was reminded of visits I've made at this time of year to the Druid's Circle of Ulverston. Again the views from here are great, and as pointed out previously, some of the huge stones on the track leading to the circle are also worthy diversions.

Wet Withens (Stone Circle)

I have been here before, albeit unknowingly. I visited a couple of years ago in early summer and think I may actually have walked through the circle without actually spotting it. This time however we were in good company - Stubob led us straight to the spot.

The circle is pretty easy to distinguish (once it's been pointed out!) - the bank especially. It is quite large despite the diminuitive stones (the highest is 0.7m) and while not majorly impressive in itself, when seen in context with the amazing scenery surrounding the site it becomes well worth the effort.

Adam's Grave (Long Barrow)

Arriving at the car park between Knap Hill and Adam's Grave we found ourselves with company. Today it seemed everybody had decided to visit Adam's Grave! I can't say I was surprised - after a torrential downpour the night before the weather had taken a turn for the better, and we found ourselves walking in glorious sunshine.

The view from Adam's Grave is outstanding. We sat and contemplated for a good long while, people coming and going all the while. When we finally decided to leave I realised I hadn't actually taken any photographs, I'd been so taken in by the place I'd just forgotten to. I soon amended this, before making our way to Wansdyke.

Burn Moor Complex

A return visit - this time with Si and Ursula.

For me this site is really under-represented! Looking at the first circle of the White Moss pair, we all commented on the fact that we'd not really heard much mention of the place and couldn't understand why. This circle in particular is in really good condition, considering it's location, and taken into consideration with the other four circles. The only reason I can think of for why more people haven't visited is it's remote location, but it's not that difficult to get to. We took a more direct approach this time, venturing over Hard Knott pass and, despite difficult driving conditions, decided it's a much quicker route than the one we had taken previously (the coastal route) and offers some spectacular scenery (and a Roman fort).

Burn Moor exudes a real magic. For me the best spot is within the first of the two Low Longrigg circles. From here the view down to White Moss and Brat's Hill is very clear, and quite overwhelming. I've yet to see these sites in sunny conditions, and I must admit, these overcast doomy skies do kind of add to the place, but next time I will definitely try to visit on a cloudless summer's day, just to see how much this affects the sites.

I'd go as far as saying it's pretty perfect up here, and would urge anyone with an interest in the stones, who can, to pay a visit because it really is a very special place. The walk from Boot is steep, but well worth the effort. Fantastic.

Chûn Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Our last site visit of this trip and not a bit disappointing. This really is a treat - every bit as good as I'd hoped for, and then some. The views from here are tremendous, and the decision to come here last worked out brilliantly, as by now I felt familiar with the surrounding landscape. We arrived in glorious sunshine and lay soaking up the warmth for a good while, before lazily strolling back to civilisation.

Carn Gluze (Chambered Cairn)

On our way back from staying in Mousehole, we decided to make one last trip round the coastal road and stop off at Cape Cornwall to see this monument and the cliffs, before heading to Chûn Quoit, and then back up to Bristol.

The size of this place is impressive, and the view even more so - taking in Land's End at a distance where the horrible theme park is almost invisible. The waves below these here cliffs are quite something, and must have had quite an impact on the minds of the ancients.

Boscawen-Un (Stone Circle)

Another site which I've been wanting to visit for quite some time, and I'm not in the least bit disappointed by it. We had the place to ourselves, and once we were sat down within the circle, surrounded by the thick gorse, felt completely away from civilisation. Perfect!

Brane (Entrance Grave)

This place really is tiny! I rather ignorantly decided to consult my copy of The Modern Antiquarian after arriving at the site, and so only realised then that I was actually in danger of being chased off the land, so I hurriedly took a few snaps then beat a retreat. I will do my research more thoroughly in future.

Carn Euny Fogou & Village

After visiting Boleigh Fogou we decided to come here next, in order to compare the experience. This didn't have quite the same impact, but did have one or two surprises in store for us - the phosphorescent moss on the walls of the corbelled chamber impressed us most. We decided that Boleigh's magic must have a lot to do with it's 'living' nature - this felt much more like the sites I'm used to, and so much less alive. A tour group arrived after 20 minutes or so, thus signalling our departure. On the way back we wandered a few metres down the track marked 'pottery' to visit the little well there.

Boleigh Fogou

Of all the sites we visited on our Cornish trip, this one blew my mind the most. I'd kind of written off fogous prior to this, thinking that the evidence tipped too far in favour of those who claim these sites were intended as stores and/or refuges. All I can say is, if this was supposed to be a food-store, the builders must have had quite a shock when they realised they'd opened up a passage to the underworld - it really is that good. The psychological impact of staring into it's gaping void from a few feet before the entrance is a feeling I'll not forget in a long time.

We'd arrived at the site unannounced, not remembering (must do my research properly) it was necessary to make an appointment before hand. Jo May's daughter was just on her way out as we drove down the track leading to the house, and so she asked if she could help us. We told her we intended to visit the fogou, and she let us know (in the nicest possible way) that we should really have booked in advance. She said it'd be okay this time though, as there was no activity taking place in the Caer centre, and proceeded to lead us to the fogou.

Having visited countless burial chambers prior to this, and thinking this would be a similar experience, neither Ursula nor myself really had any qualms about just strolling on into the passage. I took a few photographs, and not having a torch used my flash to view inside the creep passage.

It was Ursula who first freaked out. As I sat, gazing down the creep, I heard her yelp from outside. I quickly turned round to see what was the matter, and saw she'd whipped off her coat, shaking it before me, thinking a bee was in her hood. Seconds later she flicked off her shoe, thinking something was in that, and I leapt backwards almost losing my footing. The place was really starting to freak us out so we retreated to the safety of the outside.

We took a few minutes to re-gather our composure, and then I set about taking a few more photographs. As I raised my camera to take a shot, I saw something leap from tree above me, a sudden panic made me stop what I was doing, only to find my terror had been caused by one of the trees branches gently swaying in the breeze. I sat down and laughed - the psychology behind this place is really quite something, and had obviously got the better of us. I decided there and then that I'd have to make another visit to this place, with a more prepared mind and proper permission from it's owner. I really felt like I was trespassing!

Sat before the entrance, I fixed my gaze on it's depths and struggled to see far into the passage at all - the darkness has to be seen to be believed. Life teemed all around the mouth of this 'cave', bees and butterflies fluttered round the bluebells growing on it's banks. Up above in the trees was the noisiest display of ravens I've ever heard. It was pretty easy to start to imagine this was all part of the magick of this site.

This is a real class site, and has made me totally reassess not only fogous, but my entire psychological relationship with all sacred sites. Fantastic.

Tregiffian (Entrance Grave)

It's a real shame that this site is partially submerged beneath the road, as I reckon it would have been another 'perfect' site had it not been (see the Merry Maidens for a definition of 'perfect'). Like Holy says, not a great place for meditation, though on a very busy day, from within the chamber perhaps the traffic noise above could give the same feeling as listening to Sunn O))), who knows? Traffic meditation, now there's a new idea! :-)

The Merry Maidens (Stone Circle)

The word 'perfect' gets used a lot for this circle, so it was no surprise that Ursula and myself both uttered the word in unison as we approached. An incredible place, which from certain angles achieves total symmetry. I took a few shots trying to frame this perfect symmetry, then we sat on a wall nearby gazing at this wonderful place, before moving on to Tregiffian.

Mayon Cliff Barrows (Round Barrow(s))

As we approached this site, on our way walking to Land's End, we were greeted with the site of heavy industrial equipment, hauling salvage from a ship run aground below the cliffs. I took a few shots and had a quick look at the site, before getting away from this ugly scene!

Nine Stones of Boskednan (Stone Circle)

We walked here from Men-An-Tol and were immediately impressed by the small barrow just above the main circle. Both sites are so obviously in reverence to Carn Galver, it just dominates the landscape.

Men-An-Tol (Holed Stone)

We approached this site with eager anticipation having seen and read so much about it before. Ironically, this exposure meant that once we arrived at the site we were a little disappointed. Needless to say, it is a great site, and the surrounding landscape wonderful, but it didn't really have any surprises left to offer us. It was exactly as I'd expected it to be, nothing more, nothing less. We hung around for a while, and took the obligatory shots, then left as a dogwalker approached the site.

Lanyon Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

A wonderful site, worthy of the attention it gets. The re-positioning of the stones is quite obvious, but doesn't in any way spoil it. We sat here for a while as the midday sun burnt away what was left of the cloud cover, and the day took a lighter turn.

Zennor Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

This was our first site on our Cornish trip, and was an excellent start. The size of this monument is quite something - I'd certainly not imagined it to be so big. Luckily I had re-read the fieldnotes for this site and didn't mistake the posts for anything significant, and so was able to impress Ursula with my knowledge. She was a bit taken aback in fact, as she had also thought the semi-constructed cowshed was part of this ancient monument ;-)

Carnasserie (Stone Row / Alignment)

Very late addition here (it's about six months since my visit), and I don't know why I haven't posted notes yet... here goes then:

The path leading to these stones can be found by following the sign posts up to Carnasserie castle. While here it's a good idea to take a look around the castle - the reason being, it's possible to see the stones from the SW tower, and it'll make the journey much easier than plodding round the fields aimlessly!

When I visited it was raining, not very hard, but enough so I had my hood up. As I explained above, I worked out the direction to these stones by looking from the castle tower. The castle was very atmospheric, and in the rain it's open roof led an eerie atmosphere to the place. Excited by the sight of these two stones, I span round quickly, ready to jog back down the wet spiral staircase steps. A lintel, unseen due to the peak on my hood, blocked the way. Crack! I smashed my head on it and tumbled down a few steps. I landed with a thud and a very sore head. A bit dazed, I shakily proceeded down the steps. Now this castle is in the middle of nowhere really, and I began wondering if I'd been knocked out, or anything more serious had happened, who'd have found me? Once I reached the bottom I sat down, stars spinning before my eyes, rubbing the nasty lump which had by now appeared on my head.

I soon decided to carry on regardless and made my way to the stones - they were wonderful and I soon stopped feeling sorry for myself as I became acquainted with this pair of fine standing stones. Anyone visiting the Kilmartin valley would do well to track these down - it's roughly a 3/4 hour round trip on foot from the car park, just off the main Kilmartin valley road. Carnasserie cairn lies just above the stones, and as a wise Welsh farmer once advised, it's best to follow your nose to find it. Once you do, and if it's clear, you'll be blessed with a stunning view down the valley to the Nether Largie cairns. This cairn is almost in the same line as these, and if you look behind you you'll see the huge cairn Cārn Bān on the horizon.

I'd definitely recommend this site, just watch for stray lintels would be my only advice.

Summerhouse Hill (Round Cairn)

A frustrating one this.

I had read two extremely vague references to this site, on one of my trawls for sites on the web, both saying this was a Stone Circle. I could find absolutely no reference to this site in any of Burl's books however, which had alarm bells ringing for me. I jotted the site's grid ref. down anyway, along with a load of others, before setting off with MrsIM for a day out. We were in the Carnforth area, after visiting Heysham Head and so decided we may as well visit. We wandered round the field a few times, using my GPS as a guide (which was playing up). No joy. I was however very excited by the sight of five huge stones, similar to the nearby Three Brothers. We soon came across a mound, which on further inspection we realised gave this site it's name because on it's top are the remains of a brick summer-house. The mound itseld however looked suspiciously like a huge cairn, right down to the retaining kerb of large stones. I decided this couldn't be it - no way could you mistake this for a stone circle. Another frustrating twenty minutes led to no further discoveries - other than the remains of an old lime-kiln at the far end of the field. We decided our time hadn't been wasted when we walked past the field edge and saw the view out across Morecambe Bay - it's quite something. We were even able to make out the rough location of The Druid's Circle of Ulverston.

On the way back to the car we made another inspection of the summerhouse, and I decided that this must be the site in question, and that the references I'd come across were just plain wrong. The five stones which had me excited earlier, when viewed from the top of the mound formed a semi-circle with the mound itself roughly in the centre. I took some photos as the rain started to pour heavier and heavier, then our rumbling stomachs got the better of us and we decided to get to Lancaster for some grub in The Water Witch.

Looking at the maps again, I'm sure I've missed the actual site - a cairn seems to be marked off at the opposite end of the field on MultiMap and on my Explorer map the location of the 'cairn' is very confusing. I'll try and clear this up as soon as possible!
Showing 1-20 of 159 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 20
Holed up in Hebden Bridge, doing things.

My TMA Content: