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Pulpit Hill Camp (Hillfort)

Pulpit Hill - 26.9.2004

Unremarkable hill fort, but still worth the short (500m) walk up the hill from the small gravelly car parks at SP833046. The car park is on the north side of a minor road, not far from the A4010. This minor road (signposted Great Missenden, and others) comes off from a roundabout just north of Princes Risborough.

Nice, simple hill fort. Although it is on the crest of the hill, it's not a steep slope, and the surrounding trees mean the view is patchy. But without the trees this would have been a very stunning and commanding position, especially on the north side.

Well signposted from the carpark. Some of the walk is steep, and uneven. All on National Trust openland.

Dewerstone Settlement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Dewerstone Settlement - 21.6.2004

I knew nothing about this site except for what I could see on the map, which showed a semi circular earthwork on top of the hill, and a homestead within the enclosed area.

The whole area is National Trust land so it is open access. The settlement can be approached over Wigford Down (a much flatter route), or from the river valley below. Many walkers in the area park at Shaugh Bridge. Or Cadover Bridge, but this is further away. There is no vehicular access into the actual National Trust land (e.g. from Goodameavy).

There isn't much to see though, especially with the dense bracken. The paths are cleared of bracken but not the rest of the hill top. Presumably the semi circular earthwork would have cut the hill off from the rest of the downs.

The views from the nearby Dewerstone Rocks are stunning. But please treat the rocks below with care; two rock climbers died on them last year.

West Saddlesborough Hut Circles (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

West Saddlesborough Hut Circles - 25.6.2004

See the page on the Stone Row & Cairn Circle for directions.

There are several hut circles in this area. Take your pick! I've just added pics on one of the best ones.

West Saddlesborough Cairn (Cairn(s))

West Saddlesborough Cairn - 25.6.2004

See the page on the Stone Row & Cairn Circle for directions.

About 50 metres from the start point you should notice a cairn. It's possibly a rather ruined kerbed cairn.

West Saddlesborough Stone Row & Cairn Circle (Stone Row / Alignment)

West Saddlesborough - Stone Row & Cairn Circle - 25.6.2004

I knew nothing about this site except for what I could see on the map, which showed a litter of boundary work and hut circles, plus a cairn circle and a stone row, running for about 175 metres from SX554634 to SX555636

No obvious places to park. Best I could do was to find a suitable snippet of land off the road (which runs from Cadover Bridge towards Wotter). The whole area east of the road is Access Land. Probably the simplest place to start and to get your bearings is from the road side cross and footpath (marked with a tiny ankle height marker) circa SX552634.

The area is a litter of old field boundaries and hut circles, with bracken added in for fun (however, some of it has been recently cut away from around any archaeological features). I think I found the cairn circle and stone row. About 50 metres from the start point you should notice a cairn. Another 75 metres on from this (towards Saddlesborough summit) you should start to spot a low ditch and bank of some old boundary work accompanied by the first of several hut circles in the area. The map suggested the Cairn Circle is just to the north of this. I traced some stones in a circle in this area but it as definitely one of the days when you wonder whether you are seeing stone circles because you are looking for them or because you really are in the right place? All stones were tiny except for one massive stone! By the by, as you get slightly higher there are suddenly great views south, over Plymouth and out to sea.

However the good news is that there is what seems to be a long row of stones leading away from this area, down the hill. And an easy way to spot it is to look for one of the star shaped markers in his area (see pics above). I walked the line and counted 53 stones. The row seems to curve at the end as the slope gets steeper. The row ends about seven metres from a small gulley and a sign that marks the boundary with the Shaugh Lake part of the china clay works.

Drizzlecombe Megalithic Complex

Drizzlecombe Complex - 23.6.2004

This is such an amazing complex, but I made the cardinal sin of not having hardly any time to visit. It definately does deserve a few hours, and it a bit of a trek to get to.

Directions - Again, I basically agree with the travel instructions on the Megalithic Walks link below, but be slightly warned that despite this being marginal land everywhere there don't seem to be hardly any spaces to actually park at his so-called car park!

For the less mobile, or for those who want a more a sure footed route towards Drizzlecombe an alternative route for part of the way is to walk along the well made track towards Ditsworthy Warren House. This track starts from a fork just as you come towards the car park and winds around Gutter Tor and over to the house.

As you round Ditsworthy Warren House, you will soon seen the Drizzlecombe complex in the distance, which emphasises just how large two of the stones are. Don't be tempted (as I was, like a kid seeing a sweet shop) to head straight for the stones in the distance. It can get pretty marshy that way. As you head down the hill bear slightly right, it's definately a bit drier that way.

I can't say much about the Drizzlecombe complex except please visit, and please allow some time to marvel at all the various remains in the area. The complex is in a remarkable bowl with various hills and minor Tors hemming it in.

Ringmoor Cairn Circle and Stone Row (Stone Row / Alignment)

Ringmoor Stone Row and Cairn Circle - 25.6.2004

I thought I was going mad trying to find this. I mean, how hard can it be with a map and compass, good weather, and knowing where you are starting from (Brisworthy Stone Circle)? When I did get here it seemed like a lot more that 300 metres from the Stone Circle. It was probably a mix of it being uphill, across long-ish tufty moorland, and not being able to see the cairn circle until you get pretty close to it (I had mistakenly interpreted the directions from the Megalithic Walks website link below to think it could be seen from all around - it can't be seen unless you are on the plateau). Don't be fooled into thinking that stones over to the west might be the ones you want. They aren't. Just head directly uphill (north or NNW) from the stone circle and you will find Ringmoor.

The cairn circle is nice if a little wild and windswept. You do start to get a feeling of being on the top of the world now, with views all around, and the Princeton TV Transmitter looking like you could reach out and touch it (it's actually about 8km away). The row leads away from the circle and is very clear. However, I couldn’t find the small kerbed cairn said by Burl to be about 240m along the row. At first I thought I was going mad, but then I seriously started to believe that it could have been destroyed in recent years?

By the by, the black line marked on the 1:25,000 map, going straight through the row, is not a field wall, so don't expect a large wall as I did. It's probably a reave; an ancient field boundary ditch and bank.

Brisworthy Stone Circle

Brisworthy Stone Circle - 25.6.2004

Directions - I basically agree with the travel instructions on the Megalithic Walks link below. However, the hamlet of Brisworthy is definitely not the organised little cluster as the OS map suggests. It's basically a couple of very rough working farms and a few houses, so parking is not clear or in abundance. And just to clarify that after walking up the lane there only seems to be one way out of that parcel of land, towards the stone circle. As the short lane ends keep towards the left hand wall of the field (signposted as the official path) and a stile leads you into the large field / moor land, circa SX562654 (i.e. there doesn't seem to be a way out of this land directly towards to the circle). People with disabilities may obviously struggle with this stile. There is a gate next to it, but it was padlocked.

You'll then find the circle 300 metres, due east, near the field boundary. This is clearly the 'show' circle in this area. South West Dartmoor has several cairn circles, and stones in some sort of circle, but this is the only really showy stone circle.

After several days of rain, I was blessed with sun tan weather which really made a rest at the stones a lovely prospect. Views towards Trowlesorthy (south east) and Legis Tor (east) are brilliant. With a keen eye the Stone Circle can be spotted from the Trowlesorthy area, partly hidden by some of the very few trees in the area.

Technically this doesn't seem to be Access Land, but the chances of anyone stopping you seem remote, assuming you're following the basic rules of the countryside.

Symonds Yat (Hillfort)

Symonds Yat - 24.4.2004

The OS map shows three parallel lines of defences on the south side of the Symonds Yat Rock, and an extra bank at the west end. This would have attempted to cut the whole of Huntsham Hill off from the mainland, with the River Wye surrounding it on three sides.

They are situated on the west side of the road (B4432), just to the south of the entrance to the car park for people with disabilities. Three lines of banks and ditches are clearly visible (but not large), with the northern one being the largest. This one seems to straddle the road as well. This is not actually the high ground in the area, and the defences are slight, so this seems to be a relatively low-key attempt at any sort of 'defence'.

The nearby Yat Rock is a major viewpoint in the area and is well worth a visit. Another excellent viewpoint exists just off the east side of the road, opposite the banks and ditches.

Long Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The Long Stone (Staunton) - 25.4.2004

This is a very impressive chunky stone, marred only by being so close to the road and thus taking on a bit of a novelty factor. It is quite literally 2 metres from the edge of the road, on the north side.

It must be more than 7ft tall because my 6' 5" friend stood next to it and quite a lot of it went over his head. I'd say it must be close-ish to 8ft tall.

Harold's Stones (Standing Stones)

Harold's Stones - 25.4.2004

First things first - these are ENORMOUS! After several trips in Cornwall (and other places) searching out the minor league stones and barrows, I'd almost forgotten what things like this looked like.

None of the posts on here actually said how big they are, and the only other report I had read also didn't mention the height, and the pic I saw made them look distinctly human size. I hadn't read the page in the TMA book before going - oops. However it actually made it better by not knowing what to expect. The largest stone (the cock stone as Jane says - or the 'Cock Rock' I reckon!) is actually about 14 ft tall and dwarfed us all.

The middle stone is strangely circular and looks a bit like a missile ready to fire. The third stone then looks a little out of place, as it is the smallest and most upright, is less rough and crumbly, and is more of a shape that you would find in a stone circle.

King Arthur's Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter)

King Arthur's Cave - 24.4.2004

I don't think I'll try to explain much about how to get here because we came via a walk along the river and a detour up to the stunning views off the Seven Sisters Rocks. Personally I'd say that the easiest way is probably from a mini layby at SO548157, a hundred metres or so before you get to the bigger car park (circa SO548158) that is at the edge of the entrance to the Biblins Camp Site. From this layby head south down a track, past the old quarry on your left, and then you will come across several sets of caves on your left (opposite a lovely grassy field on your right). The caves range from large ones to tiny holes and possible rock shelters. Given a lack of information over which one exactly is 'King Arthur's Cave', I can't say for certain if the most impressive one is King Arthur's Cave or not. Oh well; they were all pretty atmospheric anyway.

Badbury Rings (Hillfort)

Badbury Rings - 3.4.2004

A lovely big hill fort, but so popular that there are obvious signs of erosion.

As others have said the trees on top aren't as bad as you might think. At first I scoffed when I saw a panoramic plate on the summit. But given a day with better visibility I imagine you could actually see quite a lot from here (including neighbouring hill forts), through the trees.

Two car parks available. The main car park is the signposted one at ST960033 and is open 9am to 8pm between April and October, and from 9am to 4pm between November and March. The car park is used for point to point races on a few days each year, when a charge is made, and it might get full. The three races for 2004 have all now been and gone, so I think visitors shouldn't find any problems for the rest of this year.

There is also a smaller car park, a bit further away at ST967023. This is on the south east side of the hill fort, next to the main road.

Or if you've just visited the Kingston Lacy Estate you could walk from there. It's about 2½ to 3 kms.

Badbury Rings (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

Badbury Rings Barrow Cemetery - 3.4.2004

Three well preserved barrows, in a line, just to the west of the hill fort (next to the track to the main car park). Like three big jelly mounds of earth! Compared to all sorts of degraded and scrubby barrows I had just visited in Cornwall, these are almost like picture perfect barrows.

Very easy to find as you need to drive past them to get to the main car park, or you will walk past them if you walk into the National Trust land from the main entrance.

Halfway Wall Cairn (Cairn(s))

Halfway Wall Cairn - 30.3.2004

This cairn is only about 100m north of halfway wall. Despite it's tiny height (the English Heritage report says 0.11m high - that's 11cm!) this is easier to spot than many of the other cairns on the island, because 1, it's a relative high point in the area, 2, it's close to the 4x4 track, and 3, there are lynchets running from it.

Chambered Stone Dwelling (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Chambered Stone Dwelling - 30.3.2004

Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13274613

Well I thought I had found this. I was definitely in the right place but the English Heritage directions fail to mention that there are two rocky outcrops in the area. After the natural spring there is an outcrop of rocks after barely 10 metres, and then another 20/30m further on. And the directions say the dwelling is "tucked under a rock outcrop" - do they mean literally under the rock on the cliff edge? So which one is it closest to? Well there is some sort of dwelling between the two, on the cliff top, and it's pretty stunning, with rooms that can be made out. BUT a pic on the National Trust leaflet ('The Archaeology of Lundy') shows what I think I found and labels it as a "ruined medieval building on the east coast". The more I think about it, the more I think I didn't find the ancient site. Needed more time. I'm disappointed because this is a unique dwelling on Lundy and sounded cool.

Ackland's Moor Cairns (North) (Cairn(s))

Ackland's Moor Cairns (North) - 30.3.2004

There are two Cairns listed, very close together towards the north part of the moor. One is at SS13234478. As this is clipped by a shallow quarry pit on the south west side, it's pretty easy to locate. As with most Lundy Cairns there is little to see. But the quarry pit pond does add a little photogenic quality to this one though.

The other is at SS13194473. Given limited time I gave this one a miss, but given that the other nearby cairn is easy to locate, I imagine this could be found via that cairn if need be.

Ackland's Moor Standing Stone (West) (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Ackland's Moor Standing Stone (West) - 30.3.2004

Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13084458

Thanks to the detailed English Heritage directions I definitely found this stone. I would add though that this is not in a 'wall' as you and I might think of as a field wall. It should really be described as the last remains of an old field wall, i.e. you can clearly see a few stones that are in some sort of line, but that's all. The 'standing stone' does stand out because it is very wide (1.4m - actually slightly wider than it is tall) and like most of the Lundy stones it is not earthfast (i.e. it is set on the ground rather than in the ground and has stones packed around its base to keep it upright).

Ackland's Moor Hut Circle & Enclosure (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Ackland's Moor Hut Circle & Enclosure - 30.3.2004

Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13044451

This is a probable Bronze Age hut circle & enclosure. I was definitely in the right area for this (well, I was definitely in the area English Heritage described; 30m from the cliff edge and 30m south of a natural spring) but not convinced I could see on the ground exactly what the English Heritage report mentions. Stunning location though. Not a bad place to live on a nice day like this, but being on the west side of the island it would get the Atlantic winds!

Ackland's Moor Cairn Stones (Cairn(s))

Ackland's Moor Cairn Stones - 30.3.2004

Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13244460

Took me quite some time to be relatively happy that I had found this site. There are a lot of stones in the area and this cairn is not obvious! And if I did find this cairn then I didn't find the standing stone that the English Heritage focuses on. Maybe it has fallen? There were definately no 1.4m tall standing stones in this whole area.

There is a very distinct large stone on the ground, and apart from spotting this stone there is no obvious way of getting to this spot again. This large stone looks like a classic schoolboy drawing of a penis and scrotum!
Showing 1-20 of 255 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 20
My real name is Martin, but there is already a Martin vigorously posting on this fantastic web site so I decided to use 'Pure Joy'; which was the title of the Teardrop Explodes and Julian Cope fanzine that I set up in 1988 and ran until 1991/2. Strangely my interest in ancient sites pre-dates the knowledge that Julian was also into them. However Julian's book has certainly led me to visit more, and plan holidays and pit-stops around places to visit! Studying History (and International Relations) at Uni and coming from the West Country led to a healthy fascination with ancient sites and the countryside.

I was born in 1970 in Colerne, a historic village between Bath and Chippenham (mentioned in the Domesday Book) and have spent time in Bath, Reading, Manchester, West Africa, and Ethiopia. I'm currently living near London, but itching to live in the countryside, preferably Cornwall, or Africa. Reality check! little money and inertia creep.

Most of my working life has been in the voluntary sector, usually by supporting voluntary and community groups with advice and information. I enjoy doing quite a bit of voluntary work with our Credit Union, and as an elected Council member of the National Trust.

I'm no photography expert but I like to take photos (nearly always black and white) of places I visit. Some of the earlier ones looked good but it was only with a £25 point and shoot camera that was amazing unreliable. I've now got an old Pentax SLR, but at the moment I refuse to use filters and special effects. You get what you see.

Up side of ancient site = the sense of history, the countryside, the walk, the sense of adventure, the tranquillity, and the weird things that sometimes happen.

Downside = the loneliness, territorial cows, and the cravings to get back to the countryside

My TMA Content: