Friday, June 28, 2013

The Hurler's stone circles

Hurler circles with Cheesewring in the  distance
We arrived in the village of Minions in cold, misty and very windy conditions.  The moors around sported farm animals and ponies, this part of the moor it was the banded white/black cows that were in evidence.  Small ponies everywhere, their foals at heel or fast asleep in a hollow of the land whilst their mothers grazed.
Great excitement on my part for eventually arriving in Cornwall, the pub/hotel was welcoming, room good and the food fairly good as well - pub fare.
How to describe this landscape, dystopia kept coming to mind, the land has been mined for tin and ruined engine houses dot the skyline.  Yet of course it is beautiful, the mine workings flow through the land as bumps, ditches and small pits filled with reeds and water, a green and pleasant land, the mist adding to the romantic industrial tone of the place.
The Hurlers Stone Circles, there are three, though one has almost disappeared, is about 5 minutes walk from the road just outside the village and they lie about half a mile from the Cheesewring, upon which of course they are focused.  What went through the minds of these stone age people as they looked on the weird shaping of the Cheesewring, honed by time and geology to a 'topple' of stones balanced precariously on top of one another.  Did they think their ancestors had built such stone gods? Giants placing each stone carefully, who knows?
On our first visit, the mist came and went so that sometimes the blurred outlines of the Cheesewring was there and then  would completely disappear, we had come in the time of the summer solstice, but the sun had decided not to make an appearance.  We met at the stone circle someone from the forums, Gwass and his friend, who were also there for the solstice.  
The two stone circles have a feeling of serenity and you can fall in love with them quite happily, they pull you in, they are not showy circles just part of the landscape and as you glance over to the two Piper Stones in the distance the question asked are they both part of the same equation, or are these two stones something different.
As we spent three days in Minions village, we visited several times, and also walked to the Cheesewring in blustery weather with Sanctuary and his dog Chief. The front half of this great outcrop of rock (sorry don't do north, south, east and west) has been heavily quarried right up to the strange assemblage of stones before it was finally stopped.  There is an early neolithic wall fronting this and several upright stones balanced precariously on the edge of the quarry, this is part of Stowes Pound Neolithic enclosures.
Silly people were doing the 'Titanic' act of standing on the Cheesewring with arms outstretched in a gale force wind, hopefully should they have been blown off there is a helicopter service in Cornwall.

One of the stones sitting in its own reed filled pond

Mistiness (and I need a new camera to get rid of the black spot!)

The two Piper stones

Misty visions
The Cheesewring is situated on the Stowe Pound Hill, which has Neolithic walling and upright stones that sit on the edge of the quarry,  consists of a larger and smaller Neolithic enclosures, used also at later dates.
Blue skies over Stowe Pound Hill and the Cheesewring.


Neolithic walling

Upright stones at the edge of the quarry


"The Hurlers consist of three rings of stones, they stand on the open moor one and a half miles west of Upton Cross, just west of Minions. The stone circles are set on a line north east, south west and if we work north to south the dimensions are as follows diameter 110ft with 13 standing stones, 135 ft with 17 standing stones and 105 ft with 9 standing stones. The rings can be studied carefully and it can be seen that each ring would have had many more stones at one time, probably between twenty five and thirty five each. The group lies on a route way between the rivers Lyhner and Fowey and are aligned with a number of monuments close by, the cairns on Caradon and stone rows on one axis and long toms cross and Rillaton barrow on the opposite axis. It has been confirmed that the stones had been placed in pits with stones packed around them. They had been hammered smooth and the chippings strewn over the interior. Little was found in the stone circles. The central circle contained an upright stone placed off centre and the northern circle had been paved with granite blocks. Between the central and southern circle lay another patch of paving and a small pit. To the south west, 120 metres away are two more standing stones. known as The Pipers, possibly the remains of another circular monument or an alignment running down to the river Fowey. It is highly likely that the circles were built over a lengthy time span and a single site might retain its significance for centuries. Perhaps the central circle was at the nucleus of a monument collection of different dates.   Daniel Gumb's Country Deborah Bennett

Christopher Tilley on Stowe Pound Hill;

Cornwall's Archaeology Heritage

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