Whatever the time of year I love the moors. Whether it is in the depths of winter when the air is sharp with cold, one of those days the wind tugs at you and takes your breath away or at the height of a bright blue-skied summers day. Then its a very different place, you can hear the heat coming from the stones and the grass cracks under your feet.
Watching the cloud shadows moving across those wide empty spaces, that is where I feel really at peace. But of course these are not really empty spaces and each time I visit I find another new reason to go back.
A few days ago it was neither mid winter or a clear summers day but I was with friends visiting a part of the moor that had until that day had completely passed me by.
The dark silhouette of Hawks tor, close to Blisland, was clearly visible on the horizon when we set out from the cars parked beside the rough farm track. The path isn’t clearly marked because this is a brand new right of way recently agreed upon by English Heritage and the resident farmer. (I have included a little map below to give you a rough idea of the route.) The reason for our walk, besides getting out on the moor, was to see the recently completed renovation of the Stripple-stones Stone Circle.
Cornwall has plenty of stone circles but this unique circle is one of just three in Cornwall standing as it does on a raised henge and until this year was in a very poor state of repair. A hedge was cutting through the monument (as the illustration from the 1970s shows) but more pressing was the damage being done by livestock.
Most of the stones had fallen, there were just four left standing and the whole site was in danger of disappearing into the landscape. But on the day we visited looking down from the top of Hawks Tor I was delighted to see the newly resurrected stones bright white against the landscape. It was something I had learnt last year when helping with the preservation of Leskernick stone circle, something that the builders of the circles must have prized – granite when it is fresh out the ground and free from weathering glows white and can be seen from a great distance.
These wonderful relics deserve protection. This circle was constructed around 3000BC and English Heritage have done a great job in bringing it back to life. There are now 11 upright stones some as much as 2.5m high, although some estimates say that the circle may have once consisted of as many as 28 standing stones! The hedge has been removed and the bank and ditch henge with a diameter of roughly 46m restored.
The stones in this circle are impressive and quite different from its nearest neighbour, the Trippet Stones. There the stones are chunky and squat, here they are mostly narrow, flat pieces of stone stretching up towards the sky like fingers.
This really is a special and atmospheric site. Get out there! It is well worth the short walk especially if you combine it with a visit to the Trippet stones which are close by.
Two things before I go. Any one have any ideas what the significance of these L shaped stones is?
And here is the map that I promise to guide you there! Hope you can see the pink dotted line, it starts from the track leading to Hawks Tor Farm.