Pre-historic sites

Forums Memories about Outside the Town Pre-historic sites

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    Jon Lawrence

    Assycombe stone row by Perran Newman


    Not far from Chagford and bordering on the open moor within the Fernworthy enclosure is a very special place. I first discovered it on a guided walk which I had joined soon after moving here in 1997. It was my intention to learn more about Dartmoor and it’s history but of all the places I visited, the Assycombe stone row is very special. It is not far from the ruins of a farmhouse bearing the same name which it also shares with a stream coming off the moor. The farmhouse has the distinction of incorporating the remains of a Bronze Age roundhouse into one of it’s outbuildings. The row incorporating 133 stones was built on sloping ground and starts at the higher end with the ruins of a burial cairn. It then runs downwards as a double row of granite stones that decrease in size. A single blocking stone placed across the line of the row declares the planned end. The most unusual feature of the site is a hut circle, near the lower end and unusually close to the row itself. Sitting within the hut circle and pondering the meaning of the whole site only raises questions as time and history give us no answers. Many others have been here and experienced its aura. Small pieces of fabric flutter on an adjacent rowan tree and hidden amongst the moss covered stones of the hut I have found woven crosses and similar items, always carefully replaced. Recently, a change has taken place which has unfortunately spoiled the ambiance of this place which was hidden in a clearing in the forest. Felling of the Sitka spruce has opened up the site and removed the special approach route that I so delighted in using when taking friends who had never been before. We would thread our way up the slope through towering conifers with only the distant green light to draw one onwards finally breaking out into the sunlight at the bottom of the stone row and embracing its unique setting for the first time.

    Perran Newman

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