Sunday, 18 March 2012

Porlock potluck

Time to give the new boots a proper work out  - Exmoor seemed a good idea. It always rains when I visit Exmoor  so where better to check the waterproofing!

First stop was Porlock and up the notorious Porlock Hill  (25% or a 1:4 gradient) to a car park at the top with fabulous views across the channel to Wales. The stones are very easy to find and very close to the car park, less than a minute's walk and quite conspicuous against the backdrop of heather and gorse.

The stones are both prostrate and it has been suggested that they are the remains of a barrow.

Someone has planted daffodils around the stones but it is an exposed spot and they hadn't yet come into bloom.

Tradition has it that they were thrown here by the devil and St Dubricius during a contest. 

Leaving the stones behind we walked on along the road about another 2km to try and find the Porlock circle.

The circle was surprising easy to find at least once we'd gone past it and chanced to look back. Right by the road, hidden by a stone wall but clearly visible from the gate. It might have helped if a passing squall had not chosen that moment to drop water on us and we'd had the map out - not next time remember the map cover!

The stones are small and many of them look as if they have just been placed as marker stones.

Surrounded by sheep it is a very peaceful setting.

 Lunch was taken nearby propped up against a convenient drystone wall in the sun before heading back to the car and further explorations.

This conveniently ignores the second random squall that hit us - this one with the gift of hailstones as well. You are rapidly made aware of just how little shelter is available on the moorland.

The last circle we planned to try and find was Almsworthy. Whether this is actually a circle is debatable. The map calls it a "stone setting",  it has been described as two oval shapes but may just be an alignment. This was probably the most challenging to find. It would be very difficult indeed in summer when the heather is higher.

Certainly many stones are tiny and look as if they have just been placed in the heather.

Spot the stones.....
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