Monday, 26 August 2013

Dartmoor Ramblings

So our trip to Cornwall actually included a day on Dartmoor ( which is Devon of course). Our flying visit to Bodmin had whetted our appetite to spend more time on the moor and now was the time. First stop was completely unplanned but a perusal of the map showed something called Spinsters Rock. It sounded interesting enough to take a short detour to have a look.

And well worth the detour it was too. A nice little quoit, easily found with an interesting name. Spinsters in this case apparently refers to spinners rather than unmarried women.

They erected this before breakfast one morning. I'm sure the sheep in the field appreciated their efforts as it shows signs of being well used as a shelter against the infamous Dartmoor weather.

So on to our intended stop for lunch  - Fingle Bridge.

 You have no idea how long I had to wait for this shot. It was a bit busy...

John Lloyd Warden described it as "... the ancient bridge, so narrow that only one cart at a time can pass over it, and the wayfarer caught thereby must retire into one of the triangular recesses, the continuation upwards of the sharp buttresses that divide the hurrying waters. A sweet spot, though somewhat sad toward eventide, when the 'cry' of the river sound mournful on the darkening atmosphere".

This however was still not our final destination and after lunch at the pub we drove on to Fernworthy reservoir and our intended walk for the day.

The first car parks were packed ( summer and school holiday season but once we'd driven to the furthermost car park we had it pretty much to ourselves.

This is a pretty little circle surrounded by confer woods so the original setting would have been very different. It's not on it's own though....

An avenue of stones leads off between the trees. The grass is a bit long but you can see some of them here.

Looking back along the avenue towards the circle. There are plenty of rocks around outside the obvious features so it's hard to tell at this time of year which ( if any) are significant.

Monday, 19 August 2013

St Nectans Glen ( a day late...)

Sorry about that  - I'm blaming the stress of going back to work after a week off for the migraine...

We've just got back from a few days in Cornwall so here are a few of the pictures I tool in St Nectan's Glen. This is close to Tintagel and is reputed to be where St Nectan set up his hermitage. Actually it is of course a lot older than that but has been "Christianised".  It was a bit overcast when we visited which was a shame.

It is a beautiful glen. It's also become very commecialised  and leaflets are available in all the tourist information offices. What they don't tell you is that it is quite a steep and rough walk from the car park ( full, we had to park much further down the main road and walk back) and takes a good 20 minutes. Not a problem for me but we saw several groups set out for it and few seemed to actually get there.
They are also very coy about the entrance charge  ( £4.50) which isn't spelt out  until you have walked nearly all the way up!

It is apparently a tradition to build "fairy castles" with stones from the river bed. Some were simple piles of stones...

 ....whilst others were quite elaborate.

Not sure they add anything to the natural beauty of the glen but a good spate of rain will  wash them away so no harm done.

 So we paid our £4.50 to go into the waterfall. There is a little shop and cafe at the top. We declined the opportunity to buy "wish ribbons" - 50p for a thin one and £1 for a thick one. They were a couple of inches of brightly coloured polyester and I was starting to have a foreboding of what we might find....

The waterfall itself  is quite magnificent.

and my fears were realised. Almost every tree near by was festooned in non biodegradable ribbon.

in every direction....

Rhododendrons too.

Not sure what this is all about either. Fortunately these seemed confined to a couple of stumps rather than rammed into living trees.

Somewhat disappointed with the state of the glen we climbed back up to look for the remains of "St Nectan's Hermitage". This is probably much later though than the time of the saint. We found it hidden under the shop building.

It's supposed to be a quiet place for meditation. I found the mish mash of "stuff" far too unsettling to want to spend more than a few minutes in there. 

We left the glen (or the shrine to neo pagan tat that it has become) and headed down to St Ives.

However the glen did have the last laugh. On the way back home 3 days later, I consulted the gazetteer and decided to pay a visit to Rocky Valley.

This was lovely. We parked on the roadside and set off down a pretty stream in search of the two carved labyrinths that are reputed to be early Bronze age; later scholarship has them as probably more medieval.

There are two clearly carved in the rock face and unconfirmed rumours of a third which is badly worn and may indeed be earlier.
They are next to the ruins of a building. And a cold damp, dark and dismal place it must have been. This carving was running with water. 

The trees nearby were also decorated with ribbons and some traditional cotton  rags but nowhere near to the extent we'd seen at St Nectan's.

Following the stream down to the sea we spent a while just admiring the view

Climbing back up we returned to the car. Somehow the car park looked familiar and the penny dropped. We were parked in the same place where we'd left the car 3 days earlier to climb up the Glen and we'd just walked  the bottom half of it....

I know which part I prefer.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

St Nectan's Glen

Migraine strikes - going to be tomorrow I'm afraid.....

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Down at Brean Down

Brean Down - a spit of land about 1.5 miles long extending into the Môr Hafren (or the  Bristol Channel to the English). It was a bright and sunny day but windy. It always seems to be windy on the Somerset coast. Popular with holiday makers it is surrounded by caravan parks but few seem to make it up onto the Down - well it is a steep climb up and did I mention it is windy?

A hawthorn tree on the top of the Down, sculpted by the wind.

It's an outcrop of the Mendip Hills and made of the same carboniferous limestone. Its a Site of Special Scientific Interest and also a scheduled ancient monument.

We were lucky enough to have an expert guide with us to point out some of the special features of this unusual piece of land.

 First on the beach itself - this is Reindeer Rift. It's a deep fissure in the rock and gets its name from the remains found there dating from the Ice Age. Also found were giant deer, arctic fox, aurochs,bison, mammoth, wolves and lemmings

The views from the top are stunning. we turned right first and walked along to the end overlooking the River Yeo and the seaside town of Weston Super Mare.

Retracing our steps and continuing on out to sea, we came across the remains of the Iron Age fort, now just a series of ditches and earth workings.

This was constructed about 300BCE but there is evidence of land use on the down since around 2000BCE.

 Well I don't need to say what this is do I? It's obvious- Well if you are an expert maybe!. This little stony feature is actually a recently recognised iron age kist. This is where having an expert guide pays dividends.
 Another feature that you'd have to know was there. This is the remains of a Roman temple. It is not known to whom it was dedicated but a lead curse tablet found on the beach invokes a form of Latin that implies that the temple was dedicated to a Goddess.

 Right at the very end is evidence of a much more modern use of the natural pier - a ruined Victorian fort which was the setting for Dion Fortune's novel, The Sea Priestess. The fort was decommissioned in 1900 following a fatal explosion and had a period of use as a cafe.

The out break of WW2 saw it brought back into use as a testing station for secret weapons. The old Victorian barracks have now been made safe for visitors to wander around and traces of its WW2 identity remain in the fireplaces and the remains of the brown and cream paint of that era.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Rain Rain go away ( Bodmin Part 3)

Well I guess the run of nice weather had to end sooner rather than later.

It was a busy day yesterday at the iron age day at the Cotswold Farm Park and I was tired.  So no trip out today; instead a blitz of housework and some craft projects started.

However I have some pictures taken near Bodmin that I didn't have space for last week so here they are.

 Firstly then King Donierts stone and the Other Half Stone. These are the remains of two Celtic crosses that must have been impressive in their time.

 and the inscription which reads "doniert rogavit pro anima". This translates as “Doniert begs prayers for the sake of his soul”

Here we have the Long Stone. Another menhir near to the other two stones. It looks like a much older standing stone  that has been "christianised" by the carving of a Celtic cross at the top. As it is fairly close to the Hurlers that would seem a reasonable assumption.

 Finally St Cleer's holy well. This was formerly a bowssening pool where those considered insane would be immersed to cure them of their affliction ( yes I had to google bowssening as well).

It's a beautiful little building but right on the road and rather overshadowed by modern development around it - we drove straight past it the first time

No chance of any bowssening nowadays. Not that I'd fancy it - the water looked very unappealing.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...