Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Sacred Stones and Magic Places

I walked with the kids this afternoon, up to one of my favourite places. Out in the middle of the forestry is a really unusual archeological 'find'. Instead of the usual iron age hut circles, or stone rings, which litter the landscape, this, in a little clearing almost buried under heather and whortleberry is a what looks like a double line of stones defining a track which leads to what looks like a collapsed mound at the top of the hill. At the bottom of the track, a large stone marks the end. The track is about 1 metre wide, and 145 paces to the top, where there are some larger fallen stones (about 1 1/2 metres high, which look as if they were an entrance to the mound). The mound is slightly dome shaped, and caved in slightly at the centre. I
have no idea how high it was when built, or if it was a covered structure, or open. The first time I found it, I thought it was made up of concentric rings of stone, but since then I think it looks more like an inward spiral of stones( or walls defining a spiral path to the centre). It is the most beautiful spot, reached by a narrow, steep track through the trees. A place for quiet contemplation, and imaginations to run away. Whose feet have walked that track in the past? In celebration? In grief? On an inner journey? Or something much more prosaic than that? I wish I knew. I'm sure it must have been researched and documented once, before being turned over as a forestry plantation, but I cant find it. If anyone knows about the iron age remains in Fernworthy, please help me!

I thought an aerial map might give me a clearer picture, but it is not a high enough resoloution to see the details of the mound at the top ( the circle near the bottom left of the stone rows is particularly large solitary hut circle). I was surprised to see just how clearly this stands out, from the air - you would never know it was there from the ground.
I couldn't resist a quick photo of the dogs. The one on the left is our girl Magpie, referred to by my husband as 'the anteater' because of her unbelievably long tongue. The other is her son, Jack, who belongs to my mother , but generally hangs out with us when she is busy.

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