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25th April 2017 | Regional News

Cornwall’s Ancient Stone Circles

Cornwall has been inhabited since the early Stone Age, around 20,000 years ago, and evidence of its early settlers can still be seen throughout the Cornish landscape. Today, the countryside is still scattered with historic stone circles and other prehistoric monuments, which give us a glimpse into Cornwall’s past.

Most of these sites date back to the Bronze Age, and many questions remain about the people who built them – and why. Many historians believe they were either created for ceremonial purposes, or they were arranged to align with the stars and planets. It’s the mystery that surrounds these locations that make them a fascinating place to visit today.

From the stone circles of Bodmin Moor to a historic Iron Age settlement, we’ve unearthed the most fascinating ancient wonders for you to discover on your next holiday in Cornwall.

Hurlers Stone Circles

Bodmin Moor is one of the most mysterious and beautiful places in Britain, and is home to some of the most ancient sites in the country. Around 150 prehistoric stone circles have been discovered in England, and 16 of these sites can be found on Bodmin Moor.

The Hurlers Stone Circles are three stone circles arranged in a line, thought to date back to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age period. The stones are said to give off a powerful energy, and people still speculate as to why they were created. Whilst you’re exploring this historic landscape, it’s also worth paying a visit to some of the other ancient sites on Bodmin Moor too.

Only 10 minutes away from The Hurlers you’ll find King Doniert’s Stone Circle. This monument consists of two intricately carved pieces of a 9th century cross, with an inscription that commemorates Dungarth – an early king of South West Britain, who died around 875 AD.

Also nearby is the fascinating Trethevy Quoit. This well-preserved Neolithic burial chamber consists of five standing stones, with a huge capstone roof. If you’re staying at Looe Bay Holiday Park, all three sites can be found within a 25 minute drive, so it’s the perfect location to explore some of the ancient treasures of Cornwall.


Video sourced from SparkoRC

Mên-an-Tol

Under an hour from Sea Acres Holiday Park, nestled in the beautiful Cornish countryside, you’ll find the majestic Mên-an-Tol. The monument is made up of two standing stones and one large circular stone with a hollow centre.

There are many unanswered questions surrounding Mên-an-Tol, including why it was created and for what purpose. There’s also a wealth of folklore surrounding the site, and the circular stone is thought to possess healing qualities. Part of a wider historic landscape, it’s possible to explore another two of Cornwall’s ancient sites on a gentle one hour walk from Mên-an-Tor.

Wander across the scenic countryside to discover the Nine Maidens. This monument consists of nine stones which form a row. They seem to head towards a single stone, known as The Fiddler, which stands around half a mile away.

There are two theories behind the purpose of stone rows. The first theory is they are believed to mark out processional routes because they usually lead towards a larger stone or a burial mound. The second theory is the stones represent how long a community lived in the area, with each new generation adding their own stone.

On the way, you’ll pass by the amazing Lanyon Quoit, one of Cornwall’s most recognisable and significant ancient sites. Situated in the beautiful, open landscape, the Lanyon Quoit was created between 3500 and 2500 BC. Soak up the dramatic views of the area, and imagine how different the surrounding countryside would have looked all those years ago.


Video sourced from Cornish Stargazer

Stannon Stone Circle

Bodmin Moor is a beautiful place to visit, not only for the dramatic views and spectacular scenery, but because of the high concentration of interesting historic sites that can be found scattered across the moorland. As well as the Stannon Stone Circle, several other ancient sites can be reached within 30 minutes’ drive of St Miniver Holiday Park – so it’s the perfect place for you to visit several of these locations in one day.

The Stannon Circle consists of a ring of around 70 stones, 40 of which are still standing. Perched on Dinnever Hill, the circle can be reached on a walk across the beautiful moorland. It has been suggested that the site was possibly aligned with Rough Tor, the second highest point in Cornwall, to mark the sunrise at certain times of the year.

Under 30 minutes away from the Stannon Circle, you’ll find the historic Trippet Stones. Surrounded by the stunning countryside of the moors, the stones form one of the most perfectly round circles in Cornwall.

Also nearby is the remarkable King Arthur’s Hall, an obscure rectangular stone enclosure, measuring around 20 meters wide and 40 meters long. The age and purpose of King Arthur’s Hall is unknown. Although most archaeologists believe it dates from Neolithic times, and must have had a ceremonial purpose, the area remains shrouded in mystery. There are numerous other stone circles, hut circles, and ancient cairns in the surrounding area too, which can be reached on various walking routes across the scenic moorland.


Video sourced from Matthew Roy

Merry Maidens Stone Circle

The Merry Maidens Stone Circle, which dates from between 2500 and 1500 BC, is one of the most well-known ancient sites in Cornwall. Surrounded by amazing scenery, it lies close to several other ancient sites in the beautiful Cornish landscape and is renowned for its beauty.

The Merry Maidens consist of 19 evenly spaced stones in an almost perfect circle. It’s believed to be the best-preserved stone circle in Cornwall. The stones got their name from a local legend that says they were once ladies, turned to stone for dancing on a Sunday. Two other nearby stones, known as The Pipers, are said to have been the musicians that played for the girls.

Near to the coast, there are several other ancient sites close to the Merry Maidens which are well worth visiting – and all can be found under an hour from Mullion Holiday Park. Discover the Tregiffian Burial Chamber, an ancient tomb with a walled and roofed entrance passage, leading to a central chamber. Created in the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age period, it’s thought to have also been a shrine where religious ceremonies and rituals took place, as well as a location for burials.

A 20 minute drive away from the Merry Maidens, discover the Iron Age village of Carn Euny, one of the best-preserved ancient villages in South West England. Occupied from the Iron Age until the late Roman period, wander around the foundations of stone houses dating from the 2nd to 4th centuries AD. At the centre of the village, head underground and explore the mysterious Fogou, a stone-walled passage found only in the far West of Cornwall.


Video sourced from Mark Thomas

Have you visited any fascinating ancient sites in Cornwall? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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