Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Leskernick stone circles and stone row; and that flock of plover again?

Heading out towards Leskernick Hill along the minor road to Westmoorgate, we were caught up in a torrential downpour, which quickly turned to numbing hail pouring in from the west. The hail stopped us in our tracks, and we turned our backs towards it, taking cover behind a low stone wall.

When the hail stopped we continued through the Westmoorgate and followed the sunken moorland track out on to the open moor, picking up a small stone-made track that headed to Leskernick Farm. As we drew closer to the hill we disturbed a large flock of golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria) foraging trackside - 200-300 hundred birds who rose as one, circled about us momentarily before flying south over Hendra Downs. Given our close proximity to Rough Tor and Brown Willy we couldn't help but wonder if this was the same flock that we had flushed the day previously?

Leskernick Hill contains a large Bronze Age settlement, and adjacent to it a ritual alignment of two stone circles, cairns and a single stone row (Online: Cornwall's Archaeological Heritage 2009) - the latter only one of eight stone rows currently known to Bodmin (Herring P. and Rose P. 2001).

on to the Moor, from Westmoorgate
flock of golden plover, trackside

Having found the first stone circle, with its distinctive central whale back stone, we then struggled to find the nearest end of the stone row. Fishing around in the general area of a small group of what I believed were placed stones. I quickly became frustrated, and decided to follow a hunch headed east across the tinner's stream, and returned to a single stone setting I had accidentally stumbled upon earlier. arely any of this stone was visible, being all but buried in the peat. Assuming this to be part of the row, I then quickly found another stone, and then a third in alignment to them both.

In the meantime, Alison applying the scientific methodology, followed a compass bearing from the stone circle and found a further stone placed on the western side of the tinner's stream. Walking back towards her, I was then able to identify at least seven (probably eight) of the stone placements in the stone row all of which were almost entirely concealed in the ground. This felt like an achievement until a later reading of the Access to Monuments website suggested that there were actually 27 stones up for grabs! The website also suggested strongly that my "placed stones" - were probably part of a cairn that was set within the alignment of the two stone circles. So I guess its all about the research!

stone circle immediately below Leskernick settlement

whale back central stone

Moving on from the stone row we took another bearing, heading south and east - and successfully found the second stone circle.

stone row (partial details)

stone circle (panorama in changing light)


Access to Monuments - Leskernick Hill. [Online], Cornwall's Archaeological Heritage, 2009

Available at:

Herring, P. & Rose, P. 2001, Bodmin Moor's Archaeological Heritage, Cornwall Archaeological Unit, Cornwall County Council

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