Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks, walking the Stone Rows and Stone Circles of Dartmoor
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Dartmoor Site: Fernworthy Stone Circle

Fernworthy Ceremonial Complex

This site is featured on the Warren House Inn: Fernworthy and Grey Wethers walk. The photos are of the Fernworthy Stone Circle (SX65488411 Butler Vol. 2. Map 35, 15). The Fernworthy circle is part of a group of ceremonial monuments including 3 stone rows and 5 cairns that may once have rivalled Merrivale and Shovel Down as ceremonial centres. The site is in a small clearing in Fernworthy Forest off the path from the reservoir to Teignhead Farm.

The moneuments at Froggymead, as the area was known in the nineteenth century were documented by early anitquaries such as Omerod. In the 1890s the Dartmoor Exploration Committee carried out excavations on some of the stone circle and some of the cairns. At this time the site was still on open moorland. The area was not afforested until the middle of the twentieth century and as with the Bellever plantation (see also coverage on the Lakehead Hill page) the result was pretty disasterous for the archaeology. The Fernworthy stone circle and the Assycombe stone row were left in small clearings but the rows and cairns near the stone circle had trees planted within them that caused much damage.

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Falcon Fernworthy Stone Circle

Photo: Falcon, T.A., Dartmoor Illustrated, (1900) p. 25

The circle is remarkably intact with all but 2 stones still in their original places. The circle is thought to date from 4000 years ago, it is 20m in diameter and consists of 27 small stones. The stone rows and cairns probably came later and surround the site. The circle was excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1897. They found that the interior of the circle was covered in a layer of charcoal suggesting that it had been the scene of very many fires - perhaps funeral pyres or feasts. This set of photos concludes with a couple of nice shots from within Fernworthy Forrest, the first is the view to the east on the way to Fernworthy.

These photos were taken on the 14th June 2009.

See also:

Bibliography & references

Butler, J. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Vol. 2. - The North (Devon Books, 1991)

View from Chagford Common nr. Fernworthy
Fernworthy Stone Circle
Fernworthy Stone Circle
Fernworthy Stone Circle
Fernworthy Stone Circle
Fernworthy Stone Circle
Fernworthy Forest
Fernworthy Forest

Page last updated 5/8/11