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This walk: 2015-10-7. Fernworthy Forest, Sittaford Tor, Grey Wethers stone circles, Sittaford Circle.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Ordnance Survey, Six-inch to the mile, 1st edition - 1888-1913 - centred on Grey Wethers.

Where we walked: Google Satellite view of the area - including the GPS track of the walk (compare with the Ordnance Survey map plus track below)

Previous walk in this area: no previous walk in this area with this group but there was a walk to Grey Wethers (on Dartmoor CAM) on 14th Dec. 2007.

 

Gathered at the forest gate on the dge of Fernworthy Forest, at SX 6440 8342.

 

Pixie snot, star jelly or "White stuff" ..... something to do with a female frog's egg-laying system going wrong or regurgitated frog spawn material from a bird or mammal. There is a explanation in aradio interviewrecorded on theBBC Radio 4 : Saving Species programme (from Series 1 Episode 36 broadcast 4 January 2011). 

 

Sitaford Tor, SX 6331 8304, elevation 538 metres (1765 feet).

 

Grey Wethers stone circles, at SX 6387 8314: prior to 1909 and restoration by Burnard, only nine stones stood in the north circle and seven in the south circle. The circles each had thirty stones, arranged with the help of still-remaining packing stones. There arehallow pits within the circles that result from trial excavations by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee of the Devonshire Association. Source: J. Butler (1991), Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities II, The North. 35.16-18 Grey Wethers stone circles, enclosures and cairns (fig. 35.9), pages 164-16.

Zoomed view of the south circle. Link to the Megalithic Portal (the panoramas do not work on the Chrome browser because it does not support Java: Internet Explorer should be alright).

Zoomed view north to Teignhead Farm, at SX 6352 8435, established after 1551 acres were leased from the Duchy in September 1808. The lease allowed for two farms to be established within ten years by enclosing land as fields and newtakes. The second farm was Manga Farm (sometimes known as "Mandles") at  SX 6391 8486, some 630 metres away to the north, on a bearing of 34. A letter from 1877 implies that Manga Farm had been uninhabitable for some time and it was probably never lived in again. Sometime in Sept. 1876, notice to quit was served on George Endacott at Teignhead Farm, and on 25th March 1876 John Gemmell took on the tenancy. He subsequently travelled to Scotland and returned on 27th May 1877 with 1,300 Scottish Blackface sheep, thus introducing them to Dartmoor. The War Department requisitioned the land in November 1942, with it being de-requisitioned in Sep. 1950. Between 1950 and 1984 when the lease ran out, it was not lived in. The roof slates fell in in 1970 and it was demolished in 1971. Manga Farm was in ruins for decades before 1971 but had a squatter who left at the end of February 1988. Source: Elizabeth Stanbrook (1994) Dartmoor Forest Farms, Devon Books, Halsgrove House, Tiverton, pages 11-46. 

 

Closer approach to the northern circle at Grey Wethers (a "wether" is a castrated male sheep).

 

Panorama of the two stone circles at Grey Wethers. Click the image to see a larger version.

 

A detail photograph at Grey Wethers.

 

Looking back while climbing to Sittaford Tor: incongruous visions - Bronze Age stone circles and man on a smartphone!

 

Helping hands over the ladder stile at Sittaford Tor.

Sittaford Tor again.

 

Panorama of Sittaford Circle, at least 4,300 years old (dated by peat analysis of material underneath the stones). The circle consists of thirty markers (as do the Grey Wethers circles) in a ring of 104 ft. diameter. Click on the image to see a larger version.

 

Detail of some of the stones: it has been postulated that the stones may have been deliberately toppled because they all face into the centre of the circle.

 

A leaning stone that may be associated with the circle.

 

Sittaford Tor is conquered .....

 

See?!

 

Returning towards Grey Wethers, this photograph showing somewhat their context in the landscape.

 

Zoomed view.

 

Passing the circles.

 

Walk details

MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.



© Crown copyright and database rights 2015.  Ordnance Survey. Licence number 100047373. Use of this data is subject to terms and conditions.
Also, Copyright © 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.

This walk was reached by driving to the end of the road around Fernworthy Reservoir and parking at the yellow cross symbol on the map.

 

Statistics
Distance - 6.40 km / 3.98 miles.

All photographs on this web site are copyright © 2007-2016 Keith Ryan.
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Sister web sites
Dartmoor Tick Watch
The Cornish Pasty - The Compleat Pastypaedia