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Challacombe Stone Row

Dartmoor

Devon

England, UK.     (Grid Ref: SX689809)

Along the Challacombe Stone Row towards the 'blocking stone.'
Along the Challacombe Stone Row towards the 'blocking stone.'

A triple stone row that was first recorded in 1828 when at the time the stones were said to be laying recumbent upon the ground. In 1893 the antiquaries Sabine Baring-Gould and Robert Burnard re-erected many of the stones in their 'original' locations. Another dozen or so stones were re-erected where they were found outside the stone rows creating a strange open sided rectangle towards the bottom of the slope, these stones perhaps once formed the lower section of the row but were removed by miners digging their open workings. At the time of Baring-Gould's and Burnard's work at the site they recorded 103 stones, today there are said to be just 82 extant today.

 

Field Notes on Challacombe Stone Row: 

Towards the circular wall of Grimspound bronze-age settlement.
Towards the circular wall of Grimspound bronze-age settlement.

We walked up to Chalacombe from the Bronze Age settlement of Grimspound, squinting through strained eyes looking for tell-tale signs of standing stones, hoping they would be prominent and not ankle high and hidden among the brown, dead bracken. Then as we made our way upwards, past grazing ponies, we spotted a single tall stone to the left and then others standing out like rotten teeth against the blue horizon. The row, a triple row of wide female stones and phallic male stones stretches out along the saddle between Challacombe Down and Birch Tor terminating at the southern end against a large triangular blocking stone, perhaps a wider stone, since removed by the nearby mine-working, stood at the northern end? From this saddle amongst these stones you can see Grimspound to the east and the white Warren House Inn to the west. We walked up and down the stone row, was it processional? Why two 'corridors'? Did they act as a boundary marker seperating either side of the downs? It's hard not to relate this feature to Grimspound below and the barrows upon Hamel Down! How visible were these stones to those living around them, were they obscured by bracken; hidden in wooded grove and only ever visited by a select few?! An enchanting mysterious place.

Challacombe Stone Row looking towards Birch Tor. Dartmoor, Devon, England. UK.
Challacombe Stone Row looking towards Birch Tor. Dartmoor, Devon, England. UK.

http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/stone_rows.htm