The wonderful Fernworthy stone circle has been described elsewhere. But this location is so important and packed with prehistory that i felt the better preserved northern stone row deserved a page to itself.
This double row is located just a hundred metres or so N of the circle and runs for another hundred metres in a northerly direction. At its northern end is an overgrown circular mound, perhaps another round barrow. It is more common than not for alignments of stones on Dartmoor to terminate at a burial site. The stones themselves only protrude a few inches from the ground but are regularly spaced and form a dead straight avenue. The southern end of this avenue is not well defined and may have extended closer to the circle itself.
Ian Honeywood has identified dowsable cross-alignments between stones in the circle which extend beyond the circle and align with the two double rows to the N and S.
There is much speculation about the role of these alignments. Recent thinking about "leylines" draws on the idea of spirit paths which are invariably "dead straight". Thus, it is interesting to speculate about the ritual significance of the stone circle, the rows and the burial mounds concentrated in this area. Although the circle is undoubtedly of an earlier construction than the cairns, one could still argue the case of continuous use as a means of connecting the various elements.
Fernworthy is a very important and yet sadly overlooked site. The concentration of elements and their relationship to one another strongly suggests that this was a very important ritual centre, and yet it is often overshadowed by the more visually impressive Grey Wethers stone circle higher on the moor. Sometimes less can be more. With a little imagination and understanding, this complex can come to life in a way that many circles cannot.
|SX 655 842 (191).|
|3½ miles SW of Chagford, 5½ miles W of Moretonhampstead.|
|Not easy to find. Take one of the lanes W from Chagford and follow the signs for Fernworthy Reservoir. Once in the forest drive past the picnic site and follow the road to the end where it opens out into a car park. Leave the car and walk the uphill track to the W. Within ½ mile, a clearing can be seen in the forest to the N. The stone row is a little way past the circle.|