It was a blustery sunny morning on Tuesday 22nd September 2015 when 12 stalwart DPA members came over the border to join John & Elaine for a walk on Bodmin Moor.

By the track up to the Bearah Common Neolithic Chambered Long Cairn, the hawthorns were draped with the impressive lichen, Usnea articulata (string of sausages lichen).

Bearah Tor Quarry for early morning coffee before heading NW to the Kilmar Range, & eventually the BA cairns

Bearah Tor Quarry for early morning coffee before heading NW to the Kilmar Range, & eventually the BA cairn

The Long Cairn is a rounded trapezoidal platform, about 28 metres by 14.5m, and 5 to 6m at the narrower end. The chamber, though ruined, does not appear to have been robbed.

Passing by the munitions store of Bearah Tor granite quarry, still worked by Piper & Son, whose recent claim to fame was a 12 ton granite monumental landmark on the beach at Hayling Island.

And, so up to the Bearah/Kilmar horse drawn, standard gauge railway, for coffee.  The railway was laid in 1858 to join the Liskeard-Caradon Railway, and hence to the port at Looe.  10,000 tons of granite was sent down from the quarries in the first year.

Lunch stop in the shelter of Kilmar Tor south face

Lunch stop in the shelter of Kilmar Tor south face

The railway closed in 1917, leaving a granite sleepered track to Kilmar Quarry, which then terminated high on the northern edge of the Kilmar Range. From here are beautiful panoramic views to Trewortha farm, a recently ruined reconstructed Bronze Age village, the funerary landscape of Twelve Men’s Moor, and far beyond to Brown Willey and Rough Tor.

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Broom moth caterpillar, in the absence of broom it is found on bracken.

Twelve Men’s Moor, so named in 1285, when the Prior of Launceston Church leased the area to twelve “hardy” farmers to graze their stock.

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A Bodmin Moor cist.

Down the hillside was the notable, complete, kerbed cairn & cist.  Walking east, and then climbing back towards Kilmar Tor, several small platform cairns were noted amongst the bracken and hawthorns, and discussed.  Meanwhile a number of grazing cattle had been interested in our presence, particularly a very large black bull, who unfortunately stood virtually on top of a new found cairn/cist(?) that we wished to study – clearly we’ll have to return!

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A fleur de lis is cut into the rock.

The fleurs de lis were carved in 1864 due to an agreement between the Duchy and the quarry masters to protect the tors. Seventy six fleurs de lis are still visible on Bearah and Kilmar.

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Fleur de lis – close-up.

Finally by Bearah Quarry, several interesting artefacts were seen scattered around, including a fine example of two rows of tare & feathers failing to completely split a large piece of granite.

Example of 'Tare & Feathers' failing to split the granite!

Example of ‘Tare & Feathers’ failing to split the granite!

Lastly, a close-up of the tares and feathers …..

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Abandoned tares and feathers.