One of the DPA’s conservation projects is to uncover a secret, hidden stone row from the Bronze Age, this being approximately 2,500-800 BC, lasting about 1,700 years.

On Monday 14th October a group of volunteers gathered in a small disused quarry car park at Merripit Hill, north-east of Postbridge. After the usual preliminaries, such as sharing out the tools, we tramped up the hill into the somewhat beyond. We headed in the direction of Assycombe Hill, with its trees that are part of Fernworthy Forest. The trek was 1.5 km (or just under a mile). It was not a hard walk because the ground here is good.

A start was made on the work on Thursday 12th October 2012, when we cleared a “runway” of grass and furze on the open moor, locating a fair number of stones and a cairn. This time we were working inside the Stannon newtake (with permission). 

Starting work near the newtake wall, at the top of the slope.

Starting work near the newtake wall, at the top of the slope.

The first part of the work is the probing for and marking of hidden stones using small flags. The next step is to try and uncover the stones by very careful approach with brush-cutters. It is surprising how delicate such a powerful machine can be when handled appropriately. I was told to approach it “like a brain surgeon”. That was funny because I have carried out brain surgery – on anaesthetised fish, a long time ago.

Looking up the slope, to the newtake wall at the top.

Looking up the slope, to the newtake wall at the top – note the red marker flags.

The second photograph (above) shows the trees of Fernworthy Forest peeping over the top of the hill. The row continues for some distance on the other side of the wall towards the trees, where it was cleared on 14th Oct. last year.

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Photograph taken near the end of the work session – resulting in another runway!

The red flags in the photographs mark the positions of the “lost” stones: they have probably sunk into the soft ground over the last two millenia.

The volunteers present were Bill, Bob, Chris, Derek, Elaine & John, Helen, John & Rachel, Keith, Meg, Nigel, Stephanie & Sylvia. Thanks to Rachel for the photographs and to Elaine for the cake: a choice of apple or lemon – I only tried the apple and that was excellent.

Once this ancient archaeological feature is fully uncovered then it will be surveyed to the satisfaction of the National Park Authority.