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Stone Circle

Bronze Age 2500 to 800 BC

Stone circles are probably the most dramatic manifestation of the megalithic culture of the late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age.

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Very few are perfectly circular and their function, as expressed in their layout and design and their landscape context, has sparked controversy and debate in recent years.

They are often found in association with other megalithic monuments in 'sacred landscapes' on windswept uplands which may broadly be interpreted as places set aside for the performance of ceremonial and ritual.

Examples to visit

Barrow and statue menhir, St. Martins

In 1948, the Reverand HA Lewis discovered and reported the head of a menhir broken off from its original base near an alleged stone row. Lewis then set the menhir up on a nearby cairn. Over time the menhir was again lost, but was rediscovered in 1988.

The cairn and the menhir are on the eastern headland of St. Martin's overlooking the island of Nornour.

Read about Barrow and statue menhir, St. Martins

Boscawen-ûn

The stone circle at Boscawen-ûn is considered to be one of Cornwall's most popular prehistoric ceremonial centres as well as one of extreme aesthetic beauty. It lies beneath the southern slopes of Creeg Tol near St Buryan.

Read about Boscawen-ûn

Boskednan

Boskednan stone circle is situated in an extensive area of moorland to the south-east of Carn Galver, West Penwith. Although it is also known as the Nine Maidens, the circle now comprises eleven stones, two of which are fallen.

Read about Boskednan

Craddock Moor

Sited in an area of gently sloping rough moorland pasture on Bodmin Moor, the Craddock Moor stone circle consists of sixteen or seventeen stones, all fallen and some broken.

Read about Craddock Moor

Duloe

Nestled unobtrusively in the corner of a field beside a Cornish hedge stands Duloe stone circle, the smallest stone circle in Cornwall. The flat ridge top on which it lies is flanked half a mile to either side by deep valleys containing the Looe and West Looe rivers.

Read about Duloe

Fernacre

Fernacre stone circle is sited on a gentle east facing moorland slope, on Bodmin Moor, surrounded by three hills which mark the cardinal points of the compass, giving the impression that this location was very carefully chosen.

Read about Fernacre

Men-an-Tol

This iconic and highly photogenic site is one of the best known megalithic structures in Britain. The name ‘Men an Tol’ means simply “holed stone” and despite having been considered a significant and popular monument from a very early date, its true purpose remains a mystery.

Read about Men-an-Tol

Merry Maidens

The Merry Maidens is one of the few “true” stone circles in Cornwall, being perfectly circular; it comprises nineteen stones today but is thought to originally have consisted of just eighteen.

Read about Merry Maidens

Stannon

Stannon stone circle is located at the edge of the rolling expanse of Stannon Moor, just above a river valley which marks the upper limit of modern cultivation.

Read about Stannon

The Hurlers

On the gentle south-facing slope of Minions Moor, a landscape heavily scarred by mining and quarrying, stand the three great stone circles known as the Hurlers. Folk tales explain that the stones represent local people turned to stone by a humourless deity for playing the game of Hurling on the Sabbath.

Read about The Hurlers

Tregeseal

The stone circle at Tregeseal now stands alone on the gentle slopes of Truthwall Common to the south of Carn Kenidjack but originally it was part of a ritual complex comprising two and possibly three circles in a roughly east-west alignment.

Read about Tregeseal

Trippet Stones

The stone circle known as the Trippet Stones is an impressive site in open moorland on the lonely expanses of Manor Common in Blisland on Bodmin Moor.

Read about Trippet Stones