This week we explored two stone circles. Boskednan Stone circle sometimes called the “Nine stones of Boskednan” or the Nine Maidens and also the stone Circle of Tregeseal or “Dancing stones”. Both of these circles are set on the Penwith moors – part of the rich unspoilt heathland of West Cornwall.
Two stone circles – twin shadows upon time
The stone circles we see today in West Cornwall are now a mere breathe upon the landscape – a rippling shadow cast over time from the early peoples that once lived and died here.
Each circle that we see now is the merest vestige of once larger arrangements and yet each still holds on to its place in history. Each stone circle has been partly destroyed and restored again. And yet they still stand, quietly waiting – an enigmatic conundrum for us to revisit and explore again set amongst the sweep of heather and gorse land.
Boskednan or the Nine Maidens: – A Bronze age Stone Circle
Although an incomplete circle and heavily restored in places, Boskednan does give a true impression of how all the circles would have looked in the early Bronze Age, set on the windswept down. This circle gives a hint of the time when the great Megalithic arrangements of circles, Menhirs and burial mounds stretched across the landscape dominated only by cairns and flanked by the sea. More info
Boskednan would have originally consisted of up to 22 or 23 stones but today only the nine standing plus two prone stones remain, after years of exploitation by stone splitters, farmers and miners.
A journey to Boskednan
Upon a previous visit to The Nine stones of Boskednan I wrote a September diary for this blog. That day We walked to the Men-an-Tol holed stone across the moorland to Ding Dong but these days Charles’s knee needs a little help so he plotted a route to drive a little closer.
How to find Boskednan (Grid Ref SW434351)
Boskednan can be reached from the Madron to Morvah road From behind Penzance. We turned up through Bone Valley along a narrow road scattered with signs leading to places like Mulfra (with is Quoit,) Bodrifty (with its ruined Iron Age village) and Carfury until we finally reached the hamlet of Boskednan.
We parked under a ruined engine house – I’d like to say it was Ding dong but to be honest it was further along the road! Look out for Bosiliack Farm though – there is a paved track leading on the Ding Dong Mine. From here, we walked a well made stone track up to the moors before turning onto the heath itself
Tregeseal Stone Circle Late Neolithic Early Bronze Age
Tregeseal is bigger and the circle seen today is all that remains of three circles. It is not in such an open location now as Boskednan Stone Circle as it is now set in the corner of Truthwall common with Carn Kenidjack in the distance. It is thought that Truthwall common had many burial mounds below Carn Kenidjack in itself an enclosed place of the ancestors. More info
Tregeseal now consisting of nineteen stones and initially appears to be more complete than Boskednan but really only seven stones remain in their original position. The rest were disturbed by quarrying and it is this excavation that gives the undulating appearance to part of the circle.
Tregeseal is now partly enclosed as farmland rolls up to the very stones themselves. The remains of a second stone circle can be spotted in the enclosing farmland bank to the west.
I touched one of the stones, with its times worn surface flecked with big shards of quartz and felt the warmth of the day held in it. It felt so different to the crisp cool water I felt when visiting another ancient link to our past at Madron Sacred Well.
Finding Tregeseal (Grid Ref SW386323)
From Penzance turn left to Tregeseal just prior to St Just. From the hamlet turn right at the bottom of Nancherrow Hill, follow a surprisingly lush lane for about half a mile. Take a left hand turn and continue for about a mile until you reach a small parking area with a signpost to the circle. Follow the track to a junction – take the left hand fork which goes through a farm, and then on to the moors and to the circle
The last time we walked up on to the Cornish heathland was to visit Chun Castle and Quoit and the weather bleached grasses of winter still lingered. But by August the heathland is spectacularly clothed in purple heathers and well worth planning a walk across just for the view but even better if you find a stone circle.