If you think that Stonehenge is the only collection of ancient stones in the UK, you would be surprised to find that Cornwall has quite a few. These are remnants of people who have inhabited the region from as early as 20,000 years ago during the early Stone Age.
Back then, the ancients loved building monuments and West Cornwall and Bodmin Moor is full of them. Some believe they were part of burial rites while others think they were guides to the stars. If you are looking for a different adventure during your next Cornish holiday, you can track these down and marvel at how our ancestors from tens of thousands of years ago erected these stone monuments.
This is without a doubt the most interesting and easiest to identify, thanks to the round stone with a hole that looks like a donut. With this stone are 2 upright stones on each side that look like pillars and one similar pillar nearby that has fallen down. These stones near Madron and Penzance have been carbon-dated to the Neolithic period but many believe that the stones have been moved from their original positions since then.
These stones near Penzance are believed to have been erected around 3000 years before Christ (BC). Archeologists believe they were important in the death rites of the tribes back then, maybe even being a burial chamber that used to be covered in soil. Unfortunately, a lightning struck the structure over 200 years ago, which is why it was rebuilt in 1815.
Carn Euny Fogou
Dated back to the Iron Age, this structure in Sancreed was a fogou or an underground chamber. The roof is also made of huge stone pieces and there is a corridor on one side that has a circular chamber. Because of the massiveness and the complexity of the structure, experts believe that these underground chambers were highly important to the people of the time.
These are the remains of possibly the oldest street in England. Nowadays, there are still traces of 8 stone homes that are believed to be the homes of the Dumonii tribe about 2000 years in the past. The original thatched roofs are now gone but the walls are still standing strong. Located in Newmill near St Ives in West Cornwall. For more information visit English heritage.
The Pipers of Boleigh
These 2 menhirs are the tallest that can be found in Cornwall, with one about 15 feet tall and the other 13 feet tall. The Pipers of Boleigh can be found in St Buryan, to the south west of Penzance. The belief is that the stones used to be pipers who were turned into stone because they played music on the Sabbath day.
Found near Blisland on Bodmin Moor, this collection of stones form the perfect circle, which is not a common trait. Despite their remoteness, it is well worth the travel because of its special characteristic.
More easily known as the “giant’s house”, this is the biggest and most preserved quoit in Cornwall. It is also an engineering feat due to the huge capstone over the 2 internal chambers. On the corner of the capstone is an interesting circular hole as well. It is well worth travelling to see this ancient monument near St Cleer and Liskeard.
Merry Maidens of Boleigh
These 19 stones are the most popular in Cornwall, and they form an almost perfect circle as well as being regularly spaced. Legend states that they used to be a group of little girls who were turned into stone to punish them for their Sabbath day dancing. Visit these stones just off the main road through the village of Boleigh in West Cornwall.
Rock Up and Enjoy Ancient Cornish Monuments
Visiting these monuments remind you that these areas have been populated from tens of thousands of years ago. Moreover, despite the lack of modern tools, people back then managed to haul these huge rocks to create their formations. Now, if that does not inspire respect and awe, wait until you see them yourself.