Sunday, 30 October 2011

Outing to Down Tor Stone Row

A Sunday excursion to the stone row, a whole day before, according to the Photographers Ephemera, the row is aligned with the setting sun. Technical considerations mean that this isn't necessarily the purpose. Anyway, for those present, here's the photos.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

On the edge

Coming back from the Plym valley, where I failed to make it to Plym Head, the rain stopped and the air cleared for a view off the edge of the moor. Producing the following images. The first two shots include a view of Sheepstor, the second as the main element. It's quite possible that this outcrop will feature in the upcoming film of Warhorse - or they might just plonk a CGI shot of somewhere else.

Although the photos don't quite do it justice, I'd like to assert that the track you can see was literally flowing with water. An extra stream, if another was needed, coming off Dartmoor.

Monday, 24 October 2011


The tawny owl is out again
Harboured in the oak
High in the canopy.
Hooty calls returned
From along the field boundary.

Leaving safe harbour
He pitches forward
Soft feathers cutting clean.
Silently descending
To deliver crushing death.
Completing one circle
Opening another.

I catch the riddle,
Without solving it.
Hear the hidden meaning,
Without understanding it.
But he knows the purpose
Hers as his own.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Full Tension

When did it begin?
Did you notice it?
That weight on the soul
Tied down and left to drag.

Ropes at full tension
Pulling all your disappointments
Trailing after you
Bringing all motion to an end.

Confused you turn
To count them
Listing them all
Putting them in order.

Concentrating on the task
Of testing every rope
Checking the tension
Twanging every strand.

Who will create the slack
Turn your head from the past
And pull you forward again?

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Ditsworthy Again

Hesitantly we trace the barbed perimeter
Stepping around the black earth
Avoiding the sinking depths
Establishing ourselves on Edwards Path.
North of Gutter Tor
Above the mire
The path bends east and south
Converging with a blasted track
To meet up at Warren House.
Round the rise of Eastern Tor
Leaping across the stream
Emerging from Drizzle Comb
And on to the slope
Where the diverging lines appear.
Nervously the landscape reveals its secrets
Shy at first
Perhaps embarrassed at what they did
But strengthening
Proud of her achievements
Giving the topographic gifts
To the ancient stone splitters.

Friday, 14 October 2011


Standing alone as seasons pass,
proud against a bleak horizon,
steadfast before the deluge.
Island of stone within a moat of tears

Four-field face,
directional but unturning.
Casting a shadow
the only moving part

Placid, tranquil, accepting.
Open, waiting and fluid.
Floating, partly sunk,
buoyant on the sea lawn.

Numbered stones
Directional points
Antiquarian eagerness
Millenial origins

Prostrate and revealing
alabaster reclining.
The circle can be entered
from any direction

Standing erect,
looming over the cleansing circle,
the shadow reaches out
but never makes contact.


In a chemical reaction
of chlorophyll degradation,
The Goddess tires of growth,
adding yellow and ochre
to smother her pallet of greens.

Oak and beech,
Ash and birch,
the foliage loses its tinge,
taking on the stark flash
of Autumn

A transition of life-giving leaves,
to a morbid crunch
and a display of unintended colour.
Yellow to reds and browns,
lacking real purpose,
creating a psychotic vista.

A promise of death,
the spectre of decay,
withdrawing the living sap;
protection against
the harsh embrace
of Winter.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Drizzle Combe

One of the most spectacular antiquities on Dartmoor, Drizzle Combe, or Ditsworthy Warren as it's also called, boasts a collection of three stone rows each terminated by sizable menhirs at the south western end and cist burials at the north eastern. The site sits on the downward slope of Higher Hartor Tor with the Plym Valley failing away to the east. Above the stone rows are four enclosed settlements and around it are numerous burial sites including the Giants Basin Cairn.

Utilising a bit of software I recently discovered on the net, I can say with confidence that all three stone rows don't quite line up with the sunset position on the shortest day. At least not as the sun set would appear on a flat horizon. Given a viewing angle standing on each of the cist burials and aligning with the sun setting behind Eastern Tor may, however, provide a better alignment on that day.

There is, or at least there was today, a certain atmosphere around the site. Perhaps this was aided by the low clouds and consequent mist, but there was a definite sense of melancholy.

With the help of a willing aid, you get a sense of the enormity.

A place to visit again.