Fernworthy Forest Stone Circle - History and Facts | History Hit

Fernworthy Forest Stone Circle

James Carson

10 Oct 2021

About Fernworthy Forest Stone Circle

Fernworthy Forest Stone Circle, also known as Froggymead, is a Bronze Age stone circle located in central Dartmoor, Devon. Because of its mysterious appearance in a clearing of spruce trees, the stone circle is very popular – and gets some amazing evening light on a clear day.

History of Fernworthy Forest Stone Circle

The Fernworthy Forest Stone Circle is one of many prehistoric sites in the Dartmoor National Park area. stands in a clearing on a plateau of land within a Forestry Commission plantation around half a mile west of Fernworthy reservoir. It is made up of a circle of 27 granite slabs.

It was excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1897 who reported a layer of charcoal within the circle. The charcoal remains which indicate the use of fire suggests that the Fernworthy Forest Stone Circle served a ritualistic purpose.

There are three stone rows associated with the circle. One is to the north, and another pair to the south. The southern pair are badly damaged but each consist of a double row of stones: one with a battered ring cairn at the northern end, and the other marked with a cairn to one end and a cist (rectangular stone grave) to the other.

To the southeast of the circle through a clearing in the trees stands a further cairn that has the remains of a bank and around half a dozen kerb stones. In this cairn a bronze knife, flint knife, beaker, and shale button were found.

Fernworthy Forest Stone Circle Today

In 1917, the Prince of Wales purchased the farm of Fernworthy as part of his Duchy Estate. This coincided with a government initiative to increase timber supplies in the face of World War One, meaning that the site is now heavily forested. Today, the circle therefore does not look as it once would have in terms of its landscape context, but is still thoroughly worth a visit for its stunning scenery and ancient history.

There are a number of other sites we’d recommend you visit when in the area. This includes The Grey Wethers Stone Circles and Fernworthy Assycombe Stone Row, and the Fernworthy Cairn Circle and Cist and Hurston Ridge/Chagford Common Stone Row. It’s also worth visiting the Shovel Down Stone Rows, and the Long Stone and Scorhill Stone Circle. Note that there are some superb remains of round houses on Fernworthy Reservoir Potter’s Walk.

Getting to Fernworthy Forest Stone Circle

To visit, follow the road that skirts Fernworthy Reservoir to its end. There’s a turning area with limited parking available. A forest road runs from the car parking area and splits a couple of hundred yards from the car parking area. Take the left road and very shortly you’ll come to an open area on your right. You’ll see the stone circle in the clearing. Beyond that is a double stone row although it can be difficult to make it out.


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