Searle’s Down

View from north west (Scale 1m).

Location

England     Cornwall     Bodmin Moor     SX 1769 7109     Lat 50.51112565     Long -4.57266007

Plan of the northern length of Searle’s Down stone row (Source: Survey at 1:100 by Sandy Gerrard, Janet Daynes and Gordon Fisher).

Characteristics

Type: Single Length: 296m
No. of stones: 71 Size of stones: Only small
Tallest stone: 0.2m Shortest stone: 0.05m
Orientation: 157.5° Altitude: 244m
Upper end: Pillar Lower end: –
Straight (Yes or No)  : ? Sea View: No
Context:  Cairns

Notes: Truncated by tin openwork. Survives mainly within Colliford Lake Reservoir. The stones within the row are described by Peter Herring as “tiny. None of the toppled ones, whose greatest dimensions can be measured, is longer than 0.5m, and no standing stone rises more than 0.2m (8 inches) above the rabby subsoil into which they are set. Seven are less than 0.1m high, and the average height is a mere 0.107m (4 inches); if we factor in an inch or two for washed away topsoil then we must imagine the stones barely breaking the surface.”

Other Information

Public Access:  Yes. But rarely accessible.
Land Status:
Scheduled Ancient Monument: No

Identification

Category: Probable. A small degree of uncertainty is inevitable because so much of the row is likely to be below Colliford Reservoir and therefore not available for assessment.  Its length is based on the assumption that the row led to cairn CRIVA excavated by Frances Griffith.

Photographs

The row includes only tiny stones which would have barely protruded through the surface in prehistoric times. Looking south along the row (Scale 1m).

View from the north (Scale 1m).

View from north (Scale 1m).

View from west (Scale 1m).

The stones nearest the reservoir. View from north west (Scale 1m).

Landscape Context

View from the row looking north east. The prominent cairns on the top of Brown Gelly appear on the skyline. This type of visual relationship is likely to have been of significance to the row builders.

The prominent hill known as Brown Willy comes into view at the northern end of the row. It is likely that the hill was also originally visible from the southern end of the row. In common with many rows this one appears to have been positioned to provide specific visual links to the landscape.

Access Information

Most of the row is unavailable for inspection. The only part that is visible when the reservoir is not full is at SX17548 71361. parking is available at SX 17572 70965. From here walk north along the edge of the reservoir.

Online Resources 

Historic Environment Record

Other References

Griffith, F., 1984, “Archaeological Investigations at Colliford Reservoir, Bodmin Moor, 1977-78”, Cornish Archaeology, 49-140.

Herring, P., 2013, “Searle’s Down – A newly discovered stone row” In Meyn Mamvro, No. 80, 16-17.

Acknowledgements

I am very grateful to Cheryl Straffon for bringing this stone row to my attention and providing me with a copy of the published article and to Gordon Fisher and Janet Daynes for help with the survey.

 

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