Tolborough Tor

Looking north west along the row. The nearby cairn restricts views towards the north and creates a spectacular reveal involving Rough Tor (Scale 1m).

A single stone row measuring 11.2m long, including at least five small and medium-sized stones situated on the summit of a prominent hill. The row is orientated south east to north west and leads from a substantial cairn. There is a noteworthy landscape reveal at the south eastern end of the row where Rough Tor suddenly appears from behind the large cairn.


England     Cornwall     Bodmin Moor     SX 1754 7787     Lat 50.57200   Long -4.578091

Map showing the location of Tolborough Tor stone row.

Plan of Tolborough stone row (Source: Johnson and Rose, 1994, 39).


Type: Single Length: 11.2m
No. of stones: 5 Size of stones: Small and medium
Orientation: 127° Altitude: 344m
Upper end: Cairn Lower end: –
Straight (Yes or No)  : Sea View: Yes
Context:  –

Other Information

Public Access:  Yes
Land Status: AONB
Scheduled Ancient Monument: No


Category: Plausible.  No doubts have been expressed regarding the prehistoric interpretion of this row.


This stone row is of Type S1. Information on this form of stone row and other rows of this type is available here.


Looking south east along the row from the Tolborough Tor cairn. The ranging rod denotes the south eastern end of the row (Scale 1m).

View from the west. The ranging rod denotes the south eastern end of the row (Scale 1m).

Tolborough Tor cairn and the two north western stones. View from south east.

Individual Stones

Plan of Tolborough Tor stone row showing the position of the numbered stones shown below.

Stone 1

Stone 1 measures 0.49m long by 0.32m wide and stands up to 0.33m high. The stone is orientated at 175°. View from south west (Scale 1m).

Stone 2

Stone 2 measures 0.53m long by 0.24m wide and stands up to 0.30m high. The stone is orientated at 150°. View from east (Scale 1m).

Stone 3

Stone 3 measures 0.68m long by 0.15m wide and stands up to 0.18m high. The stone is orientated at 130°. View from west (Scale 1m).

Stone 4

Stone 4 measures 0.63m long by 0.20m wide and stands up to 0.24m high. The stone is orientated at 135°. View from south east (Scale 1m).

View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 5

Stone 5 measures 0.56m long by 0.40m wide and stands up to 0.28m high. The stone is orientated at 95°. View from south east (Scale 1m).

Landscape Reveal

A remarkable landscape reveal exists at Tolborough Tor and it appears to have been “manufactured” using the cairn to restrict views to the north. Along the entire length of the row Rough Tor is hidden from view and appears only at the south eastern end sandwiched between the prominent hill known as Brown Willy and the cairn.  This feels very deliberate and is further evidence for stone rows being positioned to provide precise visual links with significant places in the landscape.

At the south eastern end of the row Rough Tor is suddenly revealed. Elsewhere along the row it is hidden behind the cairn.

Brown Gelly

Brown Gelly seems to have formed a focus for the stone rows on Bodmin Moor.  The cairns on the top of the hill appear on the skyline from the Tolborough Tor stone row. The water in the foreground forms part of the modern Colliford Reservoir. It is not impossible that there was a lake at this point in prehistoric times but the area was turned over in the historic period for tin and this will have inevitably altered the character of the area.

Access Information

Limited car parking is available at SX 18124 78224. From here walk westward following a track to SX 17716 78136. Then head up the hill. The row is best visited in the spring before the stones disappear below fresh rush growth.

Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     Modern Antiquarian     PastScape     Historic Environment Record

Other References

Burl, A., 1993, From Carnac to Callanish – The prehistoric rows and avenues of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press, New York and London, pg. 214.

Johnson, N. and Rose, P., 1994, Bodmin Moor – An archaeological survey Volume 1: The human landscape to c 1800, English Heritage and RCHME, pg. 39.


VISITED:- 23rd June 2017 and 3rd May 2018

FIRST PUBLISHED:- 29th January 2016

LAST UPDATED:- 9th March 2019

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