Bronze Age Stone Circle
Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon OS Map Ref SX65488412
OS Maps - Landranger 191 (Okehampton & North Dartmoor), Explorer OL28 (Dartmoor)
Fernworthy Circle looking north through the entrance - the northern stones row is through the gap in the trees
Fernworthy, or Froggymead as it is sometimes known, is a fine Bronze Age circle of 27 granite slabs and blocks that stand in a clearing on a plateau of land within a Forestry Commission plantation about half a mile west of Fernworthy reservoir. A pair of tiny stones mark a southern entrance and are flanked by larger stones (the tallest being about 1.1 metres in height) that decrease in size as they curve round to the north forming a ring of about 20 metres in diameter that is slightly flattened to the east and west. The circle was excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1897 who reported a layer of charcoal within the circle but no other finds. The black and white photo below left was taken 10 years later and shows just how much the modern plantation blocks any views of the surrounding landscape - in fact the photo reminds me very much of the nearby Grey Wethers double circle just over a mile to the southwest.
There are three stone rows associated with the circle, one to the north, and a pair to the south. The southern pair are badly damaged but each consisted of a double row of stones, one with a battered ring cairn at its northern end and the other marked with a cairn to one end and a cist 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 about half a dozen kerb stones. This cairn was found to contain a bronze knife, flint knife, beaker and a shale button.