Last month saw a large group of TDs on open moorland, in full view of the public, in the blazing sunshine, on a site thoroughly pre-dowsed and archeologically examined. Talk about chalk and cheese! March found a small band of us in a neglected pine forest in the pouring rain, with barely a smidgeon of information as to what we were dowsing - and with even the Archaeology Department of Cornwall reduced to describing the few visible mounds in the sketchiest of manners. It had been difficult enough for Allan to discover the owners of the site, to obtain permission for us to gain entry - and even then he'd had to enlist his grandson to strim away enough of the brambles to enable us to reach it at all!
So, real cutting edge stuff. Slightly surreal, but seriously interesting.
As soon as we reached the woodland, the canopy of pine provided a welcome umbrella. Our first feeling was not the sterile, sombre, even sinister, ambience of a typical conifer forest - but a light, airy and very welcoming sensation, which stayed with us all morning.
In typical fashion the TDs scattered themselves across the site, looking for energies of all types, previous uses and dates of building and occupation.
The truly enigmatic Berry Down earthworks seem to be partly a natural high point and partly a man-made defensive site. The comfortable feeling appeared to be due
largely to the fact that the site did not dowse
to having suffered any hostile attack. The still visible embankments seemedto have been constructed around 3300 BCE, but the actual permanent occupation of the area did not occur until well after that date. This implies that the promontory had been a beacon or marker site, long before its use as a residential encampment. Although we could not see anything beyond the trees around us, it was clear from the remarkable number of ley lines that this had been a significant nodal point at some stage.
In a recent BSD journal, it was reported that some defensive locations have an energy line along the edge of the main earthwork - presumably to make the defenders seem more numerous or larger than life. I was able to verify that this embankment does indeed possess such a line. It was interesting to note that the energy dowsed to being 'natural' - and did not seem to have been placed on the edge of the mound at a later date. When occupation did take place, it spanned several hundred years, probably in a number of phases - with up to twenty 'huts' built on the mound. The sites of the homes of senior members of the occupying clan were noted for us by Larry & Jen, together with a former well location.
It was interesting to note that some of the hut locations were in places where trees had not grown. It seems inconceivable that the heedless foresters of the 50's or 60's, who had planted the serried ranks of fir straight across an evident archaeological site, would have left these specific places on purpose - so perhaps something more subtle was at work here. In a similar vein, Ruth discovered a substantial ancient willow, long since overwhelmed by the power of the overgrown, and very acidic, pines - but still a striking natural statue amongst the surrounding uniformity. This tree had survived well beyond any rational expectation - perhaps because it stood squarely in the centre of a huge energy spiral marking the heart of the wood. Having spent a most enjoyable couple of hours, ankle deep in pine needles and with our heads full of miscellaneous energies, we retired to the home of Allan & Peggy Bennett for refreshment.
We thought we had finished dowsing for the day, but no - their bungalow was full of positive energies, and the rods came out again. Allan & Peggy are talented artists in many mediums, from excellent traditional paintings on canvas, through beautiful pottery to sensational sculptures made from junk recovered from the nearby recycling depot. It is not surprising that such intuitive people would choose such an inspirational site, albeit cloaked in a very standard 1970s shell.
The garden, too, was full of surprises, with giant vibrant fruit trees leaning across water lines - and smaller bushes, full of life and vigour as they stood astride the various energy sources. We were even able to dowse an 'invisible' parish boundary that crosses the end of the garden.
Many thanks indeed to Allan (and his grandson) for their hard work, maps and general preparation - and to Peggy for rustling up some very welcome refreshments for a group of somewhat dishevelled dowsers.
Yet another unexpected gem for the TDs to revisit!