A still, sweltering day on Bodmin Moor is rare enough. To find a new megalith to dowse around is always a delight. To get both in one day takes you into the realm of the improbable - but of course, as dowsers, we are quite used to things like that.
We were invited to visit the agricultural holding of Dominic Fairman, organic farmer, campsite owner and local businessman. While he has an eye for a commercial opportunity, his inclination is always towards the sustainable and the alternative approach to life. He has just about the only commercial website that I know of to give a mention to the visits of those legendary dowsers, Donovan Wilkins (who worked on a borehole for the farm, when Dominic’s father ran the enterprise), and also to my own mentor, Hamish Miller - but more about him later.
South Penquite Farm is private property and, although part of the moorland, it is less trammelled than many of the better-known areas that surround it. It was therefore quite a surprise to find that a site to the south of the farm - almost dismissively labeled ‘Stone’ on the ordnance survey map - is in fact the remnants of a fallen quoit. The ‘stone’ appears to be one of a pair that once held up one end of a massive capstone, which dowsed as having been broken up as building material centuries ago.
Beyond the ‘stone’ are a the remnants of a rough oval of smaller former standing stones, which once enclosed a secluded chamber - plus an irregular pile of infill. Dowsing indicated that the original dolmen marked or attracted energy lines and was an important sighting point. Only later did it become a burial chamber, enclosed by a mound of smaller stones and earth. The outer boundary of the mound was still quite easily dowsable.
Donovan Wilkins had visited the cairn out of interest after completing his water divining work at South Penquite. Hamish Miller had been invited to visit the site of the ‘Stone’ for its own sake. Using the technique that I learnt from Alan Neal, I asked to be shown where Hamish had stood during his visit - at the place where he had said that there was an alignment to the horizon. Sure enough, from that spot the distant hilltop of Rough Tor lines up with both the fallen dolmen and a west-east energy ley. I was a bit surprised to note that the alignment would not appear to have been visible from that place in ancient times, as the dismantled capstone would have obscured the horizon – but, hey, I’m only a little bloke.
A number of straight lines cross the site at, or close to, the remaining standing stone. At least three are ley alignments, as defined by Alfred Watkins, and these date from the Bronze Age or earlier. However, there are a similar number of lines of consciousness, which contain no dowsable earth energy, that have been laid down more recently.
There is a large water spiral over a rising vortex, indicating the presence of a water dome beneath the ground here - together with a number of earth energy spirals and their associated manifestations.
Add these to the leys and you have the recipe for a textbook sacred site.
It is very noticeable that in an area cleared of large rocks in the distant past, there are no big boulders in the hedges of this field. The cairn now stands in splendid isolation on its very significant spot. Dowsing revealed that this was a place of ritual and ceremony, and the remanences of animal pens associated with feasting and/or sacrifice were dowsed at the top of the field. Although there are plenty of trees in this part of the moor, you get the feeling that this was a site to be observed from a distance.
Some of the other sites that we had hoped to visit were the remains of several groups of hut circles. On a preliminary recce, carried out by Gordon Ratcliff and myself, we had been very surprised at the size, number and state of preservation of these ancient villages. However, in the intervening couple of weeks, the rapidly growing bracken had all but obscured them - and we made a mental note to schedule our next visit outside of the peak bracken period! We did reach one example, which served as a template for the group. They are marked on the OS map as ‘field clearance cairns’. This is only partly correct, in that they are large hut circle mounds, into which farmers have dumped quite massive pieces of unwanted field granite. This has left the dowser with a difficult problem, in that the energy lines that would have been present when the huts were inhabited are now overlaid by others, attracted by the substantial lumps of rock. The dwellings dowse as being the homes of individual related families in a collective group, with typically 6-8 people sleeping in each hut when it was in full use.
A short visit was also made to the ‘Storyteller’s Circle’ near to the river. Although the arrangement of three arcs of stone-and-bank benches appear only to be used occasionally, it is interesting to note that the centre of the circle sits on top of a large energy spiral. Whether the circle was dowsed into place, or whether it has attracted the earth energy after its completion, will have to be answered on a subsequent visit.
Our gentle walk across the site also gave Alan Neal the opportunity to demonstrate the phenomenon of ‘Rays of Attraction’ between trees - and in particular between trees of the same genus. This concept gives rise to the theory that trees (and in fact any animate, or even inanimate, entity) are in constant communication with - or at least have a common awareness with - other entities of common heritage. In humans, it is one way of explaining what we know as telepathy - but plants probably call it something else!
Many thanks to Dominic for allowing us access to his fascinating archaeological sites – and to Gordon for setting up this really good field trip. We hope to make a return visit next year, at a time when we can encourage some of the campers to join us in a holiday dowsing foray for rod-wavers of any experience or none.