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November 2003

The Lost Barns of Darley Ford

How often the outings, from which you expect nothing in particular, turn out to be the best.  This was the day a visit to a barn conversion turned up a gem of a site.
Outstanding November weather and a record turn out of Tamar Dowsers, including several new members, were terrific omens, for what turned out to be a quietly remarkable morning's dowsing.

Bushby Barns, near Darley Ford, are a group of seriously derelict farm buildings, which have a number of architectural elements (especially window and door stonework), which are far too grand to have been built as intended for cowsheds.
They are currently in the process of renovation, which was nice to see in itself.
Jacki had thoughtfully provided us all with plans and a series of prompts, so that we could get the most out of our visit, but we needed little encouragement to explore this site.  It is a location brimming with interest for the Earth Energy dowser, the Information Grid specialist and those of a spiritual inclination.  The ready availability of such diverse, and clearly recognisable, dowsable phenomena, also makes it a super site for the novice - as a couple of the local inhabitants proved.  Perhaps the new owners should consider it as a base for dowsing holidays! You heard it here first!!

There was a general agreement that the buildings were religious and/or monastic in origin, that some of them had been used for housing religious personnel and that the farm had had some connection with the nearby Launceston Priory.
The dating of the construction of the barns was a matter of debate, with many feeling a building date of around the time of the monastic building boom to be appropriate.  Others came up with more recent dates, perhaps due to the re-use of the high-quality building materials in subsequent renovations.  However, the presence of earlier buildings, detected by some, added further interest, and confusion, to this complex picture.

Several of us also sensed occupation by people at various dates - monastic and secular - and even the later use by cattle and horses.

There were energy lines galore - earth energy, water and leys - a few negative patches and a couple of contented ghosts for good measure.

We found the sites of wells, including a potential holy well. We traced energy spirals, including one strangely stretched oval one.  I wondered if this may have been due to the interaction of two energy lines and a ley, although I know others may feel it would be more likely to be due to the angle that the earth energy rises through the ground.   This reopens the whole issue of the source and nature of 'earth' and 'ley' energy.  I will refer this issue to Alan Neal for his consideration and further investigation, when he next gets a 'wet afternoon'.

The one building, which was out of bounds - on grounds of both ownership and real danger of collapse (!) - was dowsed by David Lockwood to be a formerly active religious site, complete with altar, and adjacent to the holy well.  One day, perhaps this could be physically investigated too.

In the field next door, there was dowsable evidence of Royalist activity during the English Civil War, which I understand to accord with historical records.
Despite the presence of an active JCB in the yard next door, having to scramble over piles of rubble on this very operational building site and the frequent shouts of the owners from the on-site caravan during the rugby world cup semi-final, this was a superb dowsing environment.  I am sure we would like to return here from time to time - if we are invited!  

Indeed, there is so much to sense here, that I was dowsed-out by opening time.  We repaired to the Caradon Arms for a full debrief, excellent Sunday lunch and a jar of local ale.  Dowsing at its best - and certainly at its most sociable.

 The Darley Oak - possibly Cornwall's oldest tree

Many thanks to Jacki for organising, Jacki's family for hosting, providing coffee and even an update on the match (saving us from having to dowse the Ether all the way from Australia) - and to Graham Reeder for his subsequent phone call.

Not long after I got home, Graham called me to ask if I had realised that the Michael line ran through Darley Ford. I hadn't.  On consulting the hand-coloured Hamish Miller maps (which were produced in response to dozens of people like myself reading The Sun and the Serpent), I noted that the Michael line itself passes a little to the left of the site, heading south.  However, the Michael & Mary ley, which joins all of the major sites on those energy lines, seems to pass either through the 'civil war' field or perhaps even through the southern edge of the farmyard.

Were there earlier buildings on this part of the farm?  If so, were elements of those buildings reused?  How large is the world of the dowser - answers on a postcard!?

Nigel Twinn
Tamar Dowsers
 November 2003


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