I have recently starting posting about John Hayward’s fantastic book Dartmoor 365; the one about Pixies’ Cross can be read here, and the one about Cuckoo Rock can be read here. Dartmoor 365 has a simple concept: the whole of Dartmoor is broken into 365 individual square miles, with Hayward discussing a particular feature in each of the square miles. During the summer of 2021 I have visited many of these square miles, and here is another one that I wish to focus on: the Hingston Hill stone circle. John Hayward refers to the location as ‘Down Tor Row’, but it is not actually sited on Down Tor; although he himself notes how it may be commonly referred as ‘Down Tor Row’.
Hayward comments on this area:
‘The stone row and its associated monuments on this download ridge are definitely one of the “not to be missed” ones on the Moor.’
Tim Sandles on the Legendary Dartmoor website notes how it is ‘one of the more iconic of Dartmoor’s prehistoric ritual features’, continuing: ‘It one expands their focus to the surrounding landscape it soon becomes clear this location held some special significance to those early moorland settlers.’
I enjoyed walking around the stone circle, however, after reading Sandles’ overview I will try to be more careful. He writes on the issue of protecting this feature:
‘Unfortunately today the stone row is becoming the victim of its own popularity as the numbers of visitors trying a touch of ‘phenomenology’ are slowly eroding a pathway alongside the row. In wet weather this becomes muddy and then when drying out begins to shrink causing more erosion. Although the monument is regarded as being under no great threat at the moment the military have excluded activities in the immediate vicinity.
I hope to return to this part of the moor in the months ahead, hopefully using this location as a window in which to delve deeper into the heart of Dartmoor in order to tick off more of Hayward’s 365 squares.