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“Ancient site needs preserving”

Reviewed April 3, 2013

This circle is one of a set which includes Boscawen-un, The merry maidens of Buryan and Tregeseal East in this "Holy land of Stone circles". Please help the CASPN (Cornish Ancient sites protection Network) to preserve the place by following the countryside code and treating it with the respect and veneration it deserves. It is not known what happened to the stones which are missing from the circle. Maybe someday the circle can be restored from the most likely stones lying nearby. In ancient times this circle was in a woodland glade linked by holy paths to the other circles, almost certainly devoted to moon worship and fertility celebrations. This site is not the easiest to locate. You need to know how to use an OS map and compass.

Date of experience: March 2013
3  Thank David R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed October 11, 2012

The Nine Maidens of Boskednan are located some way south of the B3306 and are easiest to access via the unclassified road that runs due south from the B3306 to Gulval, just outside Penzance. They stand on a windswept hillside surrounded by gorse and heather. They are difficult to locate and I have to admit almost giving up trying to find them had it not been for two hikers who steered me in the right direction. Follow the same track as that to find Men Scryfa and continue past the latter for several hundred yards until the track splits two ways. Take the right hand fork which passes through a broken gateway and then climbs uphill seemingly to nowhere in particular, and as you make the summit of the rocky pathway, with the old tin mine to your right, the Maidens are to your left after another three hundred yards. Their exact grid reference is SW 435351.

The Maidens originally consisted of 22 stones although nowadays, just six remain standing with another five in various stages of collapse. In 1754, the stones were recorded by a certain William Borlase who counted 13 stones still upright with a further six lying on the ground. By 1825, further records show that just eight were left standing and three had disappeared completely, in all likeliness having been plundered from the site by local folk to help strengthen their cottages. Very few guide books to West Penwith show or even mention the circle; the signposting is non-existent and they are indeed somewhat remote from the nearest road or village. This does however mean that they are invariably deserted, giving you time to soak up the atmosphere and revel in the solitude.

This stone circle should not be confused with the other "Nine Maidens" which sit further south close to Lamorna Cove.

The circle dates to around 2500BC, with the largest stone standing roughly six feet tall. All are composed of the local grey granite and as such, have withstood the forces of erosion quite well, especially considering their exposed position. The tallest remaining stone sits in the north-north-east corner, adjacent to a relatively recently fallen neighbour. These two stones align precisely with the summit of Carn Galver, some way distant although it is unclear if this was a deliberate or purely accidental alignment.

The circle is surrounded by barrows and one of these has undergone careful excavation to reveal a “cist” or stone burial chamber. The reason for the stones is unclear; to mark a large burial ground, as an astronomical alignment to predict the changing seasons, for ceremonial rituals or purely for decorative purposes, no-one is certain to this day. Assuming that you have stopped to admire Men Scryfa on the walk up to the stones, it is possible to view the former from the north-west corner of the circle.

Again, with nothing more than an isolated farm some half a mile back down the track, and at least a mile and a half to the nearest village, the Nine Maidens certainly rate amongst the remotest of Cornwall’s stone circles.

Date of experience: July 2012
12  Thank Graham B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 26, 2017 via mobile
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Date of experience: August 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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