The Hurlers Stone Circles
OS Grid ref:- SX259714
Prehistoric remains litter atmospheric and windswept Bodmin Moor.
The three stone circles known as the Hurlers stands on the edge of Bodmin Moor, approximately four miles south of Liskeard , by the village of Minions. They are believed to date from the Bronze Age. Many have speculated on the purpose of the circles from astronomical clock to a ritual meeting place. Multiple stone circles are not uncommon in the south-west area of England.
The circles stand in a high moorland pass, between the slopes of Stowe's Hill or Stowe's Pound, an ancient hill top settlement to the north, and Caradon Hill to the south. The site is strategically placed between the tributaries of the River Fowey to the west and the River Lynher.
The Hurlers is one of the largest prehistoric sites in England. The three stone circles stand close together and all in a line running NNE to SSW.
The circles vary in size from 105 feet to 135 feet across. The largest is the central circle, which is oval in shape, with a diameter of 41.8 by 40.5metres (137 x 132feet) and consists of 14 stones.
The southern circle is the smaller but more complete, although some stones are missing, the other two circles have been restored. The central circle consists of 14 stones. The northern circle now has 15 stones, although it once had 24.
Two standing stones known locally as 'the Pipers' which stand approximately 120 metres to the West of the main circle.
Legend states that the Hurlers are the forms of men turned to stone for playing the game of hurlers on the Sabbath. The historian William Camden wrote in 1610:-
'The neighbouring inhabitants terme them Hurlers, as being by devout and godly error perswaded that they had been men sometime transformed into stones, for profaning the Lord's Day with hurling the ball'
A line drawn through the centres of the circles points to Rillaton Barrow, a large prehistoric burial mound, which stands five hundred metres north-northeast of the Hurlers. The barrow consists of a mound of stone and earth that has a diameter of over 35 metres and stands over 2.5 metres high. In 1837 and a gold, corrugated cup, now known as the Rillaton Cup, and a bronze dagger were excavated from the barrow. The cup, which is believed to date from 2000-1500BC, is now kept in the British Museum. A replica of the cup may be seen in the Royal Cornwall Museum at Truro.
To reach the circle, from Liskeard take the B3254 north and continue as far as Upton Cross. Then turn left and head for Minions. There is a car park in the village, from which the stones are a short walk.