Merry maidens stone circle

Merry Maidens 01The Merry Maidens, in the parish of St Buryan, is probably Cornwall’s most famous stone circle. It is also its best, being a circle of 19 stones up to 1.5m (4.5ft) tall arranged in a perfect circle.

The story is familiar. Nineteen maidens were caught dancing on the sabbath and were turned to stone. Their fiddler ran off and reached a neighbouring field. The pipers were clearly faster runners for they got as far as a couple of fields away, and there they stand to this day, strangely out of sight from the Maidens.

Merry Maidens 02Close by are burial mounds, notably the much earlier Neolithic barrow of Tregiffian which had a road driven through the middle of it.

The Merry Maidens are dated to around 2,500 BC, the early Bronze Age.

The best time to visit is, of course, at one of the solstices.