Photographer's Note

If you walk out of Belstone village on the western side, go through the gate and out on to the moor, then make your way towards Belstone Tor. Near the base of the Tor you will see a stone circle or cairn erected to surround a round burial barrow from the Bronze Age, or kistvaen, as they are named on Dartmoor. On the Ordnance Survey Map the stone circle appears as Nine Stones, but it is more widely known as The Nine Maidens.

A nineteenth century rambler, Samuel Rowe, gives this brief description of the Nine Stones in "A Perambulation of the Ancient and Royal Forest of Dartmoor and the Venville Precincts" dated 1848. His chosen approach to Belstone Tor was from the East Okement valley to the west:
... we shall mount the steep ascent towards Belstone Tor, and within a quarter of a mile, on its western slope, we shall observe the circle called in the neighbourhood Nine Stones, but which in reality consists of seventeen stones, erect, the highest of which is not more than two feet and a half from the ground.
Present day stone counters reckon there to be just sixteen stones, though The Book of Belstone ups the tally to 20 if we include 'small stones and five toppled or insecure temporary ones'. Issue 61 of Notes and Queries published in 1850 reminds us of the propensity of the stones to dance, according to legend.
The stone circles on Dartmoor, are said to have been made "when there were wolves on the hills, and winged serpents in the low lands." On the side of Belstone Tor, near Oakhampton, is a small grave circle called "Nine Stones." It is said to dance every day at noon.

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Additional Photos by Leslie Bennett (williewhistler) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1247 W: 41 N: 2372] (16606)
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