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“A Days Walk” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Men-an-tol

Near The Madron-Morvah Road, Madron, Penzance, England
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Ranked #2 of 3 things to do in Madron
Attraction details
Swindon, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
59 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“A Days Walk”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2013

This is very hard to find if you are walking from the nine maidens across the moor, but if you are driving then there is a small car park just past the Lanyon Farm tea rooms where you then have to walk up a track looking out for a stile on the right that is marked. The stones themselves are not tall but very interesting to see. If you go back to the track you can either go back the car park or walk a bit further up to see the standing stone in a field on the left that has faint carvings on it. Not far from the farm I first mentioned is the Lanyon Quoit which you can see from the road and I was able to stand under it was that tall.

Visited April 2013
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36 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Atmospheric moorland”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

The Men-an-Tol holed stone is an enigmatic neolithic stone on the West Penwith moors, an open area with a feeling of remoteness and peace. From the road, where parking is available at a layby, it's a ten-minute walk along an ancient stony track whose atmosphere itself takes you back to the past. Further on past the Men-an-Tol is an inscribed stone, Meyn Scryfa, then the Nine Maidens stone circle and the Ding Dong mine engine house remains. One can also climb the outcrop of Carn Galva for a stunning view of the extenisive coast line towards Zennor. Recommended

Visited May 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Falmouth, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
35 attraction reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“celtic cornwall”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013

Beautiful scenery over west cornwall. About quarter of a mile easy walk along a lane to get to men-an-tol. If you park you car at the entrance to the lane be warned as many cars have been broken into there. It's very isolated but full of atmosphere. This area of Cornwall is wild and beautiful.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Unrivalled location”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2012

The walk in the countryside around Men-an-tol and Ding Dong mine is one of all-time favourites. The whole of the West Penwith Coat is stunning. There is not a lot to see, but walking on the moors is always a memorable experience, whatever the weather. Plan a walk anywhere in that area and you will not be disappointed!

Visited January 2012
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Devizes, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
309 reviews 309 reviews
195 attraction reviews
Reviews in 124 cities Reviews in 124 cities
718 helpful votes 718 helpful votes
“Enigmatic stones on a windswept moorland”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

This is probably the most curious of all the Neolithic remains in Cornwall. It is situated close to Men Scryfa, along the same stony track that leads up from the small car park, two miles from the village of Madron. Its precise grid reference is SW 426349. To find it, look for the stone stile on your right about half a mile along the track, cross the stile and Men-an-Tol sits just a hundred yards or so into the field.

The name Men-an-Tol derives straight from the Cornish meaning “stone with a hole” and its various uses have long been a subject for discussion. It could be that the three stones are the remains of a Neolithic burial chamber. The mound would appear to have long-since been removed or weathered away, leaving the stones at either end marking the length of the “barrow” whilst the holed-stone would possibly have been the “doorway” linking the two chambers. The holed stone is known as the “Crick Stone” or “Devil’s Eye” and is aligned exactly with the two outer upright stones.

Other suggestions seem to believe that the stones have always existed above ground and that various rituals were performed using the holed stones. These include sick children being passed naked through the stone three times, after which they were dragged through the grass three times facing the east (at sunrise) in an attempt to cure rickets, measles, tuberculosis and chicken pox. Similarly, it has been said that adults suffering from rheumatism would crawl through the hole nine times facing the sun to cure them of their ailments. It has also been conjectured that young women would pass themselves through the hole in some form of fertility rite, especially if they had just taken up residence with a local man and needed to produce a male offspring.

Other possibilities are that the Men-an-Tol stones were built as an instrument for measuring the May through till August sunrises, and if used in the opposite direction, the February through till November sunsets. Other rituals include a belief that by placing two brass nails across one another within the hole, that the stone would “answer” any question put to it.

Many modern visitors to the stones speak of a feeling of euphoria and contentedness when they have clambered through the hole; maybe these folk are more in touch with the Earth spirits than the rest of us? Recently, and rather strangely, tests with modern radiation equipment have shown that levels of radiation actually within the inner circumference of the hole are twice that found in the immediate background area.

In all likelihood, the real meaning or purpose of Men-an-Tol will never be known. It remains an enigmatic structure that surely will still sit on this secluded spot of Cornish heathland for at least a further 4000 years, tempting amateurs and scholars alike to decipher its significance to the ancient people who constructed it.

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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