Last Photographed: Tuesday 19th July 2005
The Devil's Arrows are believed to date somewhere from 2000BC-1500BC. They're often referred to as an alignment, but do not in fact form a straight row. Given the level of sophistication of the megalith builders, it can only be assumed that this is intentional.
There were at least four stones at this site originally - we know this since records indicate that one was broken up to build a bridge in the middle ages. It's believed there may have been another though, bringing the total up to five. Of the three remaining stones, the largest is seven metres high, making it one of the tallest surviving megaliths in Britain.
The stones are made of millstone grit, thought to have been quarried six miles away. The grooved effect at the top of the stone is commonly attributed to weathering, but some believe the embellishment is intentional. I'm inclined towards the latter theory.
As a visitor, you will immediately be struck by the size of these menhirs. These are big stones. Very, very big stones. The larger stones are both taller than the combined height of three men. And it's easy to see how they earned their name - looking for all the world as though they've just fallen from the sky in a row, planting themselves nose first in the ground. Putting aside that fanciful theory, it's a real challenge to imagine how they were transported here and erected.
Despite the proximity of the A1, this is still a surprisingly pleasant location to visit. The stones are a powerful presence and dominate the field with a quiet authority. Approaching them through the corn can be a bit of a challenge, but when we visited a pathway had already been trampled. In fact, it looked suspiciously like there was the remains of a crop circle here - although the only recorded one that I could find was from 2003. Without the an existing pathway, I doubt that the stones could be approached without causing damage to the crop - which I would strongly discourage. It may be possible to reach them by skirting the edge of the field, but failing that, I'd advise delaying your visit until after the harvest.
Close up, even in their impoverished setting, these stones still offer a humbling experience. They inspire a quiet introspection that's curiously at odds with the noise from the nearby traffic. The lack of easy accessibility provides a mini-adventure that makes for a more memorable visit.