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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Danger -- magic stone collectors at work.........



I have sent this statement to Phil Bennett at Pembs Coast National Park, in response to a note from him about concerns expressed by the PCNPA Rangers who keep an eye on Preseli.  Phil plans to use this and other statements from interested parties (including Geoff Wainwright) in order to try and stop the stone collecting activities of people who should know better........

It appears that in recent months more and more walkers who have been following the "Golden Road" route along the crest of Mynydd Preseli have been stopping off at Carn Menyn (Carn Meini) and chipping off bits of spotted dolerite as keepsakes or momentos of their visit.  Personally, I am also concerned that some people might have been taking away samples of rock for use in the manufacture of jewellery which is then sold via web sites on the grounds that the bluestones have magical or healing properties.  One web site advertises "Preseli bluestone" as having "a powerfully magic aura, giving focus, stability and anchoring into the Earth's energy"  -- and it claims that its stones have all come from "the type locality" on Preseli.  Another site says: "Now you can own a piece of genuine Stonehenge stone taken from its original source in the Preseli Hills."  Yet another site sells small broken lumps of spotted dolerite for £50 on the basis that they have healing properties.  Spotted dolerite jewellery is even sold in the gift shop of the Stonehenge Visitor Centre!  So it appears that there is quite deliberate commercial exploitation going on, with esoteric web sites directing people towards Carn Menyn and entrepreneurs actually taking away stones from the crags for use in their business enterprises.  This is illegal, since the crags lie within an SSSI.

Whatever one might think about the healing or magical properties of spotted dolerite, I am mystified by the focus on Carn Menyn.  It has been claimed in the past as the site of a "Stonehenge bluestone quarry" -- although that claim is now hotly disputed in academic circles.  The spotted dolerite at Carn Menyn is no more beautiful and exotic than the spotted dolerite seen in scores of other sites throughout eastern Preseli.  As far as I am concerned, we have at Carn Menyn  a group of very beautiful dolerite crags, affected by ice and frost action, which tell us a good deal about the landscape history of the area and which contribute hugely to the beauty and special character of the mountain landscape.  There is no reason at all why anybody would wish to chip off lumps of rock from these crags and take them away, doing severe damage to the landscape, since identical spotted dolerites are found abundantly in all of the hedgerows and gardens of the countryside to the south of the hills.  There are a good many to the north as well.  So my message to those who want to go rock-hunting at Carn Menyn is this: "Please leave the rocks alone and leave the landscape as you found it.  And if you are really desperate for a piece of spotted dolerite, get it (with permission) from a farmed landscape well away from the hills, from a location where boulders and stones are being cleared from fields."

5 comments:

chris johnson said...

Perhaps the candle workshop could sell some suitably sourced spotted dolerite at rock bottom prices to take the air out of the market and bring some new punters in for the real stuff.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes, our garden is full of wonderful boulders -- rhyolites, dolerites, gabbros, ashes and a lot more bedsides. A quarrying license will be issued to the highest bidder -- and there's no need for sledges, rollers, wedges, levers or anything else. Too good an opportunity to miss......

chris johnson said...

Wouldn't it be fun if one or more of them matched the Stonehenge debris.

TonyH said...

"Other blue stones are available". Go to the Derbyshire Peak District and the Blue John Cavern and mines.

Helen said...

Seems like your message got through!

Via The Telegraph (18 February):

"Stonehenge tourist bosses demand visitors stop chipping stones and selling them on eBay"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/12164042/Stonehenge-tourist-bosses-demand-visitors-stop-chipping-stones-and-selling-them-on-eBay.html

The article even quotes Mr Bennett - although this quote (from the piece itself) seems to suggest the transport theory is still alive and well:

"The stones were cut from rock and transported 160 miles to Stonehenge on Salisbury Plane to form the iconic circle around 5,000 years ago still stands today."

(Spelling/grammar mistakes as posted)