Dowsing the Hidden Hilltop
Expanding Awareness at Padderbury ‘Fort’
Driving between the high Cornish hedges of the back roads west of the Tamar, you could be forgiven for thinking that you are in some half-forgotten underworld – out of the sight of man, and certainly away from the cool glow of the Michaelmas sun. Yet, just a few yards into an unprepossessing field, we found ourselves on an ancient artificial platform, with a 360° panoramic view of the landscape – and of all the high points that surround it.
Like many of the ‘forts’ of the far south west, Padderbury, on private land just south of Menheniot in east Cornwall, dowses as having been built as a fortified farming community. It was surrounded by a substantial stone and earth bank, with a wooden palisade – intended to keep out unwanted visitors, both unruly human and wild animal. However, it never seems to have suffered any serious conflict, and all those who did die within the circular embankments did so of natural causes – and were subsequently buried in a neat patch just to the north.
Padderbury is unusual in that, despite having such a discreetly prominent topographical position, with stunning views for tens of miles around, it appears to have no internal leys. I couldn’t find one – and I don’t think I was ‘having a bad day in the ether’. However, two leys do run just outside the northern and southern edges of the site. It added a bit more fuel to Billy Gawn’s observation that sites on alignments are deliberately placed in an almost straight line – but not one that is exactly straight, as that would cause the line to fracture, scattering its energy in tiny segments across the countryside.
Peter found that the site had a very interesting small round building, which he dowsed as an ‘observatory’. It certainly has exceptional potential as a practical lookout, but also as a place to contemplate the pollution-free night sky. I was able to add that a number of lines of consciousness (probably lines of sight) are still dowsable, each pointing directly to a significant promontory of the horizon.
Various members of the group picked up the locations of round and rectangular structures, dating from the early Bronze Age through to the Romano-British period. We dowsed animal pens, entrances, middens, walkways and up to 7 wells, dating from various sojourns of the occupation of the settlement.
The presence of so much underground water, probably in an underground dome, naturally gives rise to a huge array of water spirals of varying sizes. The centre (which is off-centre, if you get my drift) hosted the largest such spiral, and also a crossing point of at least three substantial earth energy lines. This would have made it an important sacred site, and may be one of the reasons that the Cornish Gorsedd was once held at Padderbury, almost a century ago.
Crossing energy lines often also produce earth energy phenomena, and Pete found a remarkable feature (which was centred like a Manifestation, but was irregular like a Pictogram). It was large and angular, and we mused that it might even have been an etheric depiction of significant features of the night sky.
With so much available in a limited time, I chose to take the Miller/Gawn route and asked if there was anything else significant for me to find that day. I was taken to a spot close to the south western bank, where I found myself dowsing a pictogram, which reversed its direction several times – a bit like a labyrinth.
While I was trying to make sense of this, Ros came to join me, having asked a similar question. She started with a fairly commonplace floral pattern, but part way through found herself dowsing something much larger and less well defined. It occurred to her that these two patterns were in the same physical space, but were unconnected. She wondered if they could be different aspects of the same energy presence, and received a qualified ‘yes’ to them being of a differential ‘wavelength’ or ‘frequency’. We all struggle to put the non-physical into words intended for other dimensions, but it appeared that what she was actually dowsing was the ‘red’ and ‘orange’ patterns of an ‘energy’ node, which presumably had another five chakra formats ‘above’ it. Suddenly a whole new area of earth energy research has opened up! Are all the energy phenomena that we dowse just one level of a seven-fold output? Answers on a postcard (or should that be an ePostcard?), please.
After a walk round the circumference of this once-impressive gated community, we made it back through the plethora of huge horse-mushrooms (agaricus arvensis, according to the internet) to have a snack lunch by the roadside.
The afternoon was spent in even more unusual surroundings nearby, examining a site in a field that had once appeared on a very old map. It had been depicted as a number of faint circles inside an equally faint boundary, yet today there was nothing – not even a shadow in the grass – to mark its former existence.
We did indeed dowse eight or nine former roundhouses and a boundary wall, which ran along the current hedgebank (it seems remarkable how long-standing these features can remain in the social landscape). The farmstead seems to have been in active use for less than 100 years, perhaps due to its well drying up, and this may also be why its physical remains had all but disappeared from human consciousness by the time the Victorians were first mapping the area in more detail. Nearby, are the remnants of a disused stone quarry, which dowsed as having been in use, intermittently, from the late Iron Age right up to the 1970’s – with some of the output being used in recent centuries for railway ballast.
While the settlement had no obvious outstanding features, it was nonetheless a poignant reminder that a once-thriving community could have drifted to the edge of being invisible to the modern eye – yet, using the dowser’s intuition, it can still have a lot to tell us about our own ancestors.
Many thanks indeed to Neville Wells for organising this field trip – and for negotiating special access for us to these two fascinating sites, which are out of bounds to the general public.
Nigel Twinn Tamar Dowsers