Merry Maidens

Nestled in the picturesque countryside of Cornwall, the Merry Maidens stone circle captivates visitors with its ancient allure and mystical tales.

As one of the few perfectly preserved Neolithic stone circles in Cornwall, this historic monument offers a unique glimpse into Britain’s prehistoric past.

This guide delves into the enchanting world of the Merry Maidens, providing everything you need to know for an unforgettable visit.

Introduction to the Merry Maidens

The Merry Maidens, also known as Dawn’s Men (a likely corruption of the Cornish “Dans Maen” or “Stone Dance”), consists of nineteen granite stones arranged in a perfect circle.

Legend has it that these stones are the petrified remains of young maidens who were turned to stone as punishment for dancing on the Sabbath.

This lore, combined with the site’s natural beauty and historical significance, makes the Merry Maidens a must-visit for anyone exploring Cornwall.

Why Visit the Merry Maidens?

Historical Significance: Immerse yourself in the Neolithic period with a visit to one of Cornwall’s most intact stone circles.

Myth and Legend: The folklore surrounding the Merry Maidens adds a layer of mystery to your visit.

Photographic Opportunities: The circle offers stunning photographic moments, especially at dawn and dusk.

Peaceful Setting: Located in the tranquil Cornish countryside, it’s an ideal spot for contemplation and connection with nature.

Planning Your Visit

Best Time to Visit

Early Morning or Late Afternoon: Avoid the crowds and capture the best light for photography.

Summer Solstice: Experience the magic of the longest day of the year, a time of celebration and folklore.

Getting There

By Car: The Merry Maidens are accessible via the B3315, with parking available in a small lay-by near the site.

Public Transport: Public transport options are limited; however, local bus services may get you close, requiring a short walk.

Visitor Tips

Respect the Site: Remember, the Merry Maidens are a protected monument. Avoid climbing on the stones or causing damage.

Wear Appropriate Footwear: The surrounding area can be uneven and muddy; sturdy shoes are recommended.

Check the Weather: Being an outdoor site, your experience can be significantly influenced by the weather.

Exploring the Merry Maidens

The Stone Circle

Walk the Perimeter: Take a leisurely walk around the circle to appreciate its symmetry and construction.

Photography: Capture the essence of the site, keeping the rule of thirds in mind for stunning compositions.

Nearby Attractions

Complement your visit to the Merry Maidens with these nearby historical sites:

The Pipers: Two standing stones believed to be the petrified remains of the musicians who played for the maidens.

Tregiffian Burial Chamber: A short walk from the circle, this ancient tomb adds depth to your historical exploration.

Local Amenities and Accommodation

While the immediate area around the Merry Maidens is rural and relatively undeveloped, the nearby town of Penzance offers a range of accommodation and dining options:

Local B&Bs and Guesthouses: Experience Cornish hospitality by staying in a local bed and breakfast.

Farm Shops and Cafés: Enjoy locally sourced Cornish produce at nearby farm shops and cafés.

Opening Hours and Website

The Merry Maidens stone circle is accessible throughout the year and does not have specific opening hours.

As an open historical site, it can be visited freely.

For the most current information, visitor guidelines, and any potential restrictions, it’s a good practice to check the official website or local tourism boards before your visit.

Conclusion: A Journey Back in Time

A visit to the Merry Maidens offers more than just a walk around an ancient stone circle; it’s a journey back in time, a connection to the myths and legends of Cornwall, and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Cornish countryside.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of folklore, or simply in search of picturesque landscapes, the Merry Maidens await to share their timeless story.

Plan your visit to this mystical site and experience the magic of Cornwall’s heritage.