In Cornwall/ Devon

Ley Lines: In Search of the Truth (ley line history & locations)

Brentor Church
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Ever since the first outline for the theory of ley lines came about, there has been speculation as to what they are, and whether thy even exist. Here’s a quick history of ley lines, as well as several locations allegedly located along ley lines.

What are Ley Lines?

First off though, what exactly are ‘ley lines’? Well, in actual fact, there are two meanings of the word. The first, and older meaning refers to ancient alignments and walkways that join Prehistoric sites of interest in England. This description contains neither the suggestion of energy lines nor of anything paranormal.

The second is a much more modern theory and the one that I am going to explore today. The theory was, in actual fact, re-discovered in the 19th century. It suggests that throughout the world, there are hidden energy lines circumventing the globe and directing their power into the earth.

Some people go so far as to suggest that they are the earth and the driving force behind it. Ley lines, song lines, dream paths and energy lines; cultures thought the world have a plethora of names for variations of the ‘ley line’ description. What is truly interesting is that it would seem that almost every culture has a concept of this ‘energy line’.

Just because it is a prevalent idea in the world, is not to say that it is true. It must be said that there is no actual scientific proof that these ‘energy lines’ (and I’m not saying they do or don’t). Whilst electromagnetic equipment can’t pick up any trace of ‘energy’ spikes along these lines, psychics and mediums the world over claim to feel their pull.

In all honesty, the simple truth about ley lines is that the more you read about them, the more elusive they become…

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How did I end up visiting so many ley lines?

My own journey goes a little like this; in my last few weeks in England (before moving to Paris for my year abroad), it turns out that I was subconsciously following the St Michael ley line (or that I was just visiting a few of the most interesting touristic destinations in Devon and Cornwall).

The St Michael’s line is an invisible line drawn across the south of England connecting many historical churches, prehistoric monuments and sites of interest which have an affinity with Saint Michael. Incidentally, the line also aligns with the path of the Sun on the 8th May, the festival of St Michael, maybe there is some truth in all of this after all...

As with everything in life, with the masculine line, comes the feminine line, the somewhat more tenuous ‘Mary Line’. The Mary line is actually of zig-zag form and one of the churches along it was only named as a ‘Mary’ church after the ‘re-discovery’ of the Mary line, it just sounds a little suspicious to me...

The following list of points along the line is the order in which I visited these sites, not the order in which they appear along the line. I didn’t even realise that I was somewhat following the ley line until I was informed by two women at Spinster’s Rock on Dartmoor (more on this later…)

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Brentor, Devon

My first stop on the St Michael ley line was Brentor; home to the church of St Michael de la Rupe (of the rock) built atop an old and extinct volcano. Incomplete iron age earthworks lie at the base of the volcano (fairly rare as normally fortifications were created at the top of a rocky outcrop).

I have always heard romantic tales of Brides having to climb up the tor on their wedding dress fully kitted out for the big ceremony as there is no road leading up to the tor (is this the recipe for romance or a massive dry cleaning bill?). Although the tiny 13th Century church is often mis-sold as ‘the smallest church in England’, it can still only seat a modest 40.

Everyone knows that the devil just loves visiting Devon and so one legend about how the church was built goes like this: There was a merchant sailor who was sailing toward the coast during a terrible storm. The crew informed him that the ship was certain to crash upon the rocks.

Upon hearing this, the sailor threw himself to the deck and begged his patron saint, Michael to save him. Michael saved him and his crew. As thanks, the sailor vowed to build a church at the nearest high point. He proceeded to start the build, using a lot of his wealth to do this.

The devil was angry at being cheated of victims and so attempted to sabotage the build. However, saint Michael came down to the site and threw rocks at the devil, injuring him and forcing him to flee the site, never to return. What surprised me the most about this tor was the fact that there was a small graveyard at the top of the tor. How did the pallbearers manage up this decidedly steep incline?

Read more: Brentor, the church atop of an extinct volcano

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Lydford Castle, Devon

Always one to actively ‘try and get lost’, I decided to take the long route home from Brentor. On my way back, I stumbled upon Lydford and, more specifically, the castle. A false friend if ever I saw one, Lydford Castle was never a castle but actually a prison. Dark and imposing on the surrounding landscape, I could not help but feel sorry for any prisoner whoever had to reside here.

The building you can currently see was built in the 13th century and was used as a prison and courtroom right up until the 19th century when Dartmoor prison was built near Princetown.

Lydford not only lies on the St Michael’s line but also a ‘dark ley line’. Try and try as I may, I have found little out about what a dark ley line is and what constitutes as one.  All I can really say is that many people feel the oppressive and negative energy in this area.

Read more: A guide to visiting Lydford Gorge, Castle & Village

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Spinster’s Rock, Devon

This neolithic monument is literally the reason I have been holding off this blogpost for a while. On my last day before moving to France, I decided that I had to visit St Michael’s Mount (which is where this retrospective journey really began).

I was happily on my way there, driving my car and singing along to Taylor Swift when I came across a wooden sign on the side of the road saying ‘Spinster’s Rock’. Never one to pass up the opportunity to see something new and exciting, I turned into a little country lane, realistically a grass covered track, and parked up by a muddy field.

I then got out of my car and trudged into the field to take some photos (oops I should have worn some trainers!) The monument was originally the entrance site to a burial. Owing to the harsh nature of the acidic soil in the region, the stones are all that remain of this once important monument.

The legend behind the importance of the rocks goes something like this: the rocks had fallen over some time in the 18th century during a particularly harsh and violent storm and so were re-erected by three witches before breakfast one morning.

The stones are now an interesting glimpse into a long forgotten past. I was admiring this feat of engineering (how did the stones get here? how were they erected without modern mechanical equipment) when I started chatting with two women walking their dogs.

They informed me that the rocks were a meeting point. A place where two ley lines crossed and merged, the Michael and Mary lines, the feminine and the masculine. They believed that because of all of the terrible things that humans are doing to the planet, the ley lines often get blocked and their energy trapped. They were, in fact, visiting to unblock the ley line.

As chance would have it, there are three rocks and so I was invited to help them unblock the line. We stood under the rocks, each with our back to one and held hands around a crystal. In all honesty, I’m not sure why I said yes but it seemed like it would be an interesting experience…

Anyway, a few minutes later I asked if we had managed to ‘unblock’ the line and wasn’t really given a clear response. To this day I’m still not sure whether it worked… Both women then wished me a safe journey onwards and told me to enjoy my trip to St Michael’s mount. However, they also said that ‘I should stop off at places that I felt drawn to’.

Read more: Visiting Spinster’s Rock in Dartmoor

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St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

After my somewhat surreal experience at Spinster’s Rock, I carried on my drive to St Michael’s Mount and was blessed a lovely day in the sun (apparently rare in this region of Cornwall). The mount itself is built on a tidal island (that is accessible by foot when the tide is out – just one of five in the UK).

There is evidence, as with every other site I visited on my journey of people residing on the island as early as 4000BCE! The chapel you can see today was originally constructed to mirror it’s Norman (and possibly more impressive) cousin by the very same order or Benedictine monks.

Read more: Tips, tricks & practical advice for visiting St Michael’s Mount

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Carn Brea, Cornwall

Honestly, just like Lydford and Spinster’s Rock, my visit to Carn Brea was purely coincidental and by chance. On my drive back from St Michael’s Mount, I spotted an interesting castle and cross on a hillside, a little way from the dual carriageway.

Thinking back to the women earlier that morning and the way they had said ‘I should visit places I thought were interesting’, I turned off the dual carriageway and spent about half an hour trying to find a footpath to ascend the hill!

Having finally climbed the deceivingly steep hill, I was rewarded with a fantastic view over Redruth basking under the waning sun. I was amazed by Carn Brea castle, a 14th Century hunting lodge (admittedly it underwent a lot of modifications in the 18th century) and now a private restaurant.

Upon my return home, I decided to do a little research into the hunting lodge and its surroundings. It turns out that Carn Brea is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. Dating back over 6000 years, it has a wealth of history and… you guessed it, a 14th Century castle originally constructed as a chapel to St Michael.

Read more: Hiking Carn Brea in Cornwall

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Conclusion: Are Ley Lines Real?

So what exactly is the truth? I honestly don’t know. Are ley lines real? Are ley lines fiction? Maybe it’s a combination of the two? So do I think that these ley lines exist? I’m not sure. The South-West of England is absolutely teeming with historical sites of interest and it would be easy to form a ‘line’,

BUT… there do sure seem to be a lot of ‘happy’ coincidences with the ‘St Michael’ theme. I am also planning on visiting Mont St Michel in Normandy soon (but not because it is on a ley line)… The world works in many mysterious ways and perhaps we will never know the truth. But perhaps that is for the best…

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