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Photographs taken around mid-winter solstice (21st December), Spring equinox (21st March) and Summer solstice (21st June) - summarising the Merrivale solar calendar in six photographs. 


Other pages relating to this page .....

DPA Short Walk at Merrivale on 25th February 2017 - CLICK HERE

Photographs taken around the winter solstice etc. - CLICK HERE

Explanation about the how the stone rows work as a sun calendar - CLICK HERE


The principle of the Merrivale stone rows functioning as an ancient sun calendar

Figure redrawn with additional information from Jack Walker's Dartmoor Sun (2005), page 103Halsgrove Publishing.  Ignore the matchstick figures, they are to do with shadow casting -  the opposite to direct observation which can be helpful in some situations.

The photographs below have been digitally edited to best show relevant features that are otherwise difficult to see.


Midwinter sunrise

Photo taken 3rd January 2017.

Looking from North row East blocking stone towards the South row East blocking stone. The far row's "normal" stones can be seen extending to the right.

The "v" marker points to the far blocking stone, 14 days after the solstice .....


As previous photograph, closer view. A fair alignment at this date?  The opposite view works for midsummer sunset.



Midwinter sunset

Photo taken 28th December 2016, 7seven days after the solstice.

Looking from North row, West "blocking" stone towards South row West blocking stones. Pew Tor is seen on the horizon, to the right.


As previous photograph, closer view. A perfect alignment at this date? 

The opposite view should work for midsummer sunrise - just be here before 5.04 am.  I haven't been.



Spring equinox sunrise

Photo taken 21st March 2017, on the morning of the equinox.

Looking from North row West "blocking" stone towards South row East blocking stone. The sun is not well-imaged but the central brightness in the eastern sky seems to align with the stones. Some minutes later the sun was lost in a fast-moving cloud layer.



Midsummer sunset

Photo taken 20th June 2017.

Looking from South row East end towards North row East end.  The far blocking stone is seen projecting above the near blocking stone.  On this date, the day before the actual solstice date, the alignment with the setting sun is not perfect with the blocking stones, but it is only two stones adrift in the far row and it would have moved further right the following day.      


They say the proof of the pudding etc. etc. An amazing indication of the sun calendar functionality of the Merrivale stone rows is how neatly it performs when put to the test using the online program Suncalc.  The hyperlink here is set for midsummer sunset at Merrivale. It is based on the moment of sunset, standing at the North row East blocking stone - it casts its shadow directly at the South row East blocking stone. This works in reverse for midwinter sunrise. Try the solstices and equinoxes!











All photographs on this web site are copyright © Keith Ryan.
All rights reserved - please email for permissions