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The Hellstone at Portisham

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The Hellstone also known as the Stone of the Dead can be found on Portisham Hill about a mile or so from the Hardy monument. It's quite an impressive dolmen which was constructed around 6 thousand years ago but it probably looked a little different then than it does today as unfortunately it collapsed and was later 'restored' in 1866 and possibly not in its original shape or position.

Local superstition has it that the Hellstone was thrown at Porisham Hill by the devil from Portland but in fact it was created during Neolithic times and was probably a burial chamber which would at the time of construction have been covered in earth and smaller stones to form a barrow.

It is the only known 'complete' Dolmen in Dorset and consists in its present form of nine upright stones topped with a single capstone around 10ft in length. Inside is a small chamber big enough to squeeze 2 or 3 people. Even though the Hellstone is Dorset's only complete Dolmen it's quite hard to find and is not signposted on any of the local paths.

It's a good place to to fit into an afternoons walk around Hardy's monument but also well worth visiting in its own right especially if you're in to mystery and standing stones.

How to find the Hellstone
You need to park in the lay-by on Portisham Hill, as you come down the hill towards Portisham the layby is on your left before the road sign that warns you to change into low gear. There is a stile and footpath sign in the lay-by which points to the hardy monument (1 mile). There is also a small map just in front of the stile which has the Hellstone marked on it.

Follow the foot path straight across the first field, go over the stile into the second field and continue following the footpath. Approx half way along the field look out for a pile of stones which is actually a broken stone stile, go across this and walk up the right hand side of the field (it may not look like it but this is a footpath) and the Hellstone is at the top.

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Ancient Stones of Dorset

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article thumbnailThis book gives a lovingly compiled comprehensive account of standing stones and other sites in Dorset,...

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