Originally West Penwith had around 200 menhirs, of which about half survive today. A good many that are gone have been verified by fieldwork and studying records. Every few years a new menhir is found and re-erected.
Menhirs are important, though they can be regarded as secondary ancient sites. That is, they exist to support and enhance the power of other sites.
They have a variety of purposes. Some mark minor energy points; some act as relay menhirs on longer alignments (Carfury, Boswens and many others); some are proxy menhirs for larger sites such as stone circles (The Pipers and the Boskednan menhir); some fulfil a role in the visual landscape of other sites (such as the menhir on Watch Croft); and some are terminal menhirs (where energy-lines terminate).
Menhirs can therefore be looked on as connector points enhancing the wider megalithic system of Penwith. They play a possible role in climate regulation, frequently being plugged into underground water vortices, acting as heaven-earth conductors, thus easing and regulating charge potentials between earth and sky.
They are often but not always intervisible - especially in the south of the peninsula. It could be that the menhirs of the south were erected in a relatively short time, since they integrate into a multiplex, interdependent system which the megalith-builders probably wanted to activate as a whole, using menhirs as 'acupuncture needles'.
The Pipers NE menhir. You can see Carn Galva and Watch Croft in the background. This is one of two, or possibly three, menhirs that act as proxy menhirs for the nearby Merry Maidens stone circle. Proxies collect and distribute energy for the stone circle complex as a whole
Boswens menhir, a good example of a proxy menhir - it collects and distributes energy for the Tregeseal stone circle complex. It's also a relay menhir, as well as being astronomically positioned, as seen from Tregeseal. Interestingly, when it snows, the green area around the menhir remains free of snow - it's literally a hotspot
Trevean 1 menhir, near Carn Lês Boel. This is a newly discovered propped menhir. It aligns with several interesting sites -and that's how it was verified as a genuine menhir. I decided not to disturb the bull, and it decided not to disturb me
This is the gap under the propped menhir at Trevean 1, Roskestal. It is propped up on four stones. The reason why is difficult to tell. There's a similar propped menhir not far away at the gateway to Carn Lês Boel
This bronze age menhir at Bosiliack has had a hedge (wall) built around it - this is not uncommon. The hedge itself is centuries old, but only about one fifth the age of the menhir
One of the Boscawen Rôs double menhirs. The Merry Maidens had two pairs of double menhirs, the Pipers and Boscawen Rôs, on opposite sides of the circle, and these pairs are aligned with each other through the circle. The Boscawen Rôs menhirs are an example of terminal menhirs, where alignments end
Cosmic energy of two kinds. Boswens menhir is on the side of Dry Carn, on top of which is a major air traffic control beacon communicating with transatlantic aircraft. Where truly lies the power? One thing is likely: the menhir preceded the beacon and will outlast it. It will probably be happier without it - after all, it was there first
There's an amazing variety to menhirs' shapes, yet all of them are clearly carefully chosen and quarried. Most come from local sources but, tons heavy, they still had to be transported 1-5 miles and kept intact.
About 30% of a menhir's length is socketed in the land. Dowsers often observe a seven-spiral helix of energy up a menhir, with five of the spirals above ground.
The newly discovered Seal Stone at Bosistow, pointing toward nearby seal caves between Carn Barra and Carn Lês Boel
Carfury menhir, rather hidden away on the side of a hill at Bosiliack, yet it holds a key position as a hub in the overall Penwith energy system. It also marks the southern end of the complex of sites around the Nine Maidens and Carn Galva
Carfury is a major relay menhir with lots of alignments going through it. It might have been one of a double set of menhirs - that's uncertain. It has a view of distant St Michael's Mount, with Cudden Point and the Lizard behind.
Menhirs acted as subtle energy transducers, horizontally across the land and vertically between earth and sky. They would moderate energy surges, reducing extremes of weather and energy-weather to aid fertility and affect the climate. Sustainability-enhancers acting through subtle energy charges, they were a key element in the bronze age extrapolation of Penwith's sacred sites into a peninsula-wide system.
Boscawen menhir, near Boscawen-ûn stone circle - part of the stone circle's constellation or complex of sites
Mên Scryfa, an inscribed stone usually ascribed to the late iron age, but it looks and behaves like a classic bronze age menhir and it sits quite centrally and strategically in the complex of sites around Carn Galva and the Nine Maidens. Carn Galva is behind
The recently re-erected menhir on Carn Eanes above Boscaswell, pinpoint-located by dowser Hamish Miller
These are at Faugan Round. Generally regarded as a gateway at the round, and coming from the iron age, they resemble bronze age double menhirs. There are no other iron age menhirs like this
The Pipers menhirs - the largest surviving menhirs in Cornwall. Part of the Merry Maidens complex. The further, NE Piper, seems to take alignments from further afield while the nearer, SW menhir, seems mostly to take internal alignments within the Merry Maidens complex
The Watch Croft menhir - the highest menhir in Penwith. My friend is standing on the stony summit cairn on Watch Croft. This menhir is built to be seen from the Nine Maidens and Mên an Tol
Gûn Rith, a menhir close to the Merry Maidens. An internal alignment within the complex goes from this menhir through the Merry Maidens to the now-destroyed Tregurnow stone circle
The newly re-erected menhir close to Treryn Dinas. It sits on two major alignments, pre-existing the rediscovery and re-erection of this menhir - these verified that it nwas genuine and placed correctly
Not all menhirs are menhirs. Despite its excellent view of St Michael's Mount, this is a cattle rubbing stone. Usually these are cow-height, while menhirs are either higher or lower than this
Beware of cattle rubbing stones! In some parts of Penwith (such as around Lanyon Quoit) they are quite common, often in the middle of fields, and they are not menhirs. Menhirs are usually higher or lower than rubbing stones (usually roughly cow-height). Rubbing stones are not on alignments and usually they have no dowsable subtle energy.