I've lived on or close to Dartmoor for most of my life. Until recently, at the quarter dates of each year I've led outdoor retreat days in one of the most magical sites on the moor, and am gearing myself up to begin these again. (The inner 'territory' of these Ground of Being days are described a little on the Courses page of my main website, but in much more detail on my new website, dedicated to my eco-soul work, thewildways.wordpress.com. You'll probably need to copy and paste that - seems blogger and wordpress don't like each other much!)
Some of these sites appear to be domestic, social or functional in purpose; others are probably ceremonial, as indicated by a stone row, or often a double stone row, leading towards a stone circle and sometimes too a standing stone. There are many theories as to their origin and purpose; I've spoken of some elsewhere and am currently working on a long essay in relation to all this. What's relevant here and now is that there is an almost tangible atmosphere at these places that seems to engender silence and inwardness, and inspires both the imagination and an activation of what we might call soul.
This is no doubt partly due to our knowledge that our ancestors two or three thousand years ago built and used these monuments, and that might have been a continuous process, one way and another, since. But that by no means explains everything a sensitive person might perceive and experience there, or the impact on our imaginations. I wonder sometimes if there is a continuing process of a quality of energy amplified and transmitted by the site, and that our ancestors chose these sites knowing that they were/are places where, as they say, 'the veil is thin', and their stone structures augment this natural flow, rather like acupuncture needles on meridians and nodes of energy; and that our being there, attending to this aspect, also enhances its flow and potency, in a two-way exchange.
Anyway, my retreat days on Dartmoor take place at Merrivale, where one is led down a double stone row (and there is another, less complete, beside it) leading more or less east-west, and then there is a jink through 90 degrees towards the south, towards a small and welcoming little stone circle, which very much radiates qualities of the feminine principle (here I go again!). Just beyond that is a monolith, a menhir (literally 'long stone'), which is quite obviously 'masculine' in its symbolism. Here's a poem from one of those days: