The Bonnet Stone

The Bonnet Stone, or Bunnet Stane, is made of grey sandstone laid down as desert sand dunes in the late-Devonian age, 410-353 million years ago, when this part of the Earth lay close to the Equator. You can detect layers in the stone arranged at different angles to the horizontal, a feature known as dune-bedding. This is the result of the dunes migrating downwind with sand tipping over the edge to form a slope. The orientation of this slope changed with the direction of the wind. Shaped by erosion to look like a giant mushroom, the Bonnet Stone takes the form of an elevated table of rock perched on a thin column. On the east side of this outcrop there is a cave known as the β€œMaiden’s Bower.” Local lore tells us that it was a trysting place for a young lady and her lover. The maiden eventually lived in the cave, refusing to return home after her young man was killed by her father’s henchmen. The cave appears to have been carved out by human hand and most likely was used as a bothy by local farm workers. Those who cut it out may well have taken advantage of a pre-existing natural crack or fault in the rock.