Anyone getting lost around the back of Holly Hill near Luddesdowne would be forgiven for thinking they'd accidentally walked through a time warp and ended up in 4000BC.
The idea of a brand new Neolithic 'long barrow' burial chamber might seem like a contradiction in terms, but that's what's just been built at the Lost Village of Dode - where the new 'Holly Barrow' will provide space for around 800 cremated remains.
For Dode's modern day 'guardian' Doug Chapman, it marks the rebirth of Dode, as a fully-functioning spiritual centre, for the first time since its church and village was abandoned during the plague in the 14th Century.
Left derelict the church became a ruin, while the abandoned village was lost in time, remembered only in name as the 'Lost Village of Dode' - that was until Doug found it in 1990, bought the church and restored it as a venue for weddings, pagan handfastings, and birth-related ceremonies.
Since then Dode has gone from strength to strength as an alternative spiritual site but ironically it wasn't until the coronavirus pandemic that Doug got the chance to finally realise his all-round vision for Dode and complete the long barrow in the grounds of the church.
"It was one pandemic that closed Dode but it was another one that allowed us to fully open it again," said Doug this week. "The pandemic closed us down and we found ourselves with nine months of free time. So that allowed us to go back to where Dode was 655 years ago, to offer the three rites of passage."
The new Holly Barrow - built by Paul Mayger, Phil Smith and Rhys Harlin - houses a stone-lined underground 'columbarium', where urns containing the ashes of loved ones can be interred, and stands near Dode's modern henge or stone circle, known as Holly Henge.
The henge and the barrow take their name from the nearby Holly Hill - the name of which is thought to have derived from 'Holy Hill'.
A special blessing ceremony, led by resident celebrant Paul, was held last week to coincide with the spring solstice, and Doug said it was a special moment.
"I felt quite emotional," he said. "I've had Dode for 30 years and each time we've had a big day, such as the first wedding, or when we opened the retreats, the first hand fasting and the first gay wedding - each time I've come away feeling quite elated. This time I felt a bit drained as well.
"I suppose it was having seen it all built in a year."
Doug said he hoped the completion of the site would help Dode become nationally important as a 'nature-based' spiritual centre, while Holly Barrow itself would offer a more attractive alternative to columbariums found at other crematoriums.
"We've got space for 800 urns," he added. "Personally I can't stand crematoriums, I think they're soulless places where you see the first lot going out and the next lot waiting to go in. I find it soul destroying.
"We can provide a personal service for people who have ashes and want somewhere to store them for eternity."
The long barrow consists of a series of underground circular chambers, linked by a dry stone wall entry hall, and its stone portal entrance is aligned to sunrise on Mayday, known as Beltane in Gaelic cultures and by modern day pagans.
Following a service in the church, a smaller ceremony can be undertaken when the urns are placed in their own niche set within the stone-lined walls of the columbarium.
The flint-knapped Dode Church, built in Norman times, served the community until 1367, when the last resident – thought to be a young girl – died of the plague. It then sat empty for more than 600 years, until Doug purchased the site in 1991 and a seven-year programme of conservation and repair began.
In 1998 the first civil wedding took place, followed soon after by 'wiccaning' baby-naming ceremonies.
The first nature-based handfasting ceremony – when couples’ hands are bound by cord to declare there is only one life between them – was held in 2010.
The first 'permanent resident' of the site will be laid to rest in Holly Barrow later this year.
But Dode's guardian wouldn't reveal if he planned to join them one day.
"That would be a secret," said Doug. "My wife and I don't even consider that – we're far too young!"