Walking in Circles

Exploring England #29

Mention stone circles and most people’s thoughts turn immediately to Stonehenge, the famous prehistoric monument in Wiltshire. Ask about the other thousand or so located in the United Kingdom and they might have difficulty naming any.

Castlerigg Stone Circle was one we hadn’t heard of, and like Ambleside Roman Fort, it was clearly marked on our map of the Lake District. Unlike the fort, it was well signed and easy to find, not far off the A66 between Penrith and Keswick. There was no designated parking so we joined the rest of the afternoon visitors, leaving our car on the side of the narrow lane to walk past lush fields edged by ancient dry stone walls.

Archeologists believe Castlerigg is a Neolithic stone circle, constructed around 3000 BC. Like most other circles its purpose is unknown, but it is thought that the location, in a wide valley surrounded by rugged mountains including Helvellyn and High Seat, was deliberately chosen for its mystical atmosphere.

There is no cost to visit Castlerigg and, once inside the gate, there are no restrictions on accessing the stones. We walked around the circumference of the circle, examining the stones and marvelling at their placement in this remote area. We explored a little further along the valley, wondering about the people who once came here.

Perhaps they followed ancient paths over the hills, coming from their homes to gather for ceremonies or worship.

I was glad I didn’t have to walk that far!

Join Jo for more Monday Walks.

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30 thoughts on “Walking in Circles

  1. What a fabulous setting, Carol! And a luxury to be able to get up close and touch. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Love the second shot especially. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  2. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Belsay Hall and quarry | restlessjo

  3. Love finding other stone circles . . . .Stonehenge is overrated me thinks (but there again I may be saying that as I have to drive past weekly and the traffic jams of people snapping from the car drive me insane!!)

  4. They look like a group of stones that have come together to sit around and have a chat. I wonder what they would talk about? πŸ™‚
    You are right, that I would have had great difficulty in naming many stone circles in the UK. I can name Stonehenge and the Avebury stones, and that’s it!

  5. I had to take a really good look at that second photo, Jo, because I thought at first it was a painting! This place really is magical and mystical xxxx

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