Castlerigg is the location of a magnificent stone circle, just outside of Keswick, which attracts thousands of visitors every year, yet its origins remain shrouded in mystery.
There are over 50 stone circles in Cumbria but the famous circle at Castlerigg is one of the best known and also the oldest stone circle in Britain. Castlerigg was built around 3,200 BC in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze-Age.
There are many myths about the origins of the circle and we can see that stones within the circle have been aligned with the autumn equinox and midwinter sunrise. Much of what we know about the circle is from the work of 18th century antiquarians and 19th century amateurs.
Castlerigg was an early tourist attraction and the name Druid’s Circle dates back to the 18th Century – possibly a clue to the original purpose of the stone circle. From the descriptions of this time it appears the stone circle has remained virtually unchanged in over 300 years. It is also believed that the circle remains true to its original design thousands of years ago.
The stones are constructed from local metamorphic slate and this is the same slate that can be seen on many of Keswick's older houses. The heaviest stone is thought to weigh 16 tons and the tallest stone is over 2 metres tall. Rumour has it that it is impossible to accurately count the number of stones in the circle. The official number is 40, but it is possible to count from 38 to 42! See how many stones you count when you visit.
Aside from its rich history, one of the best features of Castlerigg is the incredible surrounding scenery. Set on top of a small hill, you can enjoy panoramic views over some of the highest peaks in the Lake District including Skiddaw, Blencathra, Helvellyn and Grisedale Pike.
Castlerigg is near our Cottages in Keswick and you can click here to browse our properties in Keswick town.