Long Meg stone circle in the Eden Valley

There is a high concentration of stone circles in the Lake District and Cumbria; dating back as far as the Bronze Age and to Neolithic times.

When you come to stay in one of our self catering Lake District cottages, you won’t be far away from one of the many stone circles in the region. The largest stone circle in Cumbria is set to be the focus of the ITV programme Weekend Escapes featuring actor Warwick Davis and his family. Warwick visited several Lake District visitor attractions, commenting that the trip to Long Meg was a highlight of his trip.

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Long Meg and Her Daughters is the name given to a circle consisting of around 69 stones. Long Meg stands tall above the rest of the stones, nearly 4 metres high and weighing an estimated 9 tons.

The stones are made from different materials, the main stone, Long Meg, is made from local red sandstone and marked with Neolithic symbols. The surrounding stones known as her daughters are made of a type of rhyolite granite. The circle dates back to the Bronze Age. There are four cornerstones outside the circle, representing all four points of the compass. These stones are made from quartz, which is not a local material. Very odd indeed!

The origins of Long Meg are somewhat mysterious too. The most popular legend is that Long Meg and her daughters were witches and were turned to stone as a punishment for dancing wildly on a Sabbath! From a certain angle, the Long Meg stone does resemble a witch so there might be some truth in that story!

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As with many of the stone circles in the Lake District, the origins of Long Meg are sketchy. There has been much written about Long Meg and it seems that only the vaguest of theories is the one that most people agree on. The circle was probably a place where people came together at certain times of year for rituals or trade.

Long Meg is situated in a field, bisected by a farm track. You can walk there from Little Salkeld and combine it with a trip to Lacy’s Caves. Our previous blog on Lacy’s Caves and Long Meg details the circular route and also recommends a lovely little café at the Little Salkeld water mill for tea and cakes.

Find out more about self catering cottages in the Eden Valley and the Lake District.

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