The Lake District has a high concentration of stone circles and ancient monuments set amidst some stunning scenery. They are all easily reached from many of our Lake District Cottages. Here is our pick of the best:
Castlerigg Stone Circle must rate as one of the most striking prehistoric monuments in Britain. It is easily accessible from Keswick and the surrounding area and can form part of a pleasant ramble. The stones sit on a low hill with a 360 degree view of the surrounding fells - Skiddaw, Blencathra and the Helvellyn range.
Swinside Stone Circle is another remarkable monument in the south east of the Lake District. It is a visually perfect circle made up of 55 stones and can only be reached on foot from the farm track. The setting is on the eastern flank of Black Combe in the heart of the Duddon fells. Perfect for including in a longer walk.
Local legend claims Long Meg was a witch, and with her daughters, was turned to stone for dancing wildly on the Sabbath. This is the largest stone circle in Cumbria made up on 69 stones. Long Meg is made from local sandstone and marked with mysterious symbols. Her daughters are made of granite and the four cornerstones outside the circle face the points of a compass. Very mysterious indeed!
Birkrigg is on one of the southern peninsulas of Cumbria and consists of two roughly concentric stone rings. It is linked to evidence of prehistoric occupation in the surrounding area and the nearby Druid’s Circle overlooking the village of Bardsee. There are no other concentric stone circles in Cumbria.
On Elva Hill looking towards Skiddaw is Elva Plain, a level terrace with views of Bassenthwaite Lake. 15 of the original 30 stones remain to form an almost perfect circle. The site has been linked to neolithic axe factories and trading. This site can be reached on foot from Cockermouth and combined with a lovely walk through the trees on Setmurthy Common.
On Hardendale Fell to the north east of Shap is an impressive site containing two concentrict circles. You must ask permission of the farmer at Gunnerwell Farm and make the short walk along a minor road. The inner circle is in good condition, measuring about 18 meters in diameter, the outer circle measures 28 meters.
Just a few metres from the beach at Seascale is a stone circle of nearly 30 metres in diameter. The backdrop to the quiet meadow is the huge Sellafield nuclear plant. But don’t let that put you off, the circle is quite spectacular, set in a quiet meadow, and was restored to its original position by local school school boys in 1949. Artefacts found during the restoration of the circle are on display in the Tullie House Museum, Carlisle.
Moor Divock is on Askham Fell above Ullswater, on the route of the Roman Road to High Street. There are lots of interesting cairns and burial mounds dotted around the moor close to the criss cross walkers tracks. The Cockpit is the most impressive and is thought to mark burial mounds dating from the bronze age.