Set amongst the dramatic backdrop of the Lake District fells, sits the striking Castlerigg Stone Circle. It is thought to have been constructed around 3,000BC by Neolithic farming communities and is therefore likely to be one of the earliest stone circles in Britain. The location of the stone circle suggests that Castlerigg may have been used as a meeting place, perhaps to trade. Farming communities at that time moved their settlements according to the seasons, preferring the higher ground during the summer months. It’s an intriguing site that makes us think about how communities living in the Lake District thousands of years ago have shaped the landscape that we see and love today.
By the 19th century, the stone circle had grown in popularity and subsequently suffered damage from visitors who chipped off pieces as souvenirs. Thankfully, the site was later bought and given to the National Trust. It is entrusted to English Heritage.
Did you know? Castlerigg Stone Circle has legal protection due to being one of the earliest Ancient Scheduled Monuments designated in the UK.
Officially there are 38 stones according to The National Trust website, however, this number differs in various sources. How many can you count? We expect your number will be different from that of the people around you! The stones vary in height from 1 metre to 2.3 metres around which you can wander at leisure.
Hints/Tips: Parking along the lane is limited, so it’s good to arrive early or later in the day during peak season. Visiting the stone circle as the sun rises or sets is quite magical and atmospheric and usually there are very few, if any, people around. Do read the information boards as they provide some insight into its fascinating history. The stones are easily accessible from Keswick. It’s walkable from town, about 1.6 miles. Uphill but easy to navigate and great to take in the surrounding views.
Why we love it: The setting is simply breath-taking. From the site it is possible to see some of the highest and most dramatic fells in the Lake District including Helvellyn and Blencathra with their formidable edges.
Images credit: Keswick Tourism Association – www.keswick.org/
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