16 October 2019Local area
Located just outside Keswick this circle of stones has fired the imagination of visitors for thousands of years.
In comparison to the mighty Stonehenge in Wiltshire, Castlerigg Stone Circle is not that impressive. However when you take into account the setting, we think this smaller structure really packs a punch and rivals many other similar neolithic structures.
Sitting up above the surrounding valleys, it is surrounded by the most glorious ring of high fells. Looking in all directions it is easy to appreciate why this innocuous hill was chosen as the site, for clearly this is the focal point for the entire area.
Dating from the Late Neolithic period – around 2,500BC – the circle comprises of 38 stones with an additional 10 stones forming a small rectangular setting, “The Sanctuary”, located in the eastern quarter. The underlying rock of the site is Skiddaw Slate, but the stones themselves are of volcanic origin. And that is pretty much the extent of actual knowledge of the Circle.
Located just outside Keswick, this circle of stones surrounded by its ring of mountains has fired the imagination of visitors for thousands of years. It is now known that Neolithic people erected the stones and used the area for ceremonies. However it is likely that other questions will remain unanswered. Why was this place seen as special? What did Castlerigg mean to these communities? Whatever the answers maybe, it is obvious that Castlerigg left a powerful impression on many people who have visited.
We think the mysteries of the area add to its charm. You can visit the stones during various parts of the year and in different weather conditions and you can get a very different experience. It’s lovely to go there when there are no other visitors around. If you’re an early riser we recommend heading there at sun rise to enjoy seeing Castlerigg being bathed in the early morning sun.
The area has even inspired poets to consider the purpose of the site…
why? we ask and the wind whispers clues teases with a song as wide as the sky words lost in laughter
why here? but the hills keep their silence offer only shadows
‘who were you? and the echoes in the stones just sigh as if too wise to break the spell with answers
Martin Bagness 2009
Whatever the precise functions of the Circle were, we highly recommend a visit to see them for yourself. Access to site is available all year round and entry is free.
The address for the site is Castle Lane, Underskiddaw, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4RN. There is a road lay-by opposite the entrance where you can park your car during your visit. The distance from our holiday park is approximately 25 miles.
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