|Living in Wolverhamptonshire can be either a Megalithic curse, or a Megalithic blessing;
There are no decent sites local, save a few hill forts- (which leave me cold to be honest). Yet what better place to live when one wants to explore England, than the very heart of England? As Alan Partridge would say, "its beauty is in its location, it's equidistant!".
Going Westward we find ourselves in Shropshire; lovely countryside boasting a couple of stone circles. So, big red van packed with bacon, lettuce & tomato baps, J Cope and A Burl (in book form), and an excited Summer Garland on map duty and inapropriate songbursts we ventured westward; stopping at the Roman town of Virconium (Wroxeter) on the way. (Is 'Roman' a dirty word round here?). Wroxeter is a fine site with attached museum featuring finds from the site. Most of the city remains unexcavated, lying under surrounding fields.
Enough Roman rubbish, let's get full speed and pagan!
The Hoarstones were easy to find, thanks to directions from TMA members, featured on this site. Well done especially to Reg, who visited this site in late February this year, (on Summer Garland's birthday, when we getting blown off Glastonbury Tor!). Your directions were sterling my friend! (Search *Hoarstones* on TMA & you'll get to Reg's great pics and post).
The circle is a little larger than average, about 60-70 feet diameter. The highest stone is only a couple of foot high, (this was never a tall circle). There is a central stone, idly leaning to the south in its own small moat. It's like Boscawen-Un lite! I counted around thirty six stones..
Most stones are buried or fallen. Many merely peeping from the boggy undergrowth The south-east curve being the most complete. Because the field is not farmed inside the circle, the grass is longer there, and because of this, the circle can be seen from the windy road to shelve, as it climbs past the old mine. Despite its state of disrepair, it's an obvious circle.
Some are disappointed in this circle, and the only book that mentions it (that I own) is Aubry Burl's hefty 'Stone Circles Of Britain, Ireland and Brittany'. It is certainly ruined, and after walking through a boggy field with wet feet, (must buy sensible shoes), one could certainly feel disappointed.
But if, like me, you are a complete circle freak, and regard a stone ring as the greatest of megalithic delicacies, then you will feel as enchanted as I did. For the Hoarstones appeared to me to be forgotten 'secret' circle. Hardly visited, lying, (languishing?) in a rather un-poetic boggy field in the megalithic wasteland of Shropshire. And though there were thousands upon thousands of people at theme parks and shopping malls, all over the UK, on this sunny/rainy/sunny again Bank Holliday Weekend, there's no-where I'd rather be than under the same confused sky, inside the Hoarstones. Wet sloshing socks and all.
Even a wrecked circle has its magic. I'll visit the Hoarstones again.
On to Mitchell's Fold Stone Circle. A re-visit for me, and the first visit for Summer Garland. Luckily, the view was clear, and for the first time I was able to take in the greater aspect of Mitchell's Fold. The view from the circle is truly wondrous. Miles of pleasant rolling hills; the threatening mists of rainfall safely distant. Summer garland liked the Witch-stone (on account of her being a witch and all . .) It stood nearly as tall as me, and the tallest by far of the fifteen stones that make up Mitchell's Fold.
I would consider Mitchell's Fold a lesser-known circle, but infinitely more famous than the Hoarstones. It's placement on the landscape and it's larger, more assertive presence warrant it's fame; but we ignore lesser circles like the Hoarstones at our peril.
I made a mental note to myself on this trip . . 'visit more ruined circles'. There is much to see. . and isn't Avebury itself a ruined circle?
And that’s the best place in the world.
Posted by suave harv
28th May 2003ce
Edited 26th November 2003ce
suave harv's TMA Blog
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