The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Druid's Altar

Stone Circle


Wednesday 20 August 2003
*Remember that the circle is marked as a cairn on both the Landranger and Explorer OS maps, but that such luminaries as Aubrey Burl regard it as a stone circle.*

Just at the north end of Threshfield we took the small (initially residential) 'Skirethorns Lane' to the west from the B6160, signposted to Wood Nook caravan site.

You can follow this lane well past the caravan site right onto the tops. It is increasingly narrow and in places steep, so take care! Park when you reach the first gate barring the lane – after perhaps as much as 3 miles. Or if you have time, park lower down and enjoy the walk!

From the small area where you can park just before the gate across the lane, the circle is visible a few hundred yards away. It is just to the left of the wall that leads off directly west across the moor. The lane itself bears slightly right (north) away from the wall.

The circle is probably fairly unimpressive on first sight, but really seems to grow in stature as you properly take it and its surroundings in. It's not just me either. Everyone I take there seems to feel the same, unprompted!

The stones of the 'errant Scottish 4 poster' stand on a distinct embanked mound, probably around 2 feet above the surrounding field. As has been documented on this website, the SW stone is broken off and lies in the centre of the 'circle'. The stone at the SE has had the mound cleared from its base, but still stands solidly.

Interestingly, the mound extends further out to the south east to reach a large stone that lies recumbent.

Whether this stone was ever anything to do with the circle is unlikely. But the extension of the mound looks to either be the earth removed from the base of the SE stone, or to suggest that the embankment actually originally extended a good 10 feet or more from the circle stones, at least to the south.

The weather was much cooler and the general atmosphere considerably 'wilder' than on my last visit with Jane. (See her fieldnotes).

Still a fantastic spot though!!! The very openness of the land really shows how visible even such a diminutive circle would've been for some distance – especially if the drystone walls were absent!

I'd forgotten but Burl relates that the name comes from the legend that 2 of the stones once had a lintel stone, making them form a tiny trilithon. It seems highly unlikely, but is a nice thought to bear in mind when looking at the stones!
Moth Posted by Moth
29th August 2003ce
Edited 29th August 2003ce

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