Wednesday 20 August 2003
For finding the circle, I strongly recommend the OS Explorer 1:25,000 map. Even with this map I found the point where the footpath and farm track split a little disorientating.
This point is particularly important, as the circle is on the moorland directly to the east of the footpath – the opposite side to the farm. In fact, as the Explorer map shows, the circle is directly in line with a farm wall at right angles to the path.
This wall is the one that links the farm lane as it leads slightly downhill towards the farm and the fieldwall that the runs northwards alongside the left (west) of the path.
If you stand on the path at the corner of these 2 walls, facing ENE, imagine where the wall that descends the short distance to the farm lane would go if it continued across the path to the ENE.
Follow that line by sighting on the hillside in front (still ENE) and after around 100-150 yards I guess, you should see the indistinct and low-lying circle stones.
Beware, however! As I found to my cost, should you go too far or wander slightly off course through the heather, you will find that the whole moor is a Pandora's Box of intriguingly laid out erratics!!! I spent a good half an hour and half a film finding and photographing what I call 'Isthatit
Eventually with time running short, I returned to the fieldwall, reset myself, concentrated hard on keeping straight and walked directly to the circle, which is pretty unmistakable once you find it. (Aren't they always!)
All that remains of the circle is 4 or 5 low stones just visible through thick heather. At least 2 of the stones are easily identifiable though by the fact that they are distinctly set on end with their faces facing the inside of the circle.
The area of the circle is also on a slight embankment, visible at the moment by the fact the heather is even higher!!!! (Just marginally.)
Clear the heather and you'd probably have the remains of a nice little, typically understated, Yorkshire circle – quite like the Appletreewick
stone circle – my former bête noir – see my notes on the relevant page…!
Like Appletreewick, it includes one large boulder that looks as if it could be naturally occurring and used as part of the circle....
Wednesday 20 August 2003After a good half-hour at the circle, the 'Squidlings' were cold and it was time for Squid and Sue to return with them to their base in Ingleton.
*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!