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

The Great Circle, North East Circle & Avenues

Stone Circle


Stanton Drew has rather cleverly hidden itself in the back end of nowhere (if you’re searching for grub at 14:45hrs on a Friday lunchtime, anyway), and requires a scenic drive through rather fabulously named neighbouring villages . . . Norton Malreward . . . Norton Hawkfield . . . but does offer the chance of an excellent pint of Abbot Ale at the Rising Sun, Pensford. (Yes, I realize my map-reading skills are pants, especially as we were travelling west from Stoney Littleton!)

We finally found a corkingly good slap-up meal at the Maes Knoll Toby Carvery, Whitchurch, of all places. As we dined outside, the gray skies suddenly broke up, blue patches prevailed, and the sun shone down at last. ‘Hooray!,’ I thought, ‘Excellent light for stone circle photography!’

And it was splendid. Arriving at Stanton Drew, not really knowing what to expect, we made our way into another field of sheep, who were all casually doing their thing amidst some of the most stunning stones I have ever clapped eyes on. The colours were fantastic, and I have already been exhorting the delightful Jane to get down there with her field box and sketch book. Watch this space . . .

Most of the stones are massive red blocks, and although many of them have fallen (or were they pushed?), it is easy to visualize how magnificent and awe-inspiring they must have appeared in their original architectural form. Studded with white quartz, and subtly covered in ages-old lichens, they emanate a very peaceful and noble vibe.

Particularly impressive were the stones that looked like a heavily pregnant woman, and a ship’s figurehead, minus the head. Also intriguing were the three rectangular blocks that stood in a line; they had such an air of timeless resolution and wisdom about them.

I spent ages scrabbling about in the grass and sheep turds - these seem to be a recurring theme this summer - enjoying the stones exerting their energy on my photography. This time, I wasn't allowed to use a zoom lens. (See Long Meg for further notes on how stone circles control photography).

We stayed for a considerable time, not wanting to leave the idyllic complex of stones, content instead to watch the sheep using them as clearly deeply satisfying scratching posts. Wood pigeons soared past in the golden sunshine, and the stones glow with warmth, their scatterings of quartz glittering frostily.

It was a glorious summer evening, and the symphony of colour made me curse myself for not having a suitable film in my bag. Fortunately, the lovely Karen had her digital camera with her, and got some fabulous colour shots; post your photos, Karen! I hope I can justify this megalithic site with my black and white images. If not, I’ll have to return with a mix of film. That’ll be a hardship, then.
treaclechops Posted by treaclechops
31st August 2003ce

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