|In His book 'The Stone Circles of Cumbria' John Waterhouse describes three circles at Gretigate that were not identified until the late 1950's "by which time they were in a very ruinous condition.
I parked up in Gosforth, crossed the A595T and walked down the track to Seascale Hall. Waterhouse's sketch map locates the circle on a trackway that runs off the main track at a cottage called Sides. I called in at the cottage and was met by an old fella who was working on his immaculate gardens, obviously a labour of love for him.
"Howdo, do you mind if I have a walk down your lane to have a look at the stones circles?
"Don't mind at all, if you can find it" he replied and then promptly disappeared into his shed.
Waterhouse's sketch map places circle A about 100 metres from the cottage and circles B & C another 50 or so metres beyond that.
The only remains of circle A was supposed to be a 'chord of the circle, about 30m long, which has been incorporated into a stone wall along the edge of the field. Unfortunately this wall is now covered on both sides by a dense overgrowth of every thorn bearing bush known to grow in the British Islands. I managed to hack away at some of this and found a number of large boulders at the base of the wall. Unfortunately boulder based walls are quite common around these parts so in all honesty it was difficult to say if these were the remains of the circle. Examination from the field side was equally impossible, hindered even more by a barbed wire fence.
One possible candidate for a stone was a large plum-shaped boulder that had been dumped amongst a bunch of bramble strewn rubble of the opposite side of the trackway.
As for circles B & C. The lane petered out at a large farm dump that contained decades of accumulated rubbish. Behind this was a narrow wood of low trees that had once been used as a pheasant rearing area. The wood was badly overgrown and the terrier and I spent a good three quarters of an hour hacking our way around it being ripped to shreds by brambles and thorns in the process. After that we turned our attention to the bordering fields. The result of all this activity was that we found absolutely nothing. I can only assume that all visible traces of the three circles are now either beneath the dense woodland mat, ploughed out of the adjacent fields or dumped in the nearby stone dump.
All in all our visit to Gretigate failed to yield any concrete evidence of the stones, we found a couple of possible stones but that was it. Definitely one for the enthusiast.
If you do find yourself in this area, I would recommend a visit to the Gosforth Bakery, a small house just opposite the car park; it's a pie lover's paradise. There's also the beautiful carved Saxon Cross in the parish churchyard.
Posted by fitzcoraldo
17th October 2007ce
Edited 21st October 2007ce