|This is a site that has puzzled the antiquarians for at least a hundred and fifty years, mainly because of it's famous pits, but we come to that presently.
To get there you should park up in the Scaling Dam Sailing club car park, walk back out of the main gate, turn left past the wee clump of trees and then turn left again along the bridleway (quarry road). Follow the footpath over the various bridges and duckboards past the Boghouse beck and the end of the reservior. Turn south and head up onto the moor. You will see a number of prominant dykes and ditches along the way. I dont know the age of these features but judging from the standing stones along their margins, some of them are ancient.
The standing stones are marked on the map as BS, boundary stones, but unlike typical NYM boundary stones they are unworked natural monoliths with no markings upon them. Follow this track as it turns west and crosses the Bella Dale slack.
Presently you'll come to the Long Stone, a handsome 3 1/2 -4m stone with some weathered lettering on the south face (the letter 'c' I think).
400m to your south you'll see the Three barrows of Three Howes Rigg. I recommend you wander over to them and check out the famous pits.
Basically what you've got is a double alignment of circular pits bounded by a low dyke. The pits run in the same NNE SSW alignment as the barrows.
There is no sign of spoil around the pits and they are 3-4 m apart so I don't think they are the result of mining activity. If anyone did want to mine the thin iron stone bands, they would have worked the two valleys that bound the area and I could find no evidence of any such activity. The pits are circular, about 3m diameter and 'flush' with the ground. About 200m from the eastern end of the pits is a large mound which I presume is another barrow. The theory that these pits were habitations seems a little bizzare, they seem more defensive, but defending what?
Beats the hell out of me!
Anyway check it out ,its a lovely place and the area is covered in barrows and lovely stones.
Posted by fitzcoraldo
7th October 2002ce