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

Long Meg & Her Daughters

Stone Circle


Tuesday 24th June 2011 - we drive over to Penrith temporarily leaving the Lakes and mountains behind. There is a Radio4 programme on the car radio about Bob Dylan who is 70 today so it is to the strains of "Like a Rolling Stone" we set off from the village of Little Salkend in the Eden Valley to visit Long Meg & Her Daughters. The Pennines are to our right as we walk up the track, it's a gusty cloud-skudding day, my companion identifies the sound of a curlew.

Much has been written about Log Meg and the stone circle known has Her Daughters - its diameter is between 100 and 93 metres putting it amongst the biggest stone circles in Britain. Long Meg is an irregular four sided pillar of local red sandstone whilst the circle stones are the granite rock rhyolite. Long Meg is 3.6 metres high and is partially covered in silver crystalisations and lichen. Famously it has three examples of rock art on one side of its surfaces - a cup and ring with gutter, a spiral, and some incomplete concentric circles.

After spending some time walking around the circle and looking at Long Meg from various angles, we make our way through a couple of fields to Little Meg - a very small granite stone circle in a nearby field. Then on to the small red sandstone church of St Michael's and All Angels, Addington which oddly stands away from any sizeable village inside a walled churchyard. A hefty shower blew across so we took shelter inside the church for a bit - I found the following passage in a booklet about the church (author not stated, though revised in 2010).

"Standing on the route towards the Tyne Gap, Long Meg is one of the eight circle henges along the 350 miles between Fife and Wiltshire which share similar characteristics. Each has a large open ring within a smallish henge and each is on a trackway of Neolithic occupation.
Some 200 Neolithic people are thought to have occupied the areas immediately around the Lake district mountains. Long Meg herself stands in the right place to relate to a midwinter sunset but only if seen from the middle of the ring with a flattened arc, making its centre difficult to determine. Yet such was the skill of the ring builders that Long Meg is aligned so that the winter sun would have set exactly over it. For this to happen its top would have to rise clear of the skyline, hence Long Meg's height".

I had lost my heart to Castlerigg a few days earlier so Long Meg & Her Daughters in the pastural Eden Valley didn't make the impact I had expected - its odd how some stone circles immediately touch something within whilst others leave you pondering and puzzled.
(Photos to follow when I return home at the weekend).
tjj Posted by tjj
25th May 2011ce
Edited 25th May 2011ce

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