Due to this trip being a flying visit to the area, I had about an hour in which to decide between two sites I had wanted to see for a while - Nine Ladies or Doll Tor (I couldn't do justice to both).
As I was about to trek over to Stanton Moor, I heard a few walkers mentioning heading off downhill through the field of cows sharing their field with the Andle Stone. The guy seemed confident where he was heading, so I thought they could only be going to one place - Doll Tor.
So, I left a reasonable, un-stalker-ish gap, and then followed down through the gates, to that second copse of trees. I probably ruined their short trip there when I arrived minutes later to disturb their moment (sorry - I couldn't wait).
I had always loved how this little circle looked in other pictures, and it didn't disappoint. Such a great spot looking out over the valley, just hidden away enough to protect it, but reachable. Neat, and kept, but still feeling as natural as it can be this far into modern times.
Although sad at missing the Nine Ladies (this time), I was happy with my choice, and spent a good while soaking in the circle, before heading off back up to the road, as the cows closed in on me...
Its only a five minute walk from the Andle stone, and its a tiny price to pay for such a nice little circle in such a beautiful place.
Eric spent most of the time trying to climb the trees with pagan stuff hanging from them, then he took to throwing sticks in the air, a mad kind of Russian roulette, of all my pictures taken today the most blurry ones were taken here, it's a strange place this one.
But ever so......... long word beginning with B
And its not just a stone circle, it looks like it has the strange quality of being a cairn with a stone circle built into it, the information board is helpful, whilst not telling very much at all.
It really is very nice here, on this my third visit I didnt see anyone else again, but there is always evidence that other people do come here.
Did I say how beautiful it is here ?
Into the trees as a gentle rain starts to fall, I remember why I liked Doll Tor so much the first time I came. I have the place to myself, a little secluded corner where everything is green (including the stones of the circle). This site may have been heavily restored and a couple of the stones bear the scars of hideous treatment (they've been shattered then stuck back together with little regard for cosmetic surgery), but it remains a winning combination of peace and seclusion coupled with a delightful stone circle. There is a fair bit of tat hanging from some of the trees (I leave the ribbons but feel compelled to get rid of the horribly rusty "pagan" key fob) but it doesn't spoil my enjoyment. I sit for about 40 minutes and no-one else comes near. But eventually the bus timetable starts its inexorable call and I must get on to my next site.
There's a cup marked stone laying within the rectangular cairn adjoining the circle, it's laying face down as i left it, top left hand corner.
Paulus discovered it on our visit there, it was by the head of the quarry.
Someone had camped there and built a little stone windbreak and a fireplace, the stone was besides it, i think a little modern rock carving was going on.
The face the cup is on is obviously a clean "face", no lichens, no sign of age as you'd expect etc.
I was gonna lob it in the quarry or smash the fucker up but it could have been a well meant "offering" so i left it there.
Nicely done piece but don't be taken in by it. ; )
If you're on the right road, with Stanton Moor to your right look to the left! Or t'other way around! It's nearer one end of the road than the other! You;r elooking for the Andle stone first... Eyes open for lots of rhodedendrhum shrubs, and a wall that has been tumbled down by lots of people climbing over it - you'd think the farmer would just put a style in and allow reasonable access - but,t here you go! The Andle stone is an awesome thing - liek a mini ayre's rock - but don't let that make you think it is massive - it isn't! Easily missed if you are expecting somethign else! You can see it across the field, surrounded by shrubs. Top vibe from it though. You can climb on it - it has *'andles!* Personally, I would not camp there - lots of litter and smells like people just use it for - well, whatever!
OK - Doll Tor - stepping back from the Andle stone so that you can see the next fields, ahead and to your left is a forest. It's NOT that forest! Lol - just behind that forest is another forest, with a dry stone wall behind it! It's THAT one! Walk through the field, through the gate, towards it - there's a gate at the entrance to the forested area. Keep the dry stone wall on your right and the circle is ahead, about three or four minutes if that - it's on your left, just off the path. The stones are small, and it is easy to miss, so look out for the information plaque - that should be easier to spot. If you go more than five minutes, you've gone past it - it is quite near the gate - just a stroll!
Lovely place - proper fairy circle. Seems to be popular with Wiccans but although often see signs of visitors, I've met few people there.
There is a cairn next to it - and lots of stones everywhere- ankle breakers, so beware! At the back is a quarry - careful if you go for a wee! The quarry looks like it must lead somewhere awesome - but I've been down there and it was chock full of undergrowth.
If possible, advise taking a big candle in a jar and putting it in the centre - it really has a magical look to it like that.
Don't know about camping - it's quite far from the farm so I reckon no one would bother you - a small fire maybe. Looks like some do - I haven't so I don't know. I get a feeling that the farmers are less than welcoming, so low profile, stealth mission!
Everyoen loves Doll Tor, and to me, it feels somehow linked with Nine Laides, like yin and yang.
Sunday 13 July 2003
As we followed Elderford's splendidly detailed instructions from the Andle Stone (thank you Mr E), John realised that he'd looked for the beautiful Doll before, but hadn't known her name. And hadn't found her.
I'm full of (figurative) disbelief and (real) awe that Jane found the Doll Tor circle without a decent map! It's almost spooky. I reckon with the Landranger on its own I might have missed it and I'm not bad at following maps.
What can I say that hasn't already been said? An immensely beautiful (now) sylvan voodoo Doll(y) casting a spell on all who see her.
I've said that there's 'always' something about sites when I see them for myself that surprises me or at the very least adds to the experience. In the case of the 'living' Doll the surprise was threefold.
The 'lesser' surprise was the cairn, which I knew about but was bigger than I expected.
The 'middle' surprise was that at least 2 or 3 of the actual stones seemed to have been repaired – I knew the circle had been restored and it's not a problem for me, but I don't remember anyone explicitly mentioning it.
And the 'big' surprise was the view to the north-west!!!! I never realised you could see through the trees and thought I'd have to try to make the trees disappear in my mind as at so many 'newly' forested sites.
None of it!!! Looking closely at some of the photos here in retrospect, it is possible to catch a glimpse. I took a couple of photos trying to emphasise it but I'm not sure it worked….
It's wonderful when a 'new' bunch of rocks lives up to high expectations. Doll Tor managed that and more! Phew!!!
Oh yeah, John liked it too.
Retracing our steps, John and I were both so invigorated by Doll Tor that we took our courage (!) in both hands and climbed the Andle Stone. And WOW!!!! Is it worth it?!!!!!! Hell yeah!
Only a few metres from the Andle stone is this petite beauty. It was a miracle we found it really, not having any maps or anything. But I was beginning to develop a 'sense' for these places by now. Nestled at the edge of a wood this teeny weeny little circle of six standing stones and a couple of fallen ones reeks of skipping elves, dancing pixies and kindly woodland folk, a place where the magic of childhood storybooks comes alive. The dappled light falling through the leaves, the pink wild flowers, late foxgloves and unfurled bracken fronds seemed to echo with little whispered voices of long dead spirits, urging you to 'keep it a secret!' I wanted to. I wanted it all for myself!
Badly ravaged over time, this probably survives due to it being so tucked away. And it's this 'tuckedawayness' that makes it so captivating, bewitching, charming and hopelessly appealing. The others went back to the pub for more beer, but I stayed here: I wanted to drink in the atmosphere. (And make a sketch, obviously!)
Unclassified road between Birchover and Stanton in Peak.
From Birchover head north on an unclassified road to Stanton in Peak, a little ways north of the entrance to the the quarry, there are two laybys; the first on the right, the next on the left. Park up in either.
To your left is the Andle Stone, a large natural alter stone on a mound surrounded by a retaining drystone wall in the middle of a field. It is large and cannot be missed.
Maintained by English Heritage and Peak National Park Authority, Doll Tor may be, but there are no public rights of way marked on the OS Land Ranger, so...
Over the padlocked gate and head toward the Andle Stone, keep it on your right and walk past it.
When you reach the field boundary (drystone wall), head for the gateway (infront and to your right) which leads into the field beyond.
If you stand at the gateway, there should be a coppice directly to your left, a field infront and beyond that (to the left) a metal fivebar gate which gives access to another coppice of fir trees.
Head for this gate (again locked). Beyond it is a trackway, the fir trees are to its left and a drystone wall to its right.
Follow the trackway a 100m or so, keeping look out ahead for the white/reflective English Heritage information board (about the size of a tea tray, set at an angle, a couple of feet off of the ground).
My impressions of Doll Tor is that it is pretty cute, which I am aware is inappropriate. At a guess you could fit a kingsize double bed into the circle, or that the circle might just fit in a single car garage. It is tiny.
To the eastern end was added a rectangular-ish cairn, which it is possible to make out and understand from what is left at the site.
One stone is double the length to its height. All the stones are low in height.
There are many surrounding stones (there are in the whole area, perhaps that's why it's wooded?)
Well worth a visit if the nearby Nine Ladies stone circle is busy, secluded and peaceful.
CAUTIONARY NOTE (from 'Rock around the Peak', V and P Morgan)...be aware of a hidden deep quarry within twenty metres (to the south-west) of the circle.
Have just returned from my 2nd visit to Doll Tor and found the usual so-called pagan "offerings"/evidence of rituals etc. But hey, get this, the reef of flowers was adorned by what appeared to be a polystyrene robin (as in the bird). Hardly in tune with Mother Earth is it? When will you fuckwits learn to respect the countryside?
The circle no longer resembles the picture in the MA. It has been restored very well and you would never believe it had been tampered with. I think everyone should remember these trees are very young and hold no significance to the circle. In fact the position of the Handle Stone some 100 mts away would suggest that the view would have been clear between the two when the circle was originally erected.
Hidden in a plantation of foreign trees that are alien to the landscape, this tiny circle has been much ravished.
But the feeling of ancient presence prevades it, whispering of dark, shadowy landscapes and torch-lit funeral processions in honour of a powerful, dead, queen.
The hairs on the back of your neck creep, and you turn around quickly and just miss seeing a primeval human darting behind a tree.
This stone stands around 1.5m tall and is located around 50 metres down hill from doll Tor stone circle. It's easy to find but the route to it can become a impassable tangle of brambles in high summer.
There are other large stones close by, some suggestive of a four stone alignment including this stone. I'm uncertain of age but the rilling suggests its been stood this way for millenia.
Stu first pointed this out to me several years ago but as we visited in summer we couldn't really explore the area fully.
Well worth a look if you're visiting the nearby circle.