This must be one of the very best locations for a Stone Circle. The view across to Chesil Beach is very clear, as are Chapel Hill Abbotsbury and The Hellstone seen here and on the walk all the way down to the Portesham Hill Road, as well as Black Down Barrow Cemetery
As said previously the condition of the circle itself is quite sad, although in recent years it does seem that the site is being maintained better than perhaps it has been in the past.
Given that though this is a splendid place to have to yourself for a while, a stone circle with an incredible view on the crest of a Dorset Hill.
25/9/2010 approx 19:00
I reached this circle shortly before sunset. Overgrown with thistles and nettles on a field margin, it wasn't easy to find, but a delight when I finally did. The stones are small wih pieces of flint embedded in them. Great views out to sea combined with the sunset made this a very atmospheric place.
'9 mis-shapen stones (one of which much smaller than the rest) made of this mixture with flint nodules embedded throughout. An unimpressive rebuilt oval, all stones layn on the ground. Completely surrounded intimately tightly by fences; so just stuck in a corner. Ginette says she'll have a word with someone about that. Ginette also suspects the slightly raised area that extendes out from the circle is a causewayed enclosure.'
Access Walk of around half a mile. Leaving the car in the layby next to the farm at SY601879 on Portisham Hill (same as for The Hellstone) we crossed the road and entered the farm gate on the west side of the road. We followed the track through the farm past docile cattle.
I'm pretty sure that at the far end of the farm itself there may have been a stile, but I think when we visited the gate was unlocked anyway. Up a fairly gentle hill, the stones are in a little fenced off area at the top of the hill, to the left of the path where it crosses a(nother) stile.
Thursday 18 September 2003
As mentioned by Burl and other people on this website, it has been considerably 'messed-about-with'. It's quite pretty despite that and the views must be great (though it was too misty when we were there).
Definitely worth a look for so little trouble, especially if visiting other sites in the area, especially the Hellstone.
9 recumbent stones in a circle in a paddock, next to big modern field gate. Very overgrown when we saw it. I'm so glad I've now seen the other submitted pics, to show what it looks like when not so overgrown!
Sign on paddock says, "This stone circle is an ancient monument scheduled by the Ministry of Public Building & Works. It was excavated in 1965 and the stones re-installed in their original sockets. The original circle was probably constructed between 1800 and 1200 BC. Structures of this type are considered to have had a ritual significance".
Ok I'll bow to the majority and admit this is probably called the Hampton Down Stone Circle..who is this Burl chap anyway, what does he know about Stones Circles. But I think my notes below were added before any reference to Hampton Down on this web site. (No mention of Hampton Down on the O.S)
I found this site having given up looking for the Grey Mare & Her Colts (I was on the wrong Abbotsbury Road). If you stop on the Portesham Hill Road where TMA recommends you stop for The Hell Stone, on the opposite side of the road, take the path through the farm, heading west. The stones are at the top of the hill over to your left, just over a gate marked by an Ancient Monument sign. The circle itself is no more than 6yrds across but spectacular setting. Fine views over the valley to the Hell Stone to the east and St. Catherines Hill to the west. I think the path carries on and crosses the Abbotsbury-Martinsdown Road across which the Grey Mare resides with her Colts.
Strangely depressing circle surrounded by a barbed wire fence and stinging nettles. Definately moved from its original location to the west(?) and containing stones possibly from an original stone circle, stone rows and/or a chambered long barrow.
Wonderful views of portland and chesil beach redeem its extremely poor condition, but its neglected and almost downtrodden state make it a circle to be pitied.
It has had a varying number of stones over its time, I counted between 10 & 15.
(58) Stone Circle (SY 58 NE; 59628650), on Portesham Hill, stands 550 yds. S.E. of Hampton Barn on a level site about 680 ft. above O.D. (Fig. p. 514). Excavations in 1965, by Dr. G. J. Wainwright of the Ministry of Public Building and Works, established that the surviving stones were not bedded and that there had been an earlier circle. This circle, represented by the sockets of stones, lay under and to the W. of the field bank which crosses the site. It was 18 ft. to 20 ft. in internal diameter and was composed of nine stones, set in two arcs to N. and S.; the E. and W. sides were defined by narrow V-sectioned ditches. A hollowed track, running up to the circle on the N., was revetted on its W. side by small flat stones, and three stake-holes were found on the perimeter of the circle immediately to the W. A low bank of clay had been constructed between the track and the stones in the N.W. quarter and the S. edge of the socket on the E. side of the track was also built up with clay and stones. The circle had been disturbed before or by the building of the field bank with its side ditches. Stones have now been placed in the excavated holes. (Information from Dr. G. J. Wainwright; Dorset Procs. XXIX (1908), lxxviii (with photograph of later circle), 250; LXXXVIII (1966), 122–7; Antiquity XIII (1939), 142, fig. 2; O.S. Map of Neolithic Wessex, no. 143; R. D'O. Good, Weyland (1945), 32.)
[SY 59628648] "Small stone circle." (1)
Eighteen stones. The eastern seven form an arc, probably in situ, which would form a circle with a diameter of 43 ft. (2)
Stone Circle [O.E.] (3) Scheduled Ancient Monument: Hampton stone circle. (4)
A circle of sarsen stone, incomplete and cut across from N-S by a high hedge and bank, separating three westerly stones from thirteen others. Of the eastern ones ten are probably in their original positions, suggesting an original diameter of 35 ft for the circle. The stones are irregularly placed, and being of cube-like shapes it is impossible to decide whether they are recumbent or upright though probably the latter. [Plan shows 16 stones all told]. (5)
SY 59618650. The number of stones in the circle is not 13 as stated in Auth 6, but 15 on the east side of the hedge and 3 on the west side ofthe hedge. The stones are of sarsen and conglomerate and average 0.5m high. Most are of cube shape, but at least two are elongated and prostrate.
Seven stones of the circle form an arc on the eastern half of the site, which suggests that they are in their original positions. From this the circles diameter was probably c.11.0m. The elongated stone at the extreme N.W. of the site and the two stones to the east of it, appear to have been displaced slightly to the north.
The five other stones on the east side of the hedge and the three on the west side are all displaced, perhaps during the construction of a low field bank from which the hedge stems.
The circle does not seem likely to suffer further damage. It is set in an area of pasture of a very stoney nature and unsuitable for ploughing. (7) Surveyed on field document. (8)
Mr. R.N.R. Peers of the Dorset N H and A Soc. reported to the Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments that the stones to the west of the hedge bisecting the Circle [3 stones in all] had recently been removed. The stones were placed in the hedgerow and the field appeared to have been ploughed for the first time. To the Police, Mr. Swaffield the tenant, denied responsibility for removing the stones, and the Director of Public Prosecutions subsequently did not feel able to effect a prosecution. Two things are now being considered:- the necessity for an excavation and the urgent need for the resiting of the stones. (9)