Our drive to Sherberton (1.3.05) ended about a mile from the site, with a sign, which announced that parking was forbidden beyond this point. So with some brooding clouds looming above we strode out into the afternoon. Walking along the road we reached the farm and with a welcoming sniff from two border collies, proceeded to walk on through the farm yard bearing to our left and out into the fields beyond.
This circle sat quietly in a corner of a field, once revered now just an observer of farming life happily going on all around. The N/S measurement across the circle was 99ft, the E/W being harder to ascertain due to the intervention of a stonewall. With seven of the eight standing stones in an arc from the north/west to the east, the rest of the circle has suffered at the hands of the stone mason/wall builders. The two tallest stones (8ft 8" & 7ft 4") lay fallen in an 18ft arc spanning the southern point of the circle.
Without another second's hesitation, the clouds that had been with us all afternoon decided to join us, with a snowstorm of near horizontal proportions. With regrets that we couldn't have spent longer enjoying Sherberton, we packed up and wandered away through the blizzard.
This is the nearest circle to where I live, just outside Holne. Its not the most impressive site I have seen but then again I am used to the ones in Scotland. Worth a visit though. I even found a few liberty cap mushrooms here and someone had left a tape measure in the circle! The stones are fairly small and some of them look like they have been hacked off to half their original size. Oh and some of them are missing too.
Some of the stones of the circle are used as a gatepost in the wall. Baring-Gould told me that he found the late Mr Coaker's father (of Sherberton Farm) removing stones from the circle. This ceased when Baring-Gould explained the value of the circle to him. (1)
Remains of a 97 ft diameter stone circle with a stone wall passing through its western side (Plan). Known as Sherberton
Circle. There is no trace of any barrow or cairn. (2)
R H Worth's description is correct. Nine of the original stones are still standing, plus one larger stone which is incorporated in the remains of the old wall which bisects the western extremity of the circle. This stone appears to have been removed from the original circumference, and its height is 1.4m. The remaining nine stones range in height from 0.3m to 0.75m. Two of the stones found by Breveton are incorporated in the intake wall to the south as gateposts, and a third as a junction stone. The original circle appears to have been c. 30m across, although no stones appear to the west of the old wall. The length of the 2 fallen stones at the southern end is 2.6m and 2.4m (3) (SX 63937317) Sonte Circle (NR). (4)
On a slight south slope at 331m. OD are the remains of Sherberton Circle (name confirmed). It measures 29.8m. in diameter,
with stones set upright and averaging 0.7m. in height. The supposed fallen stones have the appearance of natural in situ
boulders fortuitously placed and unearthed. (see ground photograph) Otherwise the stone circle is as described and
planned by Worth. (5) Sherberton stone circle. (6) Surveyed at 1:10 000 on MSD and at 1:2500 for AO Records.
(SX 63937317) Stone Circle (NR). (7) Nine stones remain standing at Sherberton Circle; two large stones are fallen. The west segment of the circle is bisected by a reave. (8) SX 640732. Sherberton stone circle north of Swincombe, scheduled. (9)
SX 63937317. The Sherberton Stone Circle occupies a slight south slope at 329m OD and is situated just off the crest of a broad ridge. It overlooks, to the south the wide Swincombe valley and the moors beyond but to the north the view is restricted to the distant high tors by the rising ground of the ridge-top. The vistas to the east and west are also limited by rising ground.
The c. 29.4m diameter circle lies on the angle of two field walls; one, which cuts across its western side, is now a rather ragged line of boulders and stones with a vague shallow ditch on its east side. The ground surface, composed of a thick peat layer and close-cropped moorland pasture, is relatively stone-free and the area is pockmarked by shallow undulations and amorphous erosion gullies.
The nine surviving erect stones which could have been preserved because they were too small for reuse (see auth 1) range in height from 0.3m to 0.74m and in width from 0.3m to 0.6m. Four are small slabs and the remainder are squarish rounded blocks; six appear to be grouped in pairs and one set almost at right angles to the line of the circle.
The impressive 'kite-shaped' upright slab incorporated in the boulder wall to the NW of the circle is a maximum 1.45m in height and 1.65m in width. Its origin and purpose are unclear however although it is not on the line of the circle it is probably an integral part of the monument and may not have been displaced as suggested by Worth.
The two recumbent slabs in the southern segment of the circle measure 2.7m by 1.0m by 0.2m thick and 2.35m by 1.0m by 0.55m thick respectively. They are composed of a courser granite than their neighbours and they lie in a shallow depression which was probably caused by water erosion or livestock movement. They appear, on first sight, to be unrelated to the other stones because of their size and general form however if as suggested some uprights were robbed for reuse as gateposts then it is not unreasonable to deduce that these large stones would not have been out of place in the circle.
An almost completely buried boulder located on the west side of the boulder wall and more or less on the line of the circle might simply be a natural sub-surface feature. No socket holes or other buried boulders were detected by probing between the stones. (10)