I visited Lacra on a glorious August Saturday, battling through the holiday
traffic to find myself completely alone on a sun-drenched hillside.
Although there is a footpath leading straight up from Kirksanton, I took Burl`s advice and parked at Po House, taking the longer but more gentle path around Lacra Bank. On my journey, I heard the characteristic `mewing` of a buzzard and, looking up, saw this magnificent bird perched high above me. On reaching a ruined farmhouse, I could see an area of stones beyond the drystone walls of the fields and knew that I`d arrived.
Lacra A was the first of the features up here that I encountered. It was difficult to see which stones belonged and which didn`t. Only two remain standing out of six of those that count.
Walking east, Lacra D was the next that I investigated and, here again, I had to study the stones scattered about to try and work out where the circle actually was. I was helped in this by a large slab which lies within the circle, possibly a capstone. From Lacra D, two stone rows are said to run, one to the north-east and the other leading south-west down the hillside.
A ring cairn, Lacra E, lies just 8metres to the north-west, but I could only make out three small stones. The many butterflies feeding on the thistles were a welcome distraction to my quest to try and sort out this bronze age landscape.
Walking south-west from Lacra D and passing through a gap in a field wall, Lacra B was my next destination. This one is unmistakeable as a stone circle, although only six stones remain of a suggested eleven. Whilst here, I was pleased to hear again the call of the buzzard and, looking up, saw a large bird of prey circling in the sky with a smaller bird, who answered the buzzard`s call with its own. I admired their encounter as they circled away and down towards the lower ground where the Giant`s Grave standing stones stand majestically, far off in the distance, before continuing on my quest.
Walking downhill to the east, the remaining stones of Lacra C stone circle came quickly into my view. Just three stones now stand in an arc which would probably have been the largest of the the four stone circles up here. Then the cattle arrived. I usually have no problem with farm animals, but these bovine beasts were very numerous and inquisitive and being mindful of the fact that I was alone upon the hillside, decided that I should play safe and leave. On my return journey, I was entertained again by the buzzard, now back on its previous perch, as it called out to me as I returned to the car.
Lacra A. Well this is all we could find here today. Or should I say this was all we could be bothered finding. It rained like I've not seen in a long time. It's probably just the weather but I find this site depressing. On a good day the view out to sea, and of Black Combe would make this short walk worthwhile, but not on a day like this.
Lacra D is just a bit further on, after Lacra A - according to Burl this is 'questionable', and I'd go along with that!!
Lacra B is by all acounts the one to see, I've seen some shots and it probably is worth the visit. On a sunny day. A VERY sunny day. Mmmm summer...
Information from the English Heritage Scheduling Record for Lacra B:
A circle of six granite boulders, some standing and some fallen, enclosing an area of approximately 14.7m in diameter. The stones are irregularly shaped and vary in height between 0.35m-0.95m. Limited excavation of the monument in 1947 located a stone socket hole and suggested the original circle consisted of eleven stones. Additionally a central funerary cairn of earth and stones c.9.7m in diameter and up to 0.6m high constructed upon the old land surface was discovered. A flint flake lay upon the top of this mound. In the north east sector of the circle, also lying on top of the mound, part of a ring of stones, each about 0.6m long and pointing towards the centre of the circle, was found. An earthfast stone presently protruding above the turf line in the north west sector of the circle represents a continuation of this ring of stones which measures c.4.8m in diameter. A layer of earth considerably reddened by fire and considerable amounts of ash wood charcoal were found during the excavation near the centre of the mound just above the old landsurface. Below the very centre of the mound, under some large stones, fragments of burnt bones were all that remained of the primary burial. An excavation trench was extended to the east of the stone circle. Here an arrangement of stones was discovered lying on the old landsurface, which is thought to form either part of a ring encircling the standing stones, or one of a heap of stones assembled at the four cardinal points of the circle to help in the construction of the circle.