We came at it from the south, starting at Gunnerkeld, travelling north through Great and Little Strickland. The road brings you out at a T junction, go straight across and through the gate if it's open, through the trees until a parking space opens out on the left. Walk on up the track and the circle is on your right in the field up against the densely vegetated hill side.
This place has been on my wish list for a while now, Hobs last photo of it under the stars was the real clincher, moved it up to this years list and here we are, somewhat fortuitously, but here nevertheless.
As we left the car I spied a glimpse of white stone across the field amongst loads of ferns, I went back to the car to get my shears but, aghast, they are not here .(stern words at home) Meanwhile Alken saw some deer majestically legging it away, Siiigh.
It was as we feared, the circle or semi circle as it turns out is almost totally obscured by ferns. Without any words being exchanged we both set about to trampling down the tall green blighters. I love revealing stones from ferns, it's like Christmas, only better. After a while the ferns were lying flat, it's not as good as gone which is what they would be if I'd have had me shears.
But it was good enough to reveal the five stones left in the arc we see here, we jumped the crumbling stone wall but could find nothing else, sad.
But the stones that are left are good ones, three of which a quite large, one in particular kind of reminded me of an Avebury sarson, but smaller.
Spring would be best to appreciate the place.
I'll say one thing for the folks who built this monument. They knew how to pick a spot in the landscape.
It's not instantly noticeable when you're at the site, but on my most recent visit, I'd decided to tromp off from the dreaded centre Parcs just at the top of Leacet Hill, and go to lightpaint Brougham castle a few miles away. As it turned out, the castle was locked up tight, so I decided to head back via Leacet. Now bearing in mind it was a full moon, there was some light, but it was still the middle of the night, and I had no map, and was wandering cross country. But it was dead easy to find the place. It made me wonder that part of the reason for placing it here was that if you know where it is, it's fairly straightforward to find it again by reference to the various bits of the landscape around it.
There was still no sign of the ghostly apparition, so I made one by waving a torch at the stones.
re-visit midnight 20th/21st October 07
Managed to get down to see these stones at night this time. The yomp down the hill is pretty awkward without any light, as it's all pine needles, logs and bracken, with a fairly steep slope.
However, it was wonderfully peaceful. Some nice ground hugging mist and an appearance by the half moon made for an excellent atmosphere, but unsurprisingly (if somewhat dissapointingly), no ghostly figures gliding about anywhere. The quarts in the larger of the stones did manage to reflect the moonlight quite well, so it's easy to dismiss the ghostie tale as a misreporting of similar moonlight/quartz interaction, possibly enhanced by a bit of a more distilled kind of spirit. I dunno. Nice spot either way.
re-visit march 05
About 100m to the SE of the circle, there's what looks very much like a small barrow, built on top of a small outcrop of lovely red sandstone.
Didn't manage to get here after dark, so no chance to check out the spooky vibe thing mentioned below. Next time mebbe.
As Stubob says, there're only 5 stones, but they have some great texture going on. In an area littered with glacial erratics, there are some choice examples in this tattered but determined seeming survivor. I was hoping to be able to see over to Mayburgh, but there's just too much hill in the way. From the top of the hill, excellent view.
The trees have gone now, so it's possible to examine the other side of the drystone wall to look for the rest of the circle. It looked to me as if the earthwork below the wall must have some of the circle as grounding stones. About 100m SE there's a patch of binlinered bales, which hide a couple of big stones, which may be erratics, or may have once had something to do with the circle. I didn't have time to check at close range.
If you approach from Leacet Cottage Stables, on top of Leacet Hill, there's a path through the trees that starts badly, doubles back and heads straight for the circle. The last part of this isn't marked on the map, but then the map says the trees are still there.
The land belongs to Lowther Estates, who can be contacted for permission on weekdays, but note that Lowther don't work weekends.
Another Cumbrian site chopped in half for the sake of a few feet...
There is a path to this circle altho' very overgrown (July). I could only count 5 stones, in the remaining arc but it's still well worth a visit.
This circle is said to consist of seven stones and be the kerb of a wrecked stone cairn. I couldn't verify this as it stands on forestry commision land and the entrance is blocked by a large set of locked gates with signs warning of prosecution and general unpleasantries to any trespassers.
It wasn't until I got home and rechecked the map that I noticed a public right of way passing through the plantation, just a little furthur along the road.
Haunted Britain by Elliot O'Donnel, prints a letter from a correspondant about a 'druidical circle' in Westmorland
"The only personal experience I have had happened at a druids circle. The phenomena consisted of a sickly sweet death-like smell, and the sense of some 'presence' approaching. I hastily retreated to a distance and saw a figure clad in white or light grey, glide from the adjoining wood and vanish near the largest stone of the circle. I may say that the circle is half in pine wood, and that a stone wall has been built across the circle, cutting it into two parts. The cause of the phenomena probably is that the largest stone was dug up in the late 70s of the last century. An urn was found, and is now in a museum."
This is a smashing example of the symptoms associated with 'Temporal Lobe Lability', which has been touted as a possible mechanism by which ambient electro-magnetic fields can initiate experiences of high-strangeness. A good spot for any future rounds of the Dragon project maybe?
A Brooks 1998 'Ghosts and Legends of the lake district' places this as possibly Oddendale, presumably due to the wall by Oddendale Cairn1, though another contender could Iron Hill Cairn North , but as the letter mentions a circle bisected by a wall, with pine plantation, I suspect Leacet is the actual spot being referred to. In fact, now I come to think about it, I did get some anomalous jpegs on me camera at Leacet… Electromagnetic fields, memory cards, hmmm…
What the RSM describes as 'Limited antiquarian investigation' found a full circle of ten boulders. On the inner side of four of these was found a total of ten urns, many containing cremated bone. The centre of the stone cairn within the circle was found to show traces of a funeral pyre.
Notes on Excavations at Leacet Hill Stone Circle, Westmorland, by Joseph Robinson and R S Ferguson. P76 in volume 5 of the Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmoreland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society (1881). Their investigations found three stones that were buried on the far side of the wall, and several urns. There's a nice little plan with a table of the sizes of the stones.