Walked to the Hoarstones from Mitchell's fold today. From Mitchell's Fold go up Stapley Hill from one cairn to the next and then down to the wood. The path skirts the wood to the right and then there is a sty to enter the wood at Black Marsh and cut across its bottom corner. Then you come out over a sleeper, ditch bridge into a field and you see another sleeper and sty on your left into the next field, marked permissive path. Then carry along across this field keeping wood close to left. And it's next field but look to bottom of field on your right, middle way along. You can see it on other side of field from wood as you're coming along. The ground looks raised and uncleared and you see the stones amongst it.
We then tried to carry on and hook up with Stapley trail back through wood but went wrong and retraced our steps and went back the way we came which is easiest. About 45 mins one way and well worth it. Very doable.
A beautiful April day (8.4.2011). The sky is bluer than blue, stretching wide over the Shropshire hills. Access to the circle is easy, as the 553 bus from Shrewsbury runs to within a mile of it (at least it does at the moment, but local bus services are under threat in this area - evening and Sunday services have already gone).
The directions given in Reg's post are spot on. Where the track enters the Forestry Commission woodland, you'll see a low boulder on the left hand side, as well as a wooden waymark. A trail runs along the edge of the wood, until you come to a (currently fallen) stile directly into Hoarstones' field, which is marked to show that the access is permissive.
This is a great little circle. Although its stones are small and many are missing, the form of the circle remains and the site has a great view of Corndon Hill, with its multiple cairns. The largest stone is in the centre, Burl questions its antiquity, but if modern it isn't out of place and it has a lovely yellow lichen topping, like so many other standing stones.
A nice appetiser for the wonders ahead, a visit to Hoarstones and then up Stapely Hill makes for a superb approach to Mitchell's Fold to the south.
Reg's directions look spot on to me... have been there a fair few times as I don't live so far away.
Last visited here on 25th august 2003, and, just as when i visited last year, once over the style and approaching the circle, a friendly chap with 3 very friendly dogs appeared from the woods on the left, taking them for a walk round the field. Be warned though, if you bend down to greet the dogs, you will be licked to death! :o) He stopped to chat with us and told us of the few things.
If I remember correctly, he said the couple of "rocky bumps" looking like cairns to the western side were found to have graves in them when they had been studied in the past, that there was a ley line coming roughly from the east crossing just south of the circle and that the parish boundary goes along the hedge at the edge of the field (not sure how useful that is to know though). He also said the stones had moved a little over time (as perhaps is to be expected).
I noticed all the holes in the stones, though didn't think they looked that recent, and not bored very neatly, so I'd reckon they are of some age. I like the sound of the miners getting married reason :o) there's also an iron post there which has a very definite magnetic field if you happen to have a compas handy by the way - I wonder if at one time it had a sign on it?
This circle is in a sorry state many of the stones are broken you can see from the pictures that a number have pairs of holes drilled in them.
It's definitely worth a visit though if you are in the area - a bit sad though.
We had an eaiser time getting to the stones than Kammer... Going North on the A448 we took a left (SO327995) following the sign for Hemford shortly after that we took the first left, this road ends with a bar accross it you can park here (SJ320000).
Walk just past the barrier take a left along the edge of the conifer plantation by the stream (this is pretty overgrown) follow this until you go over Railway sleeper bridge then over a style and you are in the field with the Hoarstones in front of you.
It's much nicer to approach Mitchels Fold from here, than the official car park and it's only 2.5Km, this gives you a bit more time to get acquainted with the landscape before you're among the stones.
Visited 20th July 2002: We had a some trouble finding this circle, so here are some directions. Approaching on the A488 park at the anonymous little hamlet near the junction that leads to Hemford (the hamlet) and the village of Shelve (SO327995). Resist the temptation of driving towards the hamlet of Hemford as you can't get to the stones from the north*. We parked on the A488 in a slither of a lay-by just to the south of the junction.
Access to the stones is down a driveway that has a green wooden sign with Graham Radley TRADITIONAL FURNITURE KITCHENS & JOINERY on it. From this point you'll see three gateways (one with no gate that leads to Mr. Radley's house). Take the middle gateway (the gate with a sign saying Holly Bank on it) and follow the drive down the side of Mr Radley's land until you come to another gate. Go through this (and the next one if it's closed), and keep going in the same direction following the perimeter of the field (heading west). If you look north you can just make out the circle.
In the furthest corner of the field where the footpath meets the boundary fence, you need to change direction and cross the little bridge (two railway sleepers) over a drainage ditch, and then cross the stile. Judging by the OS map you're leaving the public footpath at this point. Mr Radley told us that taking this route wouldn't be a problem, but I gather he's not the land owner, so tread carefully.
Follow the perimeter of this field (heading approximately north west) and when you reach the next perimeter keep going (through the gateway). You're now in the same field as the circle, but this field is farmed so try and avoid damaging any crops. We visited when the hay had just been cut, so we had no difficulty getting to the stones. I've said so much about getting to the circle that I won't bore you with too much detail about the stones themselves (the plethora of photos is enough).
* See Reg's post 'cos it looks like you can get to the stones from the north.
It may perhaps be thought slightly suggestive of a tradition of public ceremonies having been performed at this place that, when a wedding occurs in the neighbourhood, the miners repair to these stones, and, having drilled a hole or holes, load them with powder, and fire them instead of cannons. Accidents frequently happen on these occasions, but it is satisfactory to know that the miners suffer from them more than the stones do; the latter are, however, full of the holes made in this manner, which must not be mistaken for ancient markings or wedge holes.
page 3 in
Notes on Two Stone Circles in Shropshire.
A. L. Lewis
The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 11. (1882), pp. 3-7.
Hemford is also known as Marsh Pool and Black Marsh - or the Hoarstones. It's very close to Mitchell's Fold, and apparently there used to be a third circle close by too called the Whetstones. I've been to Mitchell's Fold on a number of occasions, but didn't even realise these stones were nearby. The stones at Hemford said to be small and I hear often swamped by vegetation. There is a stone in the centre, though whether it's original is debatable.