The feature here that is generally assumed to be the cairn is actually the base of a modern summerhouse, the real cairn is at SD50147428 and is a much more discreet affair, being an oval about 12.5m x 9.4m, it consists of a mound of earth and limestone rubble, and is kerbed with limestone blocks. At the centre is a depression, the result of an 1778 excavation which recovered a human skeleton, a large bead, and calcined human bones.
The cairn is easy to locate via the footpath to Leighton Hall from Peter Lane. Almost immediately after going through the gate from Peter Lane the path crosses a tractor track running up the hill, follow this to the left, the cairn is on the left-hand side of this track, just before leaving the trees and entering the area where the stone circle is situated (Directly below the ESE outlier).
Just got back from a trip out to this site and am as perplexed as the other contributers here.
If this was indeed a circle, which seems more than likely given the postion of the remaining stones then it would have been huge. It reminded me of the 12 Apostles in Dumfries, which shares the same air of abandonment whilst still having the power to awe.
Mark said he liked the fact that someone had built a summerhouse on the cairn; that the cairn still remains after so many thousands of years and yet the summerhouse is now just a handful of red bricks seemed to amuse him.
A worthwhile trip; the views from the the top of the site are incredible and I like the fact that I'm just not really sure what it is I've been looking at! The whole time we were there, 2 buzzards flew overhead and the sun was shining over the bay, whilst we could see a snow storm coming in over the hills towards the Lune Valley - pretty impressive stuff.
This is a very strange place indeed. Most of the stones in the circle have been split in two, possibly an attempt at clearing the stones but 5 stones still survive in the Circle this thing is so big it has 3 Grid Refs!
I visited this site three days ago and its still playing on my mind and im not entirely sure why?
Take the road from Warton to Yealand Conyers village. On your left hand side as you drive through the village you will come to a lane called 'Peters Lane' (or it could have been St Peters Lane - I can't remember now and I was driving so I couldn't take notes!). Signposts are pointing this way to Leighton Hall. It's probably best here to approach by foot.
On the first bend of the road take the hill up where there is a large wooden gate and a signpost just behind the wall. Follow the sign pointing to Leighton Hall. Basically it is very easy from here (I know you've probably heard that a thousand times). In the field behind the gate you'll see a rocky outcrop at the top of the hill. Go to the summit of this hill/field and over the other side at the top you will be greeted by the Summerhouse/cairn itself.
My second visit was much more successful. There are 4 remaining stones in the circle plus the large cairn. The stones are located as follows:
(i) immediately north of the cairn
(ii) south west of the cairn
(iii) and (iv) on the opposite (ie western) edge of the field to the cairn, immediately in front of the stone wall - I shall refer to iv as the more northerly of this pair
Two further large stones are confusing outliers - one of these is south of the cairn (about 50 metres ESE of stone ii), and the other is just the other side of the wall to stones iii and iv, though a gate.
What makes it clear that this monument was a true stone circle is the presence of numerous socket holes which clearly housed further large stones. These are particularly clearly visible between stones i and iv. Just to the north west of these are traces of a shallow ditch which seems to have partially encircled the stone circle itself.
Running in a southerly direction from the centre of the stone circle, and just west of stone ii, extending about 100 metres south beyond the perimeter of the stone circle itself, appears to be a hollow way.
The sheer scale of this circle makes it harder than most to understand. It must be about 150 metres in diameter, and the slight rise in the middle of the circle means that not all the stones are visible from all viewpoints. Once you get the hang of it, this is arguably the finest remaining stone circle in Lancashire. The stones themselves are huge, and it's a pity that no more of them remain. The location is fabulous.
The substantial cairn, described as a bronze age barrow in the scheduled list, is located in a field along with several extremely large stones which form neither a circle nor an alignment. I too went in search of a circle (this is referred to in ARCHI and the scheduled monuments list at MAGIC), but came to the conclusion that the grid references each referred to one of the large stones. Some of the stones appear to have linear carvings on them (possibly more recent or the result of weathering, but teasing nonetheless). Views over Morecambe Bay and down towards Leighton Hall and Moss are spectacular.
I had read two extremely vague references to this site, on one of my trawls for sites on the web, both saying this was a Stone Circle. I could find absolutely no reference to this site in any of Burl's books however, which had alarm bells ringing for me. I jotted the site's grid ref. down anyway, along with a load of others, before setting off with MrsIM for a day out. We were in the Carnforth area, after visiting Heysham Head and so decided we may as well visit. We wandered round the field a few times, using my GPS as a guide (which was playing up). No joy. I was however very excited by the sight of five huge stones, similar to the nearby Three Brothers. We soon came across a mound, which on further inspection we realised gave this site it's name because on it's top are the remains of a brick summer-house. The mound itseld however looked suspiciously like a huge cairn, right down to the retaining kerb of large stones. I decided this couldn't be it - no way could you mistake this for a stone circle. Another frustrating twenty minutes led to no further discoveries - other than the remains of an old lime-kiln at the far end of the field. We decided our time hadn't been wasted when we walked past the field edge and saw the view out across Morecambe Bay - it's quite something. We were even able to make out the rough location of The Druid's Circle of Ulverston.
On the way back to the car we made another inspection of the summerhouse, and I decided that this must be the site in question, and that the references I'd come across were just plain wrong. The five stones which had me excited earlier, when viewed from the top of the mound formed a semi-circle with the mound itself roughly in the centre. I took some photos as the rain started to pour heavier and heavier, then our rumbling stomachs got the better of us and we decided to get to Lancaster for some grub in The Water Witch.
Looking at the maps again, I'm sure I've missed the actual site - a cairn seems to be marked off at the opposite end of the field on MultiMap and on my Explorer map the location of the 'cairn' is very confusing. I'll try and clear this up as soon as possible!
In 1935 Yealand archaeologist Colonel Oliver North carried out a survey of the site. He plotted the position of 6 limestone boulders and demonstrated that 4 of them were on the circumference of a circle 460 feet in diameter. He also noted depressions in the ground which might have housed other stones from the circle. Two remaining stones could conceivably have formed part of an outer ring, and were both about 330 feet from the centre of the supposed monument. Colonel North detected what he thought might be a large ditch on the north-western side of the circle. And he speculated that some of the large stones used as foundations for the Rawlinson summerhouse might have been pillaged from the stone circle. Others have suggested that summerhouse was itself built upon a cairn.
There has never been an archaeological dig on the site and some experts are not convinced that the stones are anything other than lime-stone boulders randomly deposited by a retreating glacier. But Summerhouse Hill is an atmospheric place.
Leighton Moss Ice Age To Present Day by Andy Denwood (Published 2014)