a very beautiful walk, with stones of interesting sizes and shapes. this place is also within walking distance of the hellstone and hampton down stone cicle, all of which can be walked between easily if you park in the layby next to the farm in between the hellstone and hampton down stone circle. when we were there the weather changed between snow and bright sunshine and the stones seemed to change dramatically with the light.
[visited 27/12/02] If ever a sacred site existed in Dorset this is it. Parking by Littlebredy farm (SY595883) at the mouth of the valley, I set off expecting a few large rocks in a field, I got a wonderful example of nature.
First off is the remains of a banked enclosure; guardpost, salesroom or temple, who knows. Then the train of stones starts, slowly at first like a small recumbent stone row and then it picks up as you head round into a small jumble of stones. Keeping on going the jumble continues into the undergrowth, not many stones visible, kinda like someone had created a freeform megalithic sculpture.
Then it happens, you reach a fence and on the other side is a huge number of stones stretching 1/2 a mile distant along the valley floor. There are some stones bigger than any upright in Dorset, just scattered about liberally. The stones go up one side of the valley wall and the suggestion to my mind is the hill to the left with these huge rocks poking out of it could be full of megaliths.
About half way along the valley floor is a cleared circular space about 15-20 metres across. Its not complete however as at least one stone pokes towards the centre, perhaps whoever cleared it stopped removing stones... It looks man-made and is I presume the 'mystical stone circle' the information board at the start of the walk talks about.
Heading back I spotted what could be another circle, though my brain may have been making circles out of anything at this point! This is at the end of the first field, just before the path heads to the right. You need to stand in the far corner from it to see some of the stones as they are hidden from the other direction by a small bank. This 'circle' is much smaller, maybe 2-3 metres across.
It's kind of a Valley with Stones in. Unambiguous or what. Got lost looking for the Grey Mare but found some long barrows at the northern easterly end of the Black Down enclosure. Fine view down the valley.
On our way back home to South Wales we made a quick stop-off to have a look at the Valley of Stones.
There is room for one car to park next to the sign post directing you to the valley. There is an information board giving an overview of the valley and how it was formed.
I was hoping to see a 'river of stones' flowing down the valley. I was hoping to use this to help explain to Dafydd and Sophie how the Ice Age helped shape the landscape etc. Unfortunately from our lofty perch we couldn't see any stones! No doubt had we had the time to have walked down the valley we would have seen plenty! However, I was still able to use the landscape to help aid my talk. At least Dafydd found it a bit interesting. Sophie was more interested in the four horses we had passed and was desperate to try to smooth them!
In a paper published in the journal Antiquity (June 1939) entitled "Stone and Earth Circles in Dorset", Stuart & CM Piggott had this to say about The Valley of the Stones.
"This is a most interesting, roughly D-shaped enclosure made of small closely-set stones, and it seems likely that it is to be associated with the surrounding lynchet system, and to have been a cattle enclosure of Iron Age or later date."