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Hethpool Stone Circle

Stone Circle

<b>Hethpool Stone Circle</b>Posted by postmanImage © Chris Bickerton
Nearest Town:Coldstream (13km NW)
OS Ref (GB):   NT892278 / Sheet: 74
Latitude:55° 32' 37.16" N
Longitude:   2° 10' 16.22" W

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<b>Hethpool Stone Circle</b>Posted by postman <b>Hethpool Stone Circle</b>Posted by postman <b>Hethpool Stone Circle</b>Posted by postman <b>Hethpool Stone Circle</b>Posted by postman <b>Hethpool Stone Circle</b>Posted by Hob <b>Hethpool Stone Circle</b>Posted by Hob


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Only a tadd difficult to find as the immediate route to it is on two OS maps, just follow the dead end side lane to Hethpool, keeping to the main branch when you cross a cattle grid parking is immediately left, in the big car park.
From here it was difficult to see the stones, theyre less than a metre high (bar one) and really well camoflagued amongst the fearless sheep, and I mean fearless they wouldnt budge a bit.
Fortunately there is a black and white map at the carpark showing just where the stones are, about 150 metres up the single track.
These stone circles have been badly wrecked and now are only just recognisable as such, well one of them is, the other is so wrecked that we must take it on trust that this is two circles.
The first and best of the two has now only five stones, unless a couple are much smaller than the others and were expertly hid by strangely unafraid sheep, it reminded me of a small Twelve Apostles near Dumfries.
At the time I was there I was ignorant of there being two circles, and I presumed that the tallest stone here was an outlier, and the two low stones nearby just an oddity, but both Hob and Burl state quite clearly that there were two circles.
I scrambled up the next to them hillside for a better look around and over the site, and discovered that this is a nice place and if the two circles were still complete, it would be a grand place. The close and audible river, the hills dissappearing into the distance (and the mist) and Yeavering Bell too. That hillfort and Old Bewick convinced me to come back as soon as possible,
I wont hold my breath its been maybe seven years since I last said that.
postman Posted by postman
8th August 2011ce
Edited 8th August 2011ce

There are actually two ruined circles. They're on a flat gravel plain, in a sheltered valley, next to a river. The access is good, as there is a car park at the edge of the field. There's even an information board, which curiously makes no mention of the circles.
The northern circle is almost totally wrecked, with only a couple of boulders standing to over 1m. The circles are the largest I've found in Northumberland, and quite unlike those to the south on the Whin Sill, and very different from that at Duddo. They don't even bear a passing resemblance to the nearest circle across the hills at Five Stanes.

The southern circle is slightly better preserved, but still has only 9 stones easily found. And 7 are now recumbent, though the packing stones around them indicate this was not always so. There are other stones buried beneath both circles. It's difficult to say if these were always such open circles, as there were a lot of stones removed in medieval times. Smaller ones would leave no trace. There is a artificial bank leading down to the river, and building on the other side, so this might be a place to look for any of the missing stones.
Hob Posted by Hob
18th March 2004ce


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The EH RSM report states that the stones are still in their original positions, based on the presence of the packing stones at their bases. The damage to the circle took place in the medieval period when the field was farmed. Presumably this didn't last long, as the start of the border reiver period would have made this prime raiding territory, and arable farming would not have been easy when your neighbours keep stealing all your crops.

The EH report also says that the south circle has a diameter of 61m by 42.7 m, with an average interval of 16-20m between the stones, if those detected by sub-surface probes are included, though it doesn't actually say how many are underground in the south circle. It goes on to say that the north circle is 60m by 45m, and 6 buried stones have been detected.
Hob Posted by Hob
18th March 2004ce