Back in October 2005, following Podofdonny's post on the South Kirkby Hillfort notes about a mysterious circle nearby at Brierley, I thought I'd explore and here is what I found:
Setting out from the South Kirkby Hillfort car park, walk or drive up Holmsley Lane towards Brierley. Turn right at the junction and then into the lay-by immediately in front of the waste recycling centre. To the right of the WRC is a gateway with car park (no signs). At the back of the car park is an ornate gateway and a standing stone can be seen behind it on the horizon. The gateway says "SESKU Environmental Group" and there is an image of a presumably celtic couple (see photo above). This is the Brierley Gap entrance to the Ringways Path, a 13 mile environmental project and pathway in the area.
Go through the gateway (ignoring the graffitti and trying not to trip over the burnt out remnants of various fridges, bedsteads, computers, etc) and walk up the field to the circle. Grid Ref SE 430 105
There is one standing stone and nine recumbent stones, seven of which are laid to form a circle, the other two being inside the circle towards the area of the standing stone.
The site immediately overlooks South Kirkby Hillfort (see photo) to the West, and the area of Ferrybridge Henge is visible to the North (see photo -look for the plumes of smoke on the horizon - this is Ferrybridge C powerstation.
Whoever built this was certainly aware of its position in the landscape. It's a cracking spot.
But that is what worries me - it's all a bit too self-aware. Is this really the lost stone circle?
All seven outlying recumbent stones seem to be almost identical in size and cut. It is not shown on any maps, and is not recorded anywhere, even though the standing stone is visible from the road.
It is conspicuous in its absence from the definitive local history guide "Brererley: A history of Brierley" by M.R. Watson and M. Harrisson 1976 / 2003, even though they cover the nearby hillfort at South Kirkby in some detail.
And it has it's own very ornate gate. Is it a bit of modern landscaping by the council?
It's all a bit strange. Can anyone else shed any light on this mystery?
Subsequently the merlin has posted an answer in January 2007 under miscellaneous on the South Kirkby Hillfort notes - it was part of a regeneration project in the 1990s. Still, one can see the appeal of the location for the lost stone circle on Ringstone Hill given its setting in the landscape.