From the A595 take the B5343 towards Seascale. Before reaching the village take the turning on the right signposted Calder. About 1km along this road you will cross over a stream (there is a metal barrier either side of the road at this point). The tops of the stones can be seen away in the distance to your left (west).
On the approach road to Calder (and its entrance into the nuclear power station) there is a warning sign stating that you are not allowed to stop or park. I of course chose to ignore this and after instructing Karen where to pull over onto the verge, left the car with a cheery ‘if the police come and ask you what you are doing just tell them I have nipped over to see the stone circle!’ You can imagine the look of disproval on Karen’s face!
Not only has the public footpath sign been removed but someone (the farmer?) has put barbed wire across what was the access point. They clearly don’t want visitors here.
Undeterred I climbed over and headed across the field towards the derelict building. The field next to this was full of bullocks so I stayed well clear! The next field was full of wheat so I skirted around the edge until I came out on the far side. This is where you will find the stone circle. A 10 minute walk from the road.
Although the grass around the circle was short, the grass between the stones and inside the circle itself was long and rough. In the distance the white breakers in the choppy sea could be seen. However, dominating everything is the large power station and its unfriendly (but necessary) rows of fencing and barbed wire.
The stone nearest the sea looked to me to have been struck by lightening? The top and side was blackened and a chunk had broken off. A crack runs through part of the stone. I can’t think of anything else which would have caused this?
Unfortunately due to the access difficulties I had a feeling that this is an unloved, unwelcoming and rarely visited site. No doubt unlike the nearby golf course.
Try to visit if you can as these stones if you can as they need all the TLC they can get.
Like many others, I guess, I'd always found excuses NOT to go to Greycroft..... mostly since I imagined myself being like Winston in 1984, under constant surveillance from Big Brother and suddenly hearing that totalitarian voice bark out 'stop right where you are!' as I bunked the barbed-wire fence. Hmm, perhaps not, then. Coward.....
It's therefore great to be able to confirm Fitz's October 2007 experience that Greycroft is now officially 'on limits' (about time too and so gracious). It is also quite simply a fantastic stone circle facing out to sea, which in any other circumstances would have been top of the list many years ago.
Anyway on a Saturday teeming with rain - nowt else to do, so why not finally have a go? - I head for Seascale and take the southern approach road towards the 'Works', as my OS map somewhat ludicrously describes the power station. Looking for the footpath sign it's nowhere to be seen, so I do a three point turn in front of the main gate, tailed by a Police car as I do so (obviously also with nowt else to do). Noting that this road is a clearway, I decide to park back down the road at the entrance to the bridleway leading to How Farm and walk back to the bridge. Here a stile is set unobtrusively below to the left. Cross this, head beyond the ruined mill and you'll eventually come to another stile allowing access to the circle.
Despite being sandwiched between two very unsavoury things - golf course and power station - Greycroft nonetheless has a really great vibe today. The tree screen is working wonders with reducing the visual impact of the latter, the weather keeping most of the muppets away from the former.
Having just heard news that Sellafield is set to receive another nuclear power station in the not too distant future, I'd suggest now is the time to get yourself here and take a look at this beauty before the mutant cows take over!
I first listed this as a comment but feel it needs its own place. We tried to visit Greycroft at the end of August 2007 and parked the car facing that eyesore, that is Sellafield, as soon as we pulled up and were getting ready for our nice walk to the circle, we were immediately set upon by armed police, asking us what we had in mind? After about thirty minutes of questions on various topics, Where you from? Where you going? Where you been? Even our poor old dog, tofu was interrogated, after satisfying himself that we didn't in fact want to blow up the ex power station, Officer Friendly went about his business, leaving me the wife and dog shaken up slightly to say the least. We decided not to venture to the site after all and leave it for another time, and hopefully not getting banged up in the process.
I'd never visited Greycroft before yesterday, its unsalubrious neighbour and other peoples bad experiences had always given me an excuse to be somewhere else. However I decided to put all this aside and get myself there.
The circle can be seen from the road and access was a doddle and hassle free. I parked up on the main road just beside the bridge and took the signed footpath along the stream past the ruined mill house. The lovely farmer has erected a stile on the field beside the circle with a noticeboard highlighting the permissive pathway to the ring.
The stones themselves are a bit knocked about but lovely all the same. Nine of the ten stones are agglomerate which has weathered with a pinkish patina. A number of the stones have been damaged and you can see the original colour of the stone is a dark grey. The most southerly stone is sandstone and continues the Cumbrian ring builders liking for including an 'exotic' in amongst the natives.
The great thing about this circle is the views and the way it balances the sea on one side and the distant fells on the other. It was also nice to see that the woods that line the bank between the ring and the power station have now matured and block out most of the view of its dark satanic neighbour.
All in all, a lovely circle with nice views, well worth a visit. Access may be a problem if you are unable to climb a couple of stiles or negotiate a narrow, irregular path.
Visited Greycroft on 22 July 2006. In fact we just had a sight of it from the adjoining Seascale golf course. The ninth tee is the nearest point of the course to the stone circle, visible around a hundred yards away but not directly accessible because of wire boundary fences, and somewhat overgrown. There is no other obvious viewpoint from elsewhere on the golf course. I only had time to take a couple of photographs before disappearing down the nionth hole, so it was hard to form any detailed impressions.
Visited 15th August 2004: We decided to approach Greycroft from the east, but weren't ready for the eeriness of approaching the nuclear power station down the main access road. Wide and straight, the road has 'ready for trouble' stamped all over it.
We parked near Seascale Hall (specifically NY040027) and took the footpath under the access road. This turned out to be a bad idea because the underpass was very muddy and culminated in a field with a big bull in it. We edged into the adjoining field, which was probably a good idea anyway because the footpath (now on the other side of the fence) looked impassable.
Skirting the perimeter of the field that Greycroft Circle sits in, we went past the point where the footpath goes onto the golf course (that looked impassable too because of giant bracken, so glad we didn't approach that way). We kept on skirting the perimeter of the field (spotting a Grass Snake on the way) and eventually landed up to the south of the circle. This was the point at which there is the least cultivated land between the field boundary and the stone, so we went for it, following an existing path through the crops.
OK, that's how we got there. It took quite a while, especially as it was hot and the kids were tired. As for the place itself, well I think everyone except me thought it was rubbish. Even I'd have to admit that the circle is a tad disappointing. Knowing that it's heavily 'reconstructed' doesn't help much. Basically you're faced with a load of randomly placed boulders in a field near a nuclear power station. While I wanted to be struck by the way the site has withstood centuries of abuse, I couldn't muster it. It has to be said that although the power station is menacing, Greycroft would still be a sad place to visit even if it weren't there.
On the way back I tried to cheer the boys up by collecting golf balls (recommended as a pick-you-up). We went over the access road on our return journey, avoiding a load of bull.
I'd never turned off to Greycroft before despite being in the area quite often - a combination of Foot & Mouth restrictions and expecting to be disappointed with the location - but I was far from disappointed. We parked just by the bridge to the east of the circle and followed the path round with a cheery wave from the farmer on his digger in the next field. The bank to the north attempting to hide the power station looks much more part of the landscape than the pictures I'd seen, and a fabulous crisp clear morning gave views across to the Isle of Man and over the snow capped Cumbrian mountains. Look east, look west. Close your eyes to the north, and to the golfers to the south.
[visited 31/5/4] Strictly not a visit as I only managed to get within 15 metres of the circle due to it being in crop. Access is poor, you could be best off parking on the street near the golf course and walking down the right hand side of the course. There is a stile into the field with the circle towards sellafield. A note on the site security guards, they drove past me carrying a large telephoto lense and didn't even blink, so I think the golfer mentioned here, should be ignored. :)
Oh and I had another encounter with evil cows (tm) as I walked through their field between the circle and the access road. Beware the cows!
'I've steadfastly never been anywhere near Sellafield for health reasons and I let that guard down to go to Greycroft stone circle beside it. We walked across the edge of a golf course to get to it. Just short of it I took a photo so as to capture the cows in the centre of the circle before we scared them off then we continued walking to the fence to climb over. This golfer comes over saying "excuse me, did I see you taking a photograph!" (the power station wasn't even in the shot!); "its illegal to take photos of nuclear installations"; "I work for Sellafield" (he had it emblazoned on his top. he's so up for a fight, you can see it in the way he walks and talks); "I'm going to report you".
Its such a lovely circle. Large stones, magnificent mountains behind. But a cow feeder in the middle; a herd of cows congregated in the thick muddy interior, not moving.
And Sellafield NPS beside it and all the outrage that provokes in me, of all places that sat, polluting us in such an insipid way.
We leave so angered. What a horrid experience. A lovely stone circle so clothed in reasons not to be there.'
Visited this in August this year and did not have any access problems.
Reading the previous post and Burl's notes, it sounds as if both tried to access the circle from the footpath running past How Farm.
I took the road to Seascale Hall and parked at the gate where the footpath from the W joins it (roughly NY040027). Following the footpath under the road and along Newmill Beck both avoids any fences and, until the last minute, views of Sellafield.
This is a strange place. As I drove down the A595 the sight of the Sellafield in the distance was enough to make me nervous and I was unsure if I even wanted to visit the circle at all. I drove down towards Seascale and turned off onto the wide and deserted road that leads up the entrance on the southeast side of the works and got close to the main gates while looking for somewhere to park. There are signs warning of no parking on the verges and I got the impression that the road was designed to handle a lot of traffic – but there wasn’t any. Then the penny dropped – part of the purpose of the road was to allow a rapid evacuation of the site in an emergency…
I eventually found a lay-by or passing place on a small road that leads north to Seascale Hall and left my car there, unsure if it would have been towed away while I was at the circle. Walking down the road had me constantly looking over my shoulder – maybe it is just my imagination but this place seems to have a real sense of paranoia about it. You’re conscious of the air you breathe, I found myself sticking a finger in the air to see which way the wind was blowing. Getting onto the public footpath that leads west to the coast gave a little relief – if challenged I could at least wave my map and claim access rights to the path. However once I reached a deserted farm house (why was it deserted?) the path followed around the side of the field that holds the circle and it was necessary to climb the barbed wire fence and walk over the crop which luckily was only a set-aside rough grass (I hope). As for the circle itself it consists of 10 chunky boulders which Burl says average 130cm in height and it has some pleasant views of the sea to the west, but to be honest I had no intention of staying here to investigate any longer than I had to – I took my photos, scribbled some notes and left. I’m probably doing the circle a big disservice but the whole place just gave me the creeps and it’s not somewhere I’ll come back to in a hurry. Sorry Greycroft.
This should be one of the most beautifully located circles and still manages to retain some dignity in the face of such a monstrous neighbour. You get the feeling this place is just totally UnLoved.
On this particular day (02.01.01ce) we drove round to the Sellafield Visitor Centre car park to check the map, then drove round the other side of the Power Station, where the circle is located. Two clean-cut squaddy types in Land Rovers followed us right the way round then continued past us to the Sellafield entrance next to the circle. Next a security guy drove past as we walked down the footpath. On our return a copper drove past us as we got back in the car. Sure enough he was waiting further down the road and proceeded to follow us for a further 3 miles, presumably 'til we were safely away from Sellafield. I presume there's heightened security at the moment, but two clowns struggling to fold up an OS map on a deserted car park, and then trudging through fields to a stone circle, seems like quite an unlikely threat!
Some facts & figures:
- This circle was buried in 1820 by the tenant farmer and resurrected by a local school master in 1949.
- An axe from near snakes pass was found buried close to a North Eastern stone.
- The outlier (currently not outlying) was suggested (presumably by Thom) as a pointer to the star Deneb. It also lay just off true North of the circle.
- When the circle was re-errected a burial cairn was found in the centre of the circle, made largely of red granite cobbles. This cairn contained birch and hazel charcoal, fragments of human bone, bracken and six hawthorne berries suggesting an autumnal cremation. It also contained a jet ring, most likely from the whitby area.