12/09/2015 - Not much to add to everyone else's fieldnotes apart from to say I've been here and you know, I thought it was just great. Weather was a bit dull and rainy on the way there but luckily it stopped just as we arrived. I don’t know why but I wasn't that excited about this one beforehand. Really went because it is so well known and I liked the name. A few people there when we arrived but we soon had the circle to ourselves. The longer I spent just dawdling around the stones, the more the place grew on me. Long Meg is a lovely big stone and some of the stones that make up this massive circle are just great. There is one big dobby stone on the west side near to where we parked that I really liked. All in all, a great visit and a fantastic circle.
Tuesday 24th June 2011 - we drive over to Penrith temporarily leaving the Lakes and mountains behind. There is a Radio4 programme on the car radio about Bob Dylan who is 70 today so it is to the strains of "Like a Rolling Stone" we set off from the village of Little Salkend in the Eden Valley to visit Long Meg & Her Daughters. The Pennines are to our right as we walk up the track, it's a gusty cloud-skudding day, my companion identifies the sound of a curlew.
Much has been written about Log Meg and the stone circle known has Her Daughters - its diameter is between 100 and 93 metres putting it amongst the biggest stone circles in Britain. Long Meg is an irregular four sided pillar of local red sandstone whilst the circle stones are the granite rock rhyolite. Long Meg is 3.6 metres high and is partially covered in silver crystalisations and lichen. Famously it has three examples of rock art on one side of its surfaces - a cup and ring with gutter, a spiral, and some incomplete concentric circles.
After spending some time walking around the circle and looking at Long Meg from various angles, we make our way through a couple of fields to Little Meg - a very small granite stone circle in a nearby field. Then on to the small red sandstone church of St Michael's and All Angels, Addington which oddly stands away from any sizeable village inside a walled churchyard. A hefty shower blew across so we took shelter inside the church for a bit - I found the following passage in a booklet about the church (author not stated, though revised in 2010).
"Standing on the route towards the Tyne Gap, Long Meg is one of the eight circle henges along the 350 miles between Fife and Wiltshire which share similar characteristics. Each has a large open ring within a smallish henge and each is on a trackway of Neolithic occupation.
Some 200 Neolithic people are thought to have occupied the areas immediately around the Lake district mountains. Long Meg herself stands in the right place to relate to a midwinter sunset but only if seen from the middle of the ring with a flattened arc, making its centre difficult to determine. Yet such was the skill of the ring builders that Long Meg is aligned so that the winter sun would have set exactly over it. For this to happen its top would have to rise clear of the skyline, hence Long Meg's height".
I had lost my heart to Castlerigg a few days earlier so Long Meg & Her Daughters in the pastural Eden Valley didn't make the impact I had expected - its odd how some stone circles immediately touch something within whilst others leave you pondering and puzzled.
(Photos to follow when I return home at the weekend).
One of those sites you drive right up next to - in this case, even through it! Easy to park and obviously easy access. The circle is huge and Long Meg itself is very impressive. This is one of the best stone circles I have visited. Highly recommended.
I visited Long Meg for the winter solstice sunset on the 22.12.07 and noticed that someone had attacked Long Meg with a sharp object causing a series of peck marks and in the process chipping of a small amount of stone.
A great way to spoil a lovely day.
Two day whistle-stop Cumbrian tour which included Castlerigg & Blakeley Topping amongst others, but also taking my partner on her first visit to Long Meg. We had sun, sleet, snow, hail & thunder in the space of an hour.
But this visit I had a thought. Isn't Long Meg rather phallic? If the circle is female, having a phallic outlier (as many others including Nine Ladies & the 'King' stone on Stanton Moor) would seem quite natural to me.
Sad felled & cut tree at the bottom of the circle. May be storm damage, but very recent. The tree fall must have damaged the bottom stones though.
One note about toilets too. Back through Little Salkend to Langwathby (5 mins drive) is railway station (on Settle Carlisle line) Toilets (inc disabled there) although you will feel obliged to eat at the 'Brief Encounter' tea rooms. Worth it though.
I never tire of this place. Been here more than any other ancient site. It sometimes looks exactly as the last visit, other times it's seemed totally different, like a different place, depending on the season/weather etc.
For the sake of a change, we decided to approach this time from the east. Not wise, the roads are narrow, the bends tight and the tractors large. In future, I think the more sensible route from Little Salkeld is the way to approach, it has signposts and everything. It even used to have piles of gravel to block solstice access to hippy vehicles, but I think they're gone or overgrown now (the piles of gravel, not the hippies).
Tombo makes ref to a possible recumbent figure to the west. I've wondered if this is Lazonby Moor (it must be...). Annoyingly, the air was muggy on this visit, so I couldn't check, but I recall a december with crystal clear air, and low light, where the recumbent figure was unmistakable.
This time I noticed the increased shinyness of the spiral carvings, presumably from traces of fingertip skin cells accumulated over the years. Maybe one day this will be C14 dated by future archaeologists to prove the stone was erected in the early 21st century.
[visited 31/5/4] This is a cracker and in the low sideways light, Long Meg itself comes into its own, its spirals clearly visible even from a distance. Access could only be better if they built a track round the stones, you can after all park inside the circle. After 5 minutes here, I decided this was a cracker. Huge stones Avebury size, in a massive circle. Its reminiscent of Stanton Drew, both being colossal and bizarrely on slight slopes. This really is a circle to spend a day at watching the world go past.
Unfortunately I only had a cursory look, walked the circle, admired the spirals and left cursing the god that made each day only have 24 hours.
Parking: There is a small parking scoop
Toilets: Nearest disabled people's toilets are probably in Penrith, approximately 7 miles away
Access to Long Meg: The Long Meg standing stone is approximately 100 yards from the car parking scoop, across longish, bumpy grass (watch out for cow pats!). Manual wheelchair users may need assistance. There are no gates or stiles. There is immediate access to the stone circle from the narrow tarmac road that runs through the middle of the circle, though getting around the whole circle may be difficult as some of the ground is uneven (the circle is large – over 100 yards diameter)
Cost: There is no charge.
The stones are large and well-spaced, though some of the ground around the stones is uneven.
There were 3 other groups of visitors, during the 40 minutes that we spent with Long Meg and her daughters.
There is something very domestic about the setting of this circle, as it is surrounded by trees and has a narrow road running through it, which leads to the farm at the far side of the field. There is also something very complete – a clear circle, with Long Meg herself watching over her daughters from the top of the slope. The spirals on Long Meg are fairly clear and complete – slightly surprised at this as it is usually the spirals on Little Meg that are written about. The rain held off whilst we visited her, though it was cool, breezy and overcast. Dorothy felt like Meg was waiting for visitors and she was very energised by her.
The size is everything. Great circle but after Castlerigg and before Sunkenkirk which I visited the next day you realise the location is the key factor in determining your favourite circle. I only made it 66 stones by the way Julian.
Breathtaking . . . stunning . . . bewitching; I was bowled over by this site. After a few sharp turns round country roads, the stones suddenly appeared, the size of the place became evident, and the impulse to get amongst them was huge. Like the delightful Jane, I was out the other side of the car before it stopped moving, haring up the slope before the handbrake had been applied. Thank the stars for a very understanding driver!
Long Meg herself is wonderfully powerful, and a fabulous embodiment of the Earth Goddess. She’s constructed from red sandstone, contrasting wonderfully with the Daughters (or Lovers). I found her superbly pregnant, and so intriguing.As was the circle itself. The most obvious thing was the total lack of a sense of scale, which was very weird. Also fascinating is its construction on a slope, so that it was impossible to see the whole of it in one go – from certain angles, anyway. Had the earth shifted since it was built? Whatever, it certainly contributed to a fascinating energy.
And this energy became very prevalent when I began taking photos. (No word of a lie, it interfered completely with my composition, which was very bizarre. Even when applying the rules of composition, many of the stones said “No, we’d look better in mirror image; which you can’t do, so there!”) I wondered if it was because I was walking anti-clockwise round the inside of the circle, so tried it different ways, but I still didn’t feel entirely happy with what I was photographing. I remarked on this to Mum (who had waited to get out of the car, once it had come to a complete halt), and she said “Well, maybe you’re not supposed to be photographing from inside the circle; they might not be looking in, but looking out.” So I tried that, and it all flowed together much more easily. Switched on woman, my Mum.
And the Goddess seemed to approve of Mum's take on things, because literally out of nowhere in a dark and cloudy sky, the sun miraculously broke through, blessing us all with twenty minutes of gorgeous modelling light. Hooray! (Jane and the rest of the party told me later that I was running around like a mad woman, yelping with glee, and pumping loads of film through the camera). No Spaniards, either. (See Castlerigg . . . )I guess I just naturally assumed all stone circles were facing inwards – of course, it makes infinitely more sense to have them facing out, thereby protecting the energy within. (OK, so a few of us are slow on the uptake).
Whatever was going on, Long Meg and Her Daughters/Lovers is a magnificent site, and worth a Cumbrian weekend away as soon as possible! Prepare to be spellbound and enchanted; meanwhile, I’ll wait for my photos to be developed – and I get the feeling that they’re not going to be *quite* what I’m expecting . . .
I’d only planned a quick visit to Long Meg this time but ended up staying far too long. The circle is a real grower and every visit seems to turn up something I haven’t noticed before, perhaps it’s the way that it’s difficult to see the whole circle at any one time, the gentle slope and the trees near to the track always seem to obscure some of the stones. The small size of the field makes trying to get a wider perspective of the site impossible too. Two things struck me this time, the first was the sheer size of some of the stones, they seems much larger than I’d remembered them. The other thing was that Long Meg is offset from the entrance stones, again I’d not really noticed that before. Burl suggests the stone was here before the circle based on the fact that the flat face with the carvings is 20 degrees off from the perpendicular of the axis through the centre of the circle. My own feeling, not based on any evidence, is that it may be the other way round, the circle was already here when an existing expanse of carvings were quarried out of bedrock (or even a boulder like Copt Howe) and brought to the site as Long Meg, some of the carving seem to run off the edge of the stone and the whole design looks like it should be rotated 90 degrees. The carvings themselves which are on just one side seem to be arranged in 3 groups. Those at the bottom consist of a spiral, an unfinished spiral or set of rings and above that a semi-circle of rings. The middle section is clearer and has a prominent set of concentric circles and a spiral below and to the right as well as some other fainter rings and grooves. The mid-upper section is faint but has a spiral and worn or shallow rings – there are also quite a few straight and curved grooves that may form an unrecognised design but natural marks over the whole of the surface add to the confusion. There don’t appear to be any marks on the top section of the rock.
Stan Beckensall mentions other marks on some of the stones in the circle but he’s not quite clear where they are. He talks about stones to the west of the road and as the road passes through both sides of the circle this could be either side. From his illustrations I think he means the side closest to the farmhouse with the marked stones being numbers 5, 6 and 7 counting west from the road, I can’t be sure as I couldn’t see any definite marks on any of them.
9 August 2003
This was only the second time I've been to Long Meg, though it has to be said that there aren't many sites I've been to more than once – there're too many 'new' ones to see!
I must admit I'd forgotten just what a high profile site this is and, stupidly, I was a bit shocked, for a moment at least, to see other people there!
Luckily of course the circle is more than big enough to swallow up a few sets of visitors without it being a problem. It helped that all the visitors that came and went while we were there looked very interested in the stones and the site rather than just wandering around in the disinterested way you sometimes see.
This is such a beautiful site, despite the metalled farm road through it. I can't imagine ever becoming used to its sheer size and general impressiveness. I got exactly the same feeling as my other visit, around 8 years ago – it seems a particularly peaceful spot.
No, that's not right Little Meg is peaceful, Long Meg is… calm, if you see the difference. I know what I mean.
Came up on the Winter solstice after Castlerigg, after getting lost(again) on the country roads arrived and ambled straight over the long meg hereself, her spirals seemed more pronounced than the last time I visited.
Long Meg and Her Daughters (or lovers?) is a great place considering the damage that the ignorant have attempted in the past. The sky here always seems and feel vast when I'm here.
Long Meg and her Daughters was a very pleasant place for me. I hadn't quite appreciated that it was so big. I had gotten used to going to all these weird and messed up barrows, cairns, lone stones and circles in all sorts of places that I had temporarily forgotten that there are also some mighty impressive double barrelled, full fat, high caffeine big mutha circles out there.
I found this site not quite so simple to find as people say, especially spotting the very sharp left turn (if travelling from the village of Little Salkend) to get onto the final road towards the site. Parking is limited and can be very muddy (on the edge of the field just after cattle grid).
Finally made it to Long Meg last weekend after several aborted attempts over the last 2 years. I am so pleased we waited until now though as everything seemed just right.
As we approached we both started to feel a tingle of excitment, wondering whether the site would live up to our expectations and then suddenly, we were almost in the middle of it! The vastness and the sudden realisation that you are about to drive straight through the middle of it is amazing! Unusally, we were the only 2 people there and we just went quiet at the beauty and size of it. Then we started jumping up and down with excitement and had to calm oursleves before exploring further. The trees are magnificent, the surrounding views with the clouds heavy with rain yet sat in a blue sky, incredible. We walked around the cirlce and it seemed to get bigger and bigger. The smiles on our faces were doing the same!
We sat there, in the cold wind and just talked about finally being there, watching the rain filled clouds moving closer and then the most beautiful rainbow appeared - magical! the rain never actually arrived, but moved away and we really felt like we had witnessed nature putting on a private show for us in the most beautiful "theatre" imaginable.
Un-bloody-believeable! I had already jumped out of the car before it stopped moving I was so excited! (Ummm, someone else was driving...) The stones, the scale, the vibe, the strange angle on the hillside, the feeling of somehow 'coming home'. But I felt a great rush of disloyalty to my favourite 'local' sites of the Rollrights and Wayland Smithy as Long Meg, and more to the point, her daughters instantly captured my heart. It looked liked someone else's heart had been recently captured there too, as we found a pair of knickers at the base of one of the stones...
We felt a very strong sense of enclosure at this site, as if instead of looking inwards, as many stone circles appear to, this site looked outwards, safeguarding the interior sacred space, and as if Long Meg herself was supervising the circle's activities like a sentinel, protecting the spirit within.
Because of it's vastness, I found it incredibly difficult to paint, however, I did manage one sketch.
We visited Long Meg on the 9th of Feb,2002,in the driving rain.The first things which struck us were the beautiful,old trees,with fluttering prayer ties.One of the oaks in the circle has recently lost a large,central bough,the remain of which lies,shattered,at its feet.It still retains its vitality,though,even if the splintered,yellow wood looks shocking.
The road through the circle didn't upset me,the way I had expected it to,as its curve gave a crescent moon quality to the place.The different types of stone,some smooth,some gnarly,some jagged,some pockmarked or crisscrossed with quartz,got my mind to thinking about the mystery of our island's "erratics",something which stone circles draw me back to,again and again.The gathering of these odd stones seems to be as important as the structured they are placed in.
Long Meg,herself,felt like an add-on,much younger than her so-called daughters.I,too,felt that there was a missing partner.Whatever,this is a special site.Not even the bitter cold,and driving rain,could disguise that.Visit Long Meg.I am lucky to be working nearby for 2 weeks,in March.Maybe I will get the chance to see if the stone my daughter named the "Sunbathing Stone"is aptly named.See you there!
I stopped at Long Meg last August, on the drive from my home in Bristol to Galloway, where I was brought up.
I took some photos, including one of Long Meg against the sun. I used flash so that I'd get some detail of the stone. To my eye, and other people I've shown it to agree, there is a definite face visible.
I haven't scanned it yet but I'll try to do that soon. Just in case anybody suspects I've altered the photo, the original slide is available for inspection by julian if he wants to drop me a line.
I took a break from a long drive home, to visit this site exactly 2 years ago in November 1999.
As I drove up to the stones, the vastness of this site hit me with a delicious excitement.
I was on a tight schedule unfortunately so I could only stay less than half an hour.
I walked around and around and in the circle, sitting on and touching the stones. I felt this place had an incredible spirituality and I so wanted to stay. You could spend the whole day here.
And after reading in the Modern Antiquarian about the attempts to destroy this place, being there, with the track going through the giant circle, the nearby farm, the sky, the earth and those trees adding thier own twist, this place does so much more than just survive.
Also a little thing which I almost forgot - there was a fine carpet of millions of these little spider web things covering the grass over the whole site and when I was facing the setting sun, this view, with the stones all around, was incredible.
Living in Whitehaven Valda and me are priviliged to have so much pre-history so close to us, so we decided to do a whirlwind tour of some of the sites with Long Meg and Her Daughters ( or Lovers ) being the first port of call.
On driving up to the site i was amazed as the road cuts right thru the middle of the circle. Meg herself is really impressive, this site blew me away and Valda got emotional walking round the stones!!! The whole area had a light covering of snow which gave the place an added extra( not that the site needed it though to impress us).
Talked to 2 enthusiasts for a while, paid our farewell to the site and headed of for Little Meg.
Travelling back fro northeast Scotland to Wessex in mid august, I stopped off to see Long Meg and her Daughters.
I had wanted to visit for ages and it doesn't disappoint. The site is obviously set in working farmland and is so uncelebrated locally that you'd think it wasn't worth the visit, just a few signs from the village and no mention of it locally in the tourist information. This may mean that Meg is left alone but it's a striking contrast to Aberdeenshire where the monuments are celebrated and I was left wondering if this wonder is appreciated.
I was amazed at the size of the stone circle, it's probably the biggest but it has a huge presence; the stones are much bigger than I imagined and there is just a feeling of bulk. Unlike Avebury you can take the whole thing in in one visual image and it makes sense as a panorama, maybe that's where the impression of size comes from.
I visited evening and morning, drizzly and sunny. Somehow it seemed to wear the damp evening better.
Walking through the double stoned entrance away fro the circle you come quickly to Long Meg, apart and aloof, slightly to the side of what would be an avenue - it's hard not to imagine a 'sister on the other side of this hypothetical avenue. Otherwize, where's the symmetry?
Visiting Long Meg is a huge experience, it was so less celebrated than I thought it could be and yet so much bigger and grander than I expected.
The mettled farm road cutting right through it seems so bizarre, who would build a road through something so impressive? At least the stones weren't used as hardcore. They have obviously been seen as important enough to leave well alone, to graze around and to build around, but to basically leave well alone.
Long Meg has the lot, hard to find unless you come from the right direction, still in the working landscape, (thankfully) no English Heritage here. A beautiful big circle with Long Meg watching over her daughters.
Long Meg bears the signature of her creators, a pair of concentric circles carved on her side, which she wears proudly. Go seek her out, she will not disappoint you.
The appearance of this Circle is much hurt by a stone wall built cross it, that cuts off a considerable segment which stands in the road. The enclosed part, in 1774, when this view was drawn, was sowed with corn, and it being then nearly ripe, many of the Stones which had fallen down, were thereby hidden.
The same ridiculous Story is told of these Stones, as of those at Stonehenge, i.e. that it is impossible to count them, and that many persons who have made the trial, could never find them amount twice to the same number. It is added, that this was a holy place, and that Long Meg and her Daughters were a company of Witches transformed into Stones, on the prayers of some Saint, for venturing to prophane it; but when and by whom, the Story does not say.
Thus has Tradition obscurely, and clogged with fable, handed down the destination of this spot, accompanied with some of that veneration in which it was once undoubtedly held, though not sufficiently to protect its remains from the depradations of avarice, the enclosure and cultivation of the ground bidding fair to destroy them.
The stone circle is said to be a witches coven turned to stone by the wizard Michael Scot when he found them holding a sabbat.
Meg may have been Meg of Meldon a local 17th cntury witch.
The stones are said to be uncountable and if anyone arrives at the same figure twice the spell is said to be broken and if a piece is broke off Long Meg herself she is said to bleed.
The 2 largest stones in the circle east and west are said to point to the spring and summer equinoxes.
"In the early 1990s, a local girl called Paula Thompson and her friends decided to do a bit of ghost hunting at Long Meg. Friends had gone there in their cars late at night to sit and talk and do what teenagers do. They reported seeing flashes of light outside the car, coming from the
stones. They told Paula and they all decided to go back another night as a group.
It was late, after midnight and at first Paula wouldn't get out of her car. Her friends teased her and so, reluctantly she opened the door. By that time the others had spread out round the circle. There was some light from the moon, and so she walked over to Long Meg, the tallest stone. She saw a dark shape in front of her. As she got closer, it started to move towards her very quickly. She thought it was a male friend having a laugh and called out jokingly for him to stop. He didn't stop and she saw that he was going to run into her. As it got closer she saw the shape wasn't her friend. To her horror it ran right through her. She says she felt cold and frightened and rushed back to the car.
Another time a group of people went there late, they met a coven of witches. When you visit Long Meg, you will more often than not see offerings of flowers or suchlike around Long Meg herself, or hanging in the tree nearby. My advice would be to stay away from Long Meg after dark. These people probably mean no harm, but they don't like to be disturbed".
Celia Fiennes wrote travel books in the 18th century and her take on the stones was that they were 'a warning for boggy ground', an interesting if elaborate idea(?!). I have my suspicions whether she actually visited the site, as she talks about Long Meg as being in the middle of the circle:
A mile from Peroth in a Low bottom and moorish place stands Mag and her sisters; the story is that these soliciting her to an Unlawfull Love by an Enchantment are turned wth her into stone; the stone in the middle wch is Call'd Mag is much bigger and have some fforme Like a statue or ffigure of a body, but the Rest are but soe many Cragg stones.
...they affirme they Cannot be Counted twice alike as is the story of Stonidge [Stonehenge].
quoted by Grinsell in 'Ancient Burial Mounds of England' 1936 (but I will look at the original soon).
It's thought that there were once two cairns in the middle of the circle (about 9 ft high?) - mentioned by Burl in his 'Great Stone Circles', who feels it is unlikely they were just the product of field clearance or suchlike. Bainbridge, writing in c1600, said "Ther are within the compasse of these stones two great heapes of small stones under the wiche, they say, that the dead bodies were buried ther." Stukeley, even more gruesomely, thought the stoney patches that remained in his day were the place where sacrifices had been burnt.
The late Col. Lacy, it is said, conceived the idea of removing Long Meg and her daughters by blasting. Whilst the work was being proceeded with under his orders, the slumbering powers of Druidism rose in arms against this violation of their sanctuary; and such heavy rain and hail ensued, as the fell-side never before witnessed. The labourers fled for their lives, vowing never more to meddle with Long Meg.. ..All lovers of antiquity must be thankful for the providential throwing of cold water on so wicked a design.
I'm not quite sure who Burl is quoting here, but it's in his 'Great Stone Circles' book. Lt-Col Lacy, owner of Salkeld Hall and Long Meg in the late 18th century, consequently tidied the site up by removing the fence that crossed it E-W. He must have been quite ruffled..
Before this in 1725 Stukeley mentioned that the northern half of the site was planted with crops, and the south side a common. "Many [stones] are standing, but more fallen, and several carried away; but lately they have destroyed some by blasting, as they call it, ie blowing them in pieces with gunpowder; others they have sawed for millstones."
Another classic piece of megalithic folklore is attached to Long Meg. In 1740 John Wood (the architect who styled much of Bath) visited the circle and surveyed it. Afterwards a storm blew up, and the villagers (no doubt shaking their heads wisely) said that it was his behaviour that had prompted it.
Long Meg and her Daughters are associated with several common pieces of megalithic folklore. The first (as with the Rollrights and Stanton Drew for example) explains the circle as people turned into stone for their sins. In this case, they were witches holding a sabbat, with the renowned 13th century Scottish Borders magician Michael Scott taking offence. However, although the people-to-stones idea is common, it seems Long Meg and her daughters is the only circle to made up of purely witches. Perhaps it is a product of paranoid times. 'Long Meg' was apparently a popular nickname in medieval times for any long slim object (like cannons) - this would be around the same time as the hysteria about witches.
In common with many other sites, the stones allegedly cannot be counted - though the first person to count them correctly twice in succession will break the spell and the stones will be turned back into witches. You've been warned.
Despite the story about witches, oerhaps the stones are literally 'Long Meg and her Daughters'; other stories have the circle as her lovers or her sisters. If a piece is chipped off Long Meg apparently she will bleed - rather like the elder at the King stone at the Rollrights.
Camden used a description by earliest Westmorland antiquarian (and headmaster of Appleby school) Reginald Bainbrigg, sent to him c 1600. This was the first time the name 'Meg and her daughters' or 'Long Meg' is recorded.
Besides Little Salkeld.. wher the Romaines have fought some great battle, ther standes certaine.. pyramides of stone, placed ther in the manner of a crown. They are commonlie called Meg with hir daughters. They are huge great stones, long meg standes above the ground in sight xv fote long and tre fathome about.
It's also reputed that the squared off sides of Long Meg are aligned to the points of the compass - but I must say I didn't have my compass when I visited - can anyone confirm?
"British Antiquities. — Of the rude memorials of the early inhabitants of this island, a considerable number occur in the county of Cumberland, the largest and most complete of these is the circle of stones called Long Meg and her daughters, in the parish of Addingham, on the road from that place to Little-Salkeld; this circle is 350 feet in diameter, and consists of stones of various kinds, and of unequal height; some above nine feet high, and others hardly appearing above the surface of the earth; on the south side, at the distance of about seventeen paces from the circle, stands a single upright stone, eighteen feet high, from which this monument derives its name, and between this and the circle are two others of smaller size, forming a sort of square projection from the south side of the circle."
"After that Eden hath now given Eimot enterteinment, hee turneth his course Northward by both the Salkelds, watering as hee goes obscure small villages and fortresses. Amongst which at the lesse Salkeld there bee erected in manner of a circle seventie seaven stones, every one tenne foote high, and a speciall one by it selfe before them at the very entrance, rising fifteene foote in height. This stone the common people thereby dwelling name Long Megge, like as the rest her daughters. And within that ring or circle are heapes of stones, under which, they say, lie covered the bodies of men slaine. And verily, there is reason to thinke that this was a monument of some victory there atchieved, for no man would deem that they were erected in vaine."
The circle-stone on the western side of the entrance and the portal beyond it were in direct line both with the tall outlying pillar rising behind them and with the midwinter setting sun beyond it. The three stones created a neat sightline for the observe.
The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland & Brittany
Immediately to the north of the stone circle, and partly overlain by Longmeg Farm, aerial photographs have identified the infilled ditch of a roughly circular enclosure measuring some 210m north-south by 200m east-west. At the point where the stone circle and the enclosure virtually touch, the stone circle has been flattened slightly in shape suggesting that the enclosure was already in existence and the stones arranged so as not to disturb this earlier
To the west of the stone circle aerial photographs have identified two infilled ditches of a cursus running for approximately 600m from the cliff above the River Eden to the entrance on the south western side of the stone circle. The ditches are virtually parallel and c.40m-50m apart. The western end of the cursus is terminated by an oblique ditch also visible on aerial photographs. The eastern end is less clear; the northern ditch appears to run to the edge of the stone circle, the southern ditch, however, cannot be traced quite this far on existing aerial photographs but it is reasonable to assume that it also continues at least to the stone circle.
In Stan Beckensall's book 'Prehistoric Rock Art In Cumbria" there's a fancy infra-red aerial photo of Long Meg...the enclosure is easy to see......at the top of the photo is a dark stripe...is this the Cursus perhaps?
Long Meg may have more carvings than meet the eye. Stan Beckensall's beautiful drawing, which can be found in his Prehistoric Rock Art In Cumbria, shows the stone carved with fairly elaborate patterns over quite an extensive area. I must confess that I have never managed to see any of these carvings, but this does not mean that they do not exist. Rock art often only becomes distinct in the right light - the carved stone at Little Meg is an excellent example of this, and the spirals become clearer or harder to see in direct response to the weather conditions and time of day. Water can also make previously unseen carvings visible.
Here's what William Wordsworth had to say about Long Meg...
The monument commonly called Long Meg and her daughters, near the river Eden:
A WEIGHT of awe, not easy to be borne,
Fell suddenly upon my Spirit - cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past,
When first I saw that family forlorn.
Speak Thou, whose massy strength and stature scorn
The power of years - pre-eminent, and placed
Apart, to overlook the circle vast -
Speak, Giant-mother! tell it to the Morn
While she dispels the cumbrous shades of Night;
Let the Moon hear, emerging from a cloud;
At whose behest uprose on British ground
That Sisterhood, in hieroglyphic round
Forth-shadowing, some have deemed, the infinite
The inviolable God, that tames the proud!
"To the north of this enclosure lies another enclosure of similar size and shape but with a very wide ditch and an east entrance. It sits on the very edge of the terrace overlooking the Eden and surrounds a large pond. This site is now heavily ploughed and there is no trace on the ground of the ditch which Stukely observed in 1725. He described the site as 'a large spring intrenched about with a vallum and fosse, of a pretty great circumference, but no depth'. The juxtaposition of the enclosure and pond is not coincidental; similar enclosures of prehistoric and roman date are known to be sited near tarns and other water sources elsewher in Cumbria, although a concentric arrangement is rare. Several ditches fan out from the entrance area; immediately to the south a double ditched trackway funnels out into the valley and seems to underlie a number of ditches running at right angles to it".
Source - "new evidence of ritual monuments at Long Meg and her Daughters, Cumbria".
by Grahame Soffe & Tom Clare
NY 5665 3724
"The east half of the ditch circuit of a small sub-rectangular enclosure is revealed as a crop mark; it surrounds a single earth-fast stone. Only one other similar stone occurs in the immediate neighbourhood, just to the north east in the cleared wood, and there may be parallel here with other enclosed stones such as the Menhir de Guerande in France.
Source - "new evidence of ritual monuments at Long Meg and her Daughters, Cumbria".
by Grahame Soffe & Tom Clare
NY 5730 3715
This is an egg shaped enclosure, bounded by a thin ditch containing several possible pits.
Source - "new evidence of ritual monuments at Long Meg and her Daughters, Cumbria".
by Grahame Soffe & Tom Clare