Barbrook II is a bit of an enigma. A circle of free-standing stones, enclosed within a thick drystone wall that stands only slightly lower than the tops of the stones. I’m instantly in love with this place. We’ve never been before, another omission long awaiting correction. The circle feels utterly secluded, the wall and stones are low enough to escape attention from anyone but a deliberate visitor, especially as the Ordnance Survey map perplexingly shows no sign of the circle or nearby cairns at all, other than a misleading “field system” label.
This is somewhere to spend time, to watch the clouds and the changing light over the moor. We sit here for a while, no-one comes, nothing intrudes. There are lots of details, the burial cairn inside the circle, the large stone propped against the outside of the drystone wall, there’s also a cupmarked stone in the central cist but I don’t even notice it. The next time I come – and I really hope that isn’t too long away – I’ll pay more attention to these little elements, but today I’m so overwhelmed by the whole that I couldn’t really care less. Perfect.
If visiting Barbrook 1 then this is a must....but surely found by anyone following the path from the latter looking at the wealth of cairns on either side. Those who leave the path as I did and do some fieldwalking may well find even more - the odd stone pointing through the turf or not even that, only a faint bump. Just how many are there? Certainly a visit when the bracken is dormant will pay dividends. Anyway, back to the circle: as with the opinion of others, if this is a rebuild then I'm all in favour. Yes, I did prefer it to Barbrook 1. I do not know the extent of the rebuild, but feel that this is a reused structure anyway..not now a stone circle in the conventional sense, but perhaps at was at one time before infilling between regularily spaced larger components, though even these are mostly less than knee high - as per all bar one of this circle's neighbour. These, though, seemed of more regular shape, and, of course, may possibly date in their positioning from the rebuild. Whatever the provenance, come here. Early or late in the day you've a fair chance of solitude. I wandered around alone in the dusk, exploring the neighbouring cairns, looking for more hidden in the heather, the sound of a waterfall on the wind, red grouse and ring ouzel for company. Then, back to Barbrook 1 for some flash photography, darkness shrouding whatever further delights Big Moor holds, thence back to the large layby, now deserted bar my Fiesta, then tagging on to the rear of a caterpillar of red lights that made its way back to Sheffield in the shrouded mist and mizzle. A good antidote to the Christmas 'jollities'. One of those 'aah, needed that' experiences. I understand why those in the past wanted to live there. So much to see with so little legwork. Make the effort
A lowering sky over the moor, standing at Barbrook 1 looking upwards wondering if it's going to brighten up, thought I'd kill some time by going in search of the other monuments dotted about which I hadn't planned on visiting (why?). Followed the track past a couple of cairns and then whoah, there it is, something quite unique, got my pulse going. I'd definitely rate it as more worth the trip than Barbrook 1, charming though that little circle is. Reading the previous fieldnotes afterwards had me thinking again about the whole 'to restore or not to restore' conundrum and in this case the argument comes firmly down on the 'restore' side. As I sat there marveling at it the clouds shifted, the sun poked through and I skipped back down to Barbrook 1 feeling very pleased with myself.
Last but by no means least of the day, the wonderful Barbrook two, not some misidentified terrorists, but a lovingly restored stone circle/ring cairn kind of monument.
From the almost too perfect cairn near Barbrook 1, I counted three small kerb cairns, one which may still have its cist cover, even though the cist is long gone.
The entrance to the ring cairn points approxiamately to the summer solstice, ie north east.
Ten little stones make up the stone circle, some of them are barely high enough to poke free of the cairn, they all face the inside of the circle.
The autumn colours are beginning to show off a bit, and I never had the nervous, black feeling I got the first time I came to Barbrook .
It is beautifully reconsructed, as are the nearby cairns, all is well on the moor today, theres even a kite flyer and his overly enthusiastic dad.
Spectacular but got more of a feeling that this is the foundations of a building (roundhouse) than a ceremonial circle, especially with the remnants of other smaller round buildings very nearby. The whole site seems to be part of a settlement - why isn't this documented???
As we left Barbrook I, I asked Stu if the circle was the best site on the moor, he said nowt and gave me a wry smile.
I now know what that smile meant.
Is this a stone circle or a circle of stone?
Whatever it is, it's a cracker. I've always maintained that reconstruction should be done on a case by case basis. In this case the reconstruction is absolutely spot-on.
A premier league site.
A real Beaut....you'll not come across owt like it.
When following the Path from Barbrook one, look for the small cairns that sit by the path, there's an excellent small, restored, kerb cairn on the right hand side of the path before you get to this stone circle.
An embanked stone circle restored. Restored?
It doesn't feel right.
It might be exactly right, and it is me that is out of kilter, but again again again it doesn't feel right.
More reminiscent of hut circles on Holyhead and in Cornwall, I imagine a conical thatched roof over my head and a secular purpose: the moot-hall for tribal chieftains, or the place to give tribute to the overlord.
But not a sacred space.
Then again: there is definitely signs of a cist, covered by a cup-marked stone, so no doubt at some time at least one of our ancestors was buried here.
But too puzzling. Too restored. Not right.
"The Barbrook II Stone Circle. This small stone circle is one of two that lie within a large cairnfield on Ramsley Moor, which is part of the Big Moor complexlying to the east of Bar Brook. It was extensively excavated in the 1960’s and restored in 1989. The circle is now probably much as it was around 2000BC The irregular ring of standing stones is set in a drystone wall retaining the inner edge of a rubble bank, with an entrance to the north east. Only one standing stone is significantly higher than the bank,. This lies a little south of west and has no obvious astronomical explanation. Although a variety of rituals and ceremonies probably took place at the circle, it is those connected with death that not surprisingly have left traces in the ground. Four human cremations were deposited in the south western half of the interior, two in simple pits, one in a pit under a small cairn, and one in a small burial box known as a cist. " Peak District - John Barnatt and Ken Smith.