Here is a route covering all the sites listed for Eyam Moor. It is just over 5 Km and earlier this week took me just under 2 hours in good weather. It could take substantially longer in poor visibility, especially without the use of a GPS to locate Wet Withens, and of course when you spend time looking at things!
Starting at the bend in Sir William Hill Road at SK 224780, take the path running NE. It runs alonside a wall for 500 m and then after the wall turns off to the E, the path continues NE across the moor. In another 500 m you will see down below you to your right a right-angled corner in the wall 200 m away. Head straight down through the heather to Eyam Moor III stone circle (SK 2320 7881) which is just to the NW of the corner and can be seen as a green bilberry mound.
Next head N to the end of the delapidated wall and follow it for about 100 m until you reach 2 gate posts through which runs the footpath down to Leam. To find Eyam Moor II stone circle (SK 2316 7897) go 30 m SW along the footpath back towards your starting point to a large rock in the middle of the path. There is now a raised circular bank of about 10 m diameter immediately to the left of the path which marks the site of the circle.
To get to Wet Withens (SK 2254 7900), return to the gate posts and follow a compass bearing due W through the heather for 650 m. Locating it in the heather can be extremely difficult. The most noticeable features to look out for are the pile of rocks in Eyam Moor Barrow 30 m N of the circle and the tallest stone at the NE of the circle (lots of photos on the site).
Navigation but not the going underfoot now gets easier. Head SW towards the mast near the top of Sir William Hill that hopefully will be clearly visible. Knee high heather is intermixed with waist deep bracken but after about 800 m you come to a wall running across the moor. Climb over the barbed wire in a gap in the wall and follow the path to the NW on the other side. In about 500 m the tops of the trees in Gotherage Plantation can just be seen to your left and 2 tall stones looking like gateposts appear in the wall. Now head W along a gap in the heather for about 100 m and find the Stanage Cup-Marked Stone (SK 2152 7870). The Stanage (Ring) Cairn with another cup-marked stone is clearly visible 40 m to the S (SK 21540 78663).
A footpath can be found about 10 m to the W. Follow it S to Sir William Hill Road and then go E to return to your starting point. Be prepared to get back with very wet legs if it has been raining but look forward to lots of bilberries if you get the season right - they wre still plenty this week!
There is, in the neighbourhood of Eyam, a very popular tradition of some great chief, or king, having been buried in this barrow; and it has been frequently explored in search of something appertaining to him. Nothing, however, has ever been found except the urn; but in the vicinity, spears, arrow-heads, axes, hatchets, and a many other remains of antiquity have been turned up. About a mile west of this barrow there was, about forty years ago, another of great dimensions: it stood on Hawley's piece. The diameter at the base was twenty-two yards, and about twelve yards high. When the Moor was enclosed, it was carried away to make fences. An urn of great size was found near the centre on the ground, and was carried away to the residence of the person who found it; but was afterwards broken and buried. The person who had this precious relic of antiquity, was persuaded by his silly neighbours that it was unlucky to have such a thing in the house; and on losing a young cow, he immediately buried it.
From 'The History and Antiquities of Eyam' by William Wood (1842). He also spouts a lot about Druids and even Phoenicians - but I suppose it was the fashionable explanation. Though he gets a little carried away with talk of the sacrifice of a 'lovely female' with her 'heaving bosom'. Hmm.
He does however, also mention
One large stone ont he Moor has been a great object of curiosity, from it having a circular cavity in the top about a foot in diameter, and the same in depth. The stone is of an extraordinary size - by far the largest on the Moor. It is conjectured to have been the altar, or central stone of some large circle, but of which there is no trace now. That this place was one of the principal places of the Druids there are numberless proof; but as it is out of the road to any place of note, it has been rarely noticed.
The barrow is a mess, the shape all but gone, straggling and ragged at the edges. But there’s still a lot of stone here, indicating that the upheaval wasn’t about robbing for walls. And the setting is perfect, better than the circle itself as it’s that bit closer to the northern lip of the moor. The countryside drops to a patchwork of green fields in the Derwent valley, with Hathersage the obvious settlement below. Beyond and above, the hills rise again towards the high uplands above Edale, the moors of South Yorkshire and the edges around Higger Tor.
Our rainbow makes its last appearance of the day, a welcome splash of colour against the grey. I should have come here years ago, but it’s still a sweet pleasure to come now.
As the sun starts to come out, it picks out a light grey amongst the browns and reds, revealing the presence of the mutilated cairn next to Wet Withins. With that fixed, the eye then finds the darkly curving bank of the stone circle itself, with one larger stone standing out at its edge.
Wet Withens is another Peaks site that has lived in my mind and on my imaginary list for a long time. A feature in Burl’s guide, apart from the one swiftly abandoned attempt so long ago it’s eluded me up until now.
Rather like Gibbet Moor yesterday, some of the joy of coming here is undoubtedly borne from relief and satisfaction at actually getting here. But as well as that, it’s a terrific site. Bigger than I expected, the clearly defined bank and neatly placed stones make it a wonderful example of the ubiquitous Peak District embanked stone circle. Add to that the colours of the moor, freshly scrubbed from the recent soaking and illuminated by the sun against the dark backdrop of billowing clouds, and we’ve got a bit of a classic going on.
Where the ground once again levels off, Stanage cairn sits to the east of the path, surrounded by heather but prominent enough to stand clear of it. It’s a flat-topped mound at least 15 metres across, with a rubble bank poking through the vegetation on its circumference. It enjoys a great view to the north, with Mam Tor just peaking over Abney Moor. The most striking landscape feature from here is Win Hill, which reminds me of the Sugarloaf/Pen y Fal in South Wales. A good cairn in a lovely spot, but the real gem here is the cup marked stone in the edge of the monument.
I’ve been aware of this stone for the best part of two decades, simply because I bought a postcard of it in Bakewell bookshop a long time ago. Somehow I’ve never quite found the time to get here until now, but it’s even better in the flesh. The cupmarks are large and cover two sides of the stone, as well as its top. We stop here for a while, watching the wind push the rain clouds of earlier further east, before revealing one last gift, an incomplete rainbow hanging beautifully over Win Hill. There are moments when time stops and lets you breathe, completely at peace. This is one of those, fleetingly brief but eagerly snatched.