The third of today’s stone circles, and very different again from the other two. This is yer classic Peaks embanked circle, compact and neat. Unlike, say, Nine Ladies, the stones are quite varied in size, although with no particularly obvious grading towards a compass point. The top of one of the stones has cupmarks, something I was completely unaware of, but which recalls the stone at Stanage we visited yesterday.
When we first got into stone circles, I read that the Barbrook sites and Big Moor were closed for environmental reasons – this was in the days before the Countryside and Rights of Way Act opened up swathes of access land, and before the internet might have told me different – so we never came here on our earlier Peaks holidays. As I’ve felt throughout these last three days, the long wait has both sharpened and sweetened the experience of finally coming to these sites. They compare with the best.
The proximity of the track perhaps keeps this from quite reaching the heights of Barbrook II as a place to find solitude, but in truth no one passes our way in the time we’re here. We will definitely be back here.
The number of times I've driven along the A621 over the last twenty years and not known the delights of the moor alongside...coming from Sheffield you'll see Minninglow on the horizon, so near yet so far. There are laybys either side of the road, well used at the weekend, even when the weather is pretty foul, like it was when, finally, after looking at the OS, I decided this would be the destination for much needed post-Christmas solo perambulation and stone therapy. I'd no idea that there was a stone circle so close to home. Through the fresh painted white gate, late in the day, passing a few groups of people making their way homeward in the mizzle. I was the last outward bounder, had the muddy track to myself after a few minutes. As per the increasingly damp map, there was the circle, or at least the tallest stone, visible up the slope to my right, with path leading to it. I became aware that the entire area was covered with cairns..what a place. At the circle the tallest stones current offerings were a trio of spent shotgun cartridges, while a neighbour sported a plastic reindeer. This wasn't the Nine Ladies.. though the path indicated plenty of visitors none wanted to paint or carve. Plastic reindeer welcome. The very modest size of the stones mattered not. A fine setting, and so many other sites, recorded or not, within sight and under foot. Try visiting before the bracken and grass grows - so much more visible in the bleak months. Has the vicinity really, really been properly fieldwalked? Be sure to visit Barbrook 2 close by, and wander round the other cairns, and, if time, explore further. 'Sites within 20km' above reveals more a few minutes walk away, but fading light precluded that for me, but if there was nothing else apart from this circle I'd still want want to return, and will. My jobs are only a few minutes away, and on summers evenings what a place to wind down afterwards. I WILL be back. Recommended.
Ive been to Barbrook 1 three times so I was only coming really to see number 2, but you cant just walk past a stone circle, ignore it completely ?, it just cant be done, not by me anyway.
The sun was shining when I arrived, for the first time ever i'm sure, it was early afternoon on the autumn equinox, I wasnt alone on the moor by any stretch, the other people helped to turn it from a sometimes dull and sad place into a sunny and happy and vibrant place, the stones looking as good as ever. There are still pennies in the tops of stones, going towards the cairn through the circle, the stone to the right of the tallest stone has maybe three cupmarks on its upper surface.
The cairn fifty yards up the hill is almost but not quite too perfectly restored, from here a path passes two or three other restored cairns, on route to Barbrook 2.
Hi. Sorry its taken so long to reply to this. I have been away for a while. I didn't mean that Barbrook Moor was in any immediate danger, except for that of visitors stomping all over the sites.
I was just really shocked to see that this (and other) sites are not better cared for. Most people are unaware of them anyway I suppose or just don't care. But I feel they are a valuable part of our heritage and so much can be learned about our ancestors from them. When I was on Barbrook Moor I felt that it more could be done to protect thes and other sites. I read so much about ancient sites that have been documented in the early 1900's but have disappeared since then and I am just afraid that soon we will loose all of these sites.
Sorry if I caused any confusion or worry, it was just an observation.
I met up with Stu in Chesterfield, we were due to go and hear a bunch of lectures but it was a sunny day and when Stu suggested that we go and check out some circles I didn't have to think twice.
The drive up to Big Moor took us through the beautiful Derbyshire uplands, groups of birches and coarse grasses gives us an insight into the prehistoric landscape.
The circle is a cracker with it's lovely south western stone.
This part of the moor is divided in two by the steep sided valley of the Bar brook. Stu tells me that there are hut circles and field systems on the other side of the valley which would indicte that the living and the dead inhabited well defined regions of the moor.
There are cairns dotted around the circle with one particular beautiful cairn looking down on the circle. It's worth mooching around the cairns, some are well defined and large stones have been used to enclose them.
A lovely necropolis.
A very nice embanked circle, looking very dramatic in today's grey weather. The most prominent stone appears to be to the south-west. Flowers were laid on it today. The cairn next to the circle is very bizarre, some one had mutilated two onions in a variety of mystical ways
Dave 5th January 2004
What a fantastic place! Pretty and with small stones, of immense charm in this enormous landscape, the circle looks skyward. It is of a very human scale somehow. We mused as to the weathering patterns on the stones and wondered if what looked like a recumbent had actually been upright once, but our ponderings were conclusion-less and Barbrook I kept her secrets.
A great place to chill. I'd had an absolute bastard of a journey down to Derbyshire. First I was fined for speeding (for the first time ever) and then involved in an accident with two other cars (not my fault!). I visited the bull ring after the accident, and was brought down even further by the disgusting way the monument is treated. By the time I arrived at barbrook I just wasn't in the mood but my bad mood soon lifted as i took in the various sites on the moor. The circle seems to be a victim of it's own accessibility - the cup marks in one of the stones were filled with coins which have left black marks.
John Barnatt reckoned the circle to have been designed so that it could accurately mark all the major solar and lunar events throughout the calendar.
He suggested the circle had 8 outliers and, using these stones and the cairn above the circle, each event aligned to a landscape feature that marked such an event
In a way, the sad thing is.... Barnatt changed his mind several years later....
A freezing cold place at the Winter Solstice, the sun standing still almost defeated by the bright, shiny, slate-grey clouds and flurries of snow.
Trying to light candles in the biting wind, the children stamping their feet to feel them, and the offering of wine left un-corked and frozen.
On the moorsides hereabouts our ancestors lived and toiled, remains of their field systems still evident. It is hoped that the climes were more clement then.
I notice a scar across the middle of the circle; a caesarian cut to birth the Earth Mother's mystery into the hands of the archaeologists. To learn more they should be standing as we are, reverently, shivering, at the turn of the sun and welcoming the youthful Mabon back into the world.
Barbrook One is a perfectly formed circle in a wonderful setting.It shouldn't be missed.I also noticed what looked like the remains of another stone circle actually running through the path leading up to BB1 from the south.Visited the 2nd circle which is to the east of the reservoir.It took some finding as the stones are small and the grass was long.Quite a large circle of 21 stones i counted.Others may disagree on my calculation.
If you are out and about in Derbyshire then I can recommend avisit to Barbrook Moor. Not only is there the circle shown in the Modern Antiquarian but on the moor itself are two more stone circles (No's 2 and 3), loads of burial cairns and small ring-cairns and just down the pathe from Barbrook 1 is a row of (i think) 9 quite large stones. I love going to this place as I always stumble accross something new eveytime I go there.
When the cairn above Barbrook I was excavated and restored in the early 1980's four carved stones were found.
a) rectangular slab with a cup and ring marking.
b) triangular slab with 4 cup marks along an edge.
c) single cup mark on small slab
d) slab with 2 cups on one side and one on the other.
All the stones are stored in the Weston Park museum in Sheffield.