Eco-Warriors who have camped for five years at a Peak quarry say they are planning to leave now victory is in sight.
The protesters have been campaigning to save the quarries from further workings, because of their proximity to the historic Nine Ladies Stone Circle... continues...
Protesters Dig in to Save Landscape from Quarry: 'It'll cost millions to get us out'
by John Vidal, environment editor of The Grauniad
14 February 2004
One of Britain's most historic landscapes is about to become the scene of a passionate encounter between conservationists, local communities and industry as protesters start to flock to a small valley in the Peak District national park... continues...
The threat of eviction continues to hang over the Stanton quarry Eco-warriors after planners called for a further report on the legality of the protest camp.
A Peak District National Park (PDNP) planning committee examined the Stanton Moor site on Friday morning at the request of the Stanton Action Group (SAG) and the parish council... continues...
The Peak District National Park Authority today agreed not to take legal action that could have led to the eviction of protestors campaigning against the proposed re-opening of two quarries on Stanton Moor in the Peak District... continues...
Some of you might have read in the Guardian last week that this issue was resolved. It was reported that a compromise had been agreed and that the Nine Ladies were safe from quarrying. Unfortunately, this is not true and looks like it will not be resolved until May of this year... continues...
We parked up opposite the Andle stone today, and taking advantage of the fine weather walked across Stanton Moor, passing the Cork Stone, to the Nine Ladies.
It's been about five years since I was last here, though I've visited so many times, as it's the closest stone circle to where I live, and sometimes I think you forget just what treasures you can find on your doorstep, as I wonder why I've left it so long to come back. The circle looks perfect in todays sunshine, and as usual is busy with walkers.
As mentioned in previous posts this place has a joyful atmosphere and it is truly beautiful here, it's nice to re-connect with the circle on this crisp winter's afternoon. The low sun is throwing some great shadows, which nicely pick out the low mound on which the stones are set.
Walking up to the King stone it seems as if the poor outlier is leaning at a more severe angle than I remember it, but perhaps it's just my memories playing tricks. I certainly vow not to leave it so long until I return again next time!
Thank you to those that fought to keep this circle for all of us to still visit and enjoy.
I visited the Nine Ladies for the first time a week ago today. What an amazing place it is. When I arrived there we're a couple of elderly lady back packers having a rest on the stones and a traveling man hanging out in the sun with them. He was a really nice guy, blissed out with his acoustic guitar and hammock in the trees, not a bad life!
I approached in the car through Stanton on Peak, keeping straight on (left turn) onto Lees Road and didn't follow the Brichover Road. If you take Lees Road then just keep going up the hill through the trees until you reach the brow of the hill where there is a lay-by to park and a path that will lead you towards the circle.
The Nine Ladies is a very magical place to visit for the first time, maybe every time, I look forward to the next visit to find out. The condition of the circle and the surrounding ground was well kept and mostly litter free, there was a really, really good and positive feel to the place, it regained a feeling of mystery and secrets despite the harsh treatment it has obviously been subjected to. It's a little sad to read some of the field notes here and the sad state this place has been found to be in the past. I am happy to report I felt supercharged and in love with this ancient place that has survived and inspired people to make sure it survived against very tough odds.
It's been dug, it's been camped on, it's had fires lit in its centre, but Nine Ladies remains a wonderful, must-visit site. Situated in a perfect fairy clearing amongst silver birch trees, it has a lovely atmosphere. I arrive to find no-one there, amazingly. Apart from one sheep, who steadfastly refuses to move from the circle and appears in all the pictures I take. Well, she was here first after all. It's funny the things you notice on a repeat visit. I notice the embanked nature of the circle, as well as the fact it's actually on quite a slope. To be fair, I've usually been here in either thick mist or heavy rain (while an archaeological dig was underway), neither of which do much to aid a proper consideration of the place. The King's Stone outlier seems to be in a sorrier state that I remember, not only graffiti'd but it has had a chunk knocked off along the top edge, exposing the redder stone under the weathering. I stay for a while, until a family arrive and the children have their pictures taken in the circle (hopefully the start of their own stone-appreciation?). I head east, noticing what look like some small cairns in an area that's been cleared of vegetation.
A special place - does not suit everyone. Ancient burial mounds litter the moor, and there is a strong sense of presence here. Visited the protest camp and didn't like it...
Don't got hrough the camp. Park up on the other side from Doll Tor, where there is a place for a couple of cars, and a path leading up. If you find the right place, the paths lead straight there. You may see something that looks like a castle tower but is really a folly - you are near it if you see that, only, it is further in the moor than the tower.
To me, feels like a place of death and rebirth - a dealing with stuff kind of place. The walk along the edge of the moor is beautiful - especially at night. If it is foggy, the industrial works look for all the world like Mordor, complete with tower!
For me, I always stay very much on my guard here. It isn't a place to relax for me... I've been many times, but very rarely met anyone I liked there, as opposed to other places where I meet a lot of nice folks. Something about the place - not a play area, lol.
You can camp up there - not supposed to, but you can. You can have a fire - sadly too many fire pits - little wood - people chop downt he birches, and there are far fewer now than ten, fifteen years ago. It's a well known site, so a lot of people camp up there - there's ususally someone there, no matter whn you go! Attracts a lot of people who are camping out having some beers - one of those kind of vibes.
In the evening has a very Lord of the Rings feel, and if you get it to yourself, enjoy the ride!
Definitely one of the more peculiar visits I've ever made to a stone circle.
Arrived in Matlock late, on the way down south, and thought 'What the hell, it's not dark yet...' Predictably, by the time I was half way there it was dark. But that's no problem. The Quarry site is impossible to miss, and the nice 'eco-warriors' (daft label) have enough banners to direct the hapless nocturnal wanderer.
Equally helpfully, on a friday night, the dark isn't as much of a problem as you only have to follow the sounds of the drums...
However, I wouldn't reccomend this route. It involves scrambling up the side of a slope that could be classed as a cliff in places, with sufficient foliage in summer to make it pitch black.
I was shocked at how close the old quarry is to the stones, to think of starting it up again seems gut-wrenchingly vile. The landscape around here has already been trashed enough. For example the highly unplesant mineral processing factory on the road to Matlock, which thrums and glows in the night like a giant malevolent predatory alien insect. Bleurgh!.
Here's hoping the quarry remains forevermore dormant, and also that the toxic factory gets bored and flies back to its home planet. Leaving Stanton moor to recover it's dignity and peace, with no need for caravans up trees or tunnels beneath them.
September 2003 The first thing I noticed when approaching the Nine Ladies was the pristine state of the turf and the tell-tale traces of the plastic netting beneath that peeps through in a couple of places. The neatness and tidiness of the grass give the circle a bit of an artificial modern air but I can't really recall how the placed looked when I was last here a few years ago. Once the wild grasses and flowers have started seeding themselves in the new turf the place will look a lot more natural but it's already a huge improvement judging from some of the previous photographs of the site. One thing to note though is that you'll be lucky to get the place to yourself as it is popular with families, couples and walkers at weekends, but I'll bet it's a cracking place first thing in the morning or in winter. As for the stones themselves, there are of course 10 now, I think the one discovered in 1979 is the fallen slab to the east of the circle - there may originally have been more. The diameter of the circle is about 10 metres and there is a faint trace of an outer bank and what may have been a small cairn or earth mound near the centre and according to Jacquetta Hawkes there were entrances to the northeast and southwest. At least one of the stones (to the east) has some kind of (modern?) carving on it as does the King Stone which is now known not to have been an outlier but once formed part of a now destroyed cairn. For some reason I had remembered the King Stone as being larger than it is - it's only a tiny little thing.
When there are people around it's difficult to feel any kind of atmosphere at the circle and the traces of fires and bit's of rubbish around the place don't help, but when you get a couple of minutes of solitude then the place still has a little touch of magic about it. The small copse of trees block any views to the north and east, it could be that the eastern view towards the Derwent was obscured by a small rise in the land anyway and it's difficult to tell whether the Wye valley to the north could have been seen from the circle.
Very lovely setting, surely no-one wants to destroy this. Great walk to get here with so much to see on the way. It looks very manicured at the mo, with it's turf base neatly cut, but still great ambience.
Toby and Mell went to Utoxetter to visit Tracy and Andrew, we went to see the 9 Ladies and it was all quiet. No Eco-Protestors or their opposite numbers.
We enjoyed the stones and the solitude, all around the site there was the evidence of previous visitors fires but we were alone that night. We had a b-b-q and a small fire of wood we gathered, with added pine cones.
After sundown we walked back to our car and drove home.
I'm rather proud to have started off the demolition of the rather ugly surrounding wall back in 1982. Several overnight stops later half of it was gone. Shortly after, the then DOE took what was left of it away. I'd like to thank all who did their bit as it moved at an alarming rate!
I spent several nights in Nine Ladies back in the early eighties and was always facinated by the effect the circle has on sounds after dark. My friends and I likened the effect to that of talking down the middle of a bog roll tube. It kind of amplified the voice and gave it a wispy effect. There's a lot written about the causes of this so I won't regurgitate that here - however, I would be interested to read of anyone else's experiences of this, either at Nine Ladies or any other Stone Circle.
Visited August 2001:
Some kind soul had erected a very roughly painted wooden sign by a very clear track. We chanced it. A longish walk through the woods somehow lead me and Kath to this charming stone circle. There were a couple of people camping in the woods about 30ms off, but other than that we had the place to ourselves. After the 12 mile ride earlier that day, Kath did nothing but lie in the dappled sun and drifted off.....I got out my paintbox and sketchbook and all was peaceful.... I have only since found out about the painful struggle fought by the eco-warriors to defend its very existance. Good on 'em. This delightful place exudes fairy charm, certainly a place where the little people live and dance and sparkle. We sat and lost ourselves here for 2 hours or more.
This is a nice spot and is enhanced by the walk over the moor with all of it's features and megalithic oddities. Stu reassures me that the site looks a lot better now that it's had a good coat of looking at.
The setting amongst the birch trees and with the new turf give the site a park - like quality.
I liked the tree with all the bobbles and ribbons on it. It gives a focus to folk who feel the urge to leave their hair care products at this ancient site, although I think a used bobble is pretty crappy gift to leave. At least they're not strewn all over the stones.
Only my second visit here - last time I came it was in a big group (8 of us in total), and was a nightmare visit from start to finish. The site itself seemed gloomy at the time, and after reading all the horror stories, I thought I'd seen enough of the place. This time we had been staying with friends in Sheffield on Saturday night, and so the four of us visited here after seeing the Andle Stone and Doll Tor. My mind is now totally changed - the site seemed so much bigger. The sky was clear above and so we took the opportunity to sit by the site and take it all in. It was quite peaceful with the distant rumble of traffic barely audible. I'm now definitely a Nine Ladies convert!
Made my first visit to the Ladies last weekend. And what a weekend! Continuous rain and heavy mist/low cloud made for a magical visit.
Like a fool, I got the approach wrong and started out from the base camp at the base of the quarry. You have to admire the protesters, living in those conditions! The climb was extremely muddy and quite difficult, but I eventually made it to the top, soaked to the skin.
Due to the weather I couldn't stay as long as I wanted, nor could I explore the rest of the moor, but I took some photos and made it back to the car safely.
From what I could see (shrouded in the mist), this is a wonderful site, quite breathtaking in it's splendour. I'd read quite a bit about the restoration work to be undertaken and was prepared to be disappointed, but the conditions I saw it in were optimal, and the site was simply awe inspiring. Maybe I'll have to visit in fine weather to be disappointed?
Not much to add really, from the other posts and what I've read elsewhere, about casual vandalism of the site (whether ritualistic or through carelessness), I've been put off visiting this site for a long while, and I dare say I brought this attitude with me.
A sweet small stone circle (local millstone grit, none taller than 1m) in a wooded area, which has become incorporated into an easy circlular walk across Stanton Moor, with nearby convenient free parking.
The surrounding area is beautiful, and includes many cairns, but the area directly surrounding the site has several blackened remains of campfires and the tops of nearly every stone which make up the circle show signs of heat damage where fires (tealights, etc?) have been set upon them.
V & P Morgan (Rock Around The Peak) mention that the circle was once surrounded by a bank, and at the centre of the circle was a stone cairn, both of which have now all but disappeared.
As far as I can tell the site has three parties looking out for its interests (English Heritage, Peak National Park Authority and the land owner), but as it is open access and is '...one of the most well known sites in Derbyshire', it's looking a bit torn and frayed.
wednesday 22nd may 2002
my first stop on the long trip to callanish..
passed the remains of the protestors' camp on the way up; seemed very deserted.. when i reached the stones, i didn't feel very welcome, the place was a sad mess, rubbish all over the place, ashes and debris from several big fires, and a generally unhappy atmosphere.. no wonder!! some bloke apparently from the camp totally off his nut collapsed on top of one of the stones.. in fact the whole place seemed to be screaming out to be left well alone, even by those with supposedly good intentions.. abused and misrepresented i felt.. the stones themselves too damaged and the genii loci of the place too angry to show what the nine ladies once stood for.. how very sad to have ruined such a lovely place.. didn't stay long.
.....went to visit on monday evening in the rosy early spring evening light, and how fantastic it looked...........there amongst the birch glades, absolutely perfect. An all too brief sojourn( I had to get to Rowsley for the last Manchester bus of the night ) of some half an hour......but it felt like longer, and certainly was some of the best quality time I've had this year.............they just can't destroy this area, I'd take it over many a bigger site in terms of tranquil setting...........one of the absolute best.
I lived in the area during my childhood and must confess the whole site
feels dead.During my youth many teenagers would congregate at weekends for rave parties around the circle because it was secluded ,surrounded by trees with the circle in a little glade in the centre. These
parties continued for some time during which firewood was taken from the trees to make fires and before long the whole place was just an area of burnt fire circles and dead trees. During one party some stupid traveller bloke, being pissed on brew, reversed his car/lorry into the heel stone (or fiddler) and broke it. They ruined this site for everyone. It used to be a wonderful place to go at night and watch the stars after a pint in the Flying Childers.
mind you at least the walls surrounding the stones have gone(yes walls
Poor nine ladies. visited last week and was disappointed by how the site is treated. Stones broken. People thinking they are to be used like a picnic bench ('hey if you sit on this one it like vibrates!' was the cry of one idiot). Beer cans, burnt out tea candle tins. I stayed about 5 minutes having just come from the magnificent Arbor Low. Thankfully there are many other peaceful spiritual places in the peak that require a bit more than a stoned shuffle from a car to see. I havent heard anything about the quarrying proposal recently. Can anyone enlighten me? Seems they have been quarried already. Pagan rituals....PAH! Self indulgent and deluded bullshit is what I see from most of the people that visit this place.
I first visited this wondrous powerful place in 1994 and we agreed that we would bring our children back to the moor as I felt a massive spiritual connection with the place.
Indeed in March 1999, we returned with our son Chalie and gave him his name in a pagan ceremony, with some dear friends, who each held chalie as I read a poem.
My hubby gave me the modern antiquarian two years ago as a xmas present and I immediatley truned to the gazetter section to read what was said - I cried as i realised that the power I had felt on the moor was part of a massive understanding - and that Julian had felt what I had felt too.
I dream of the moor and am angered to the extreme thaqt they may quarry - I offer my meager talents to the campaign in any way i can help - here and now - for I have just read the essays fromn the book and am recently starting on a pathway, where I have realised the significance of stanton moor, amongst other sites and special places, to my spiritual journey and well being.
It is one of the few places on this island where I have felt truy at peace and at one with the goddess - the other being at the Quirang on Skye. And I want to preserve this moor so my children can be connected with their names to the energy within the stones and can return with their childrn to my special place.
I can't believe they are going to turn this place into a quarry, it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The stones are so delicate, and the light catches the atmsophere beautifully. When I visited them in 2000, there were people camped nearby, supposedly trying to save the stones, all I saw was abuse of them.
I haven't kept up with the plans to turn this amazing place into a quarry, but it seems from my experience that some so-called pagans are helping the process along.
I stayed there one full-moon night last year (around October), and the scene was wonderful for my first visit. There were naturally a bunch of other people there. Me and my friend Lee chatted to a few of them - they said they had met at a gay/bi pagan camp down south and were doing a ritual later on. They seemed cool, but we were tired and crashed before their ritual started.
Well, actually, before we got to sleep we were treated to the utterly bizarre spectacle of a large bunch of schoolkids being led around the circle by a few adults, singing really pagan-sounding nursery rhymes. They ended up doing the congo of onto the moonlit moor! Better education than I ever had...
Waking the next morning, Lee asked if I had heard anything during the night. Apart from the kids, no. He said he had heard what sounded like some sort of ritual, but it was interspersed with what sounded frighteningly like rocks being violently bashed together. I got up to look around, and sure enough, the few half-bricks and rocks that were scattered around the circle the night before were gone. A few of the circle's stones had had chunks hacked off, with the tell-tale compacted bumps of soft rock left by bricks or whatever being smashed on them. Fragments littered the floor.
We were incensed, but there was no sign of life in any of the many tents around. We had to leave early, and as we didn't want to shout blind abuse at sleeping people who may or may not have been responsible, we had to leave the arsehole culprits be. As far as I'm concerned, if they're out there seriously trying to mesh with the pagan levels of reality, and doing *this* to stone circles, they're cursing themselves anyway. Hope they have a really bad freak-out some day and wake up.
Object lesson: the outward appearance of funkitude often belies a nature as stupid as any lager lad.
The image of an unidentified man dressed in black is said to be seen standing just outside the stone circle after dark. According to legend, the 9 stones are witches caught dancing on the Sabbath to the sounds of the Devil's fiddle playing. In this view,the man in black could be the Devil admiring his handiwork. It is also said that when the moon is full, the stones move around in a ritual dance.
A local violinist planned to visit the 9 Ladies one midsummmer's night with his family....his aim was to take part in a duet with the 'fiddler' stone ( king stone ).
But in true Derbyshire fashion he never made it....
Tripped over a tree root and broke his bow.
This is very vague but. The heel/king stone was said to awaken and play the fiddle to the stones in the circle which would turn into Nine Ladies dancing around to his song. What night of the year etc. this happened i have forgotten, someone told me this story a long time ago