We visited on 2nd October 2003
First, our access notes to assist disabled people
Finding the Druids' Circle: You can approach the circle from Ulverston, via the A590 to Bardsea, then take a steep right turn half a mile after the village, just before "Sea Wood" – the circle is about half a mile along this road on the right, after the wood ends but before a sharp left turn – look out for 2 grassy areas in the bracken on the right side of the road. Or approach via Great Urswick (an interesting village around a tarn) and on unfenced roads over Birkrigg Common. When you reach Sunbrick Farm from this direction, the road bends right after all the farm buildings and there are 2 waymarked tracks on the corner. Pass these, you will soon come to 2 grassy areas in the bracken on the left, where you can park.
Parking: On short, sheep-grazed grass – quite level.
Toilets: Nearest disabled people's toilets are probably in Ulverston, 4 miles away.
Access to the stones: Take the right hand path of the 2 paths onto the common. The Inner part of the Druids' Circle is 200 yards along this path – hidden by bracken until you are very near. This is a fairly wide path, slightly inclined with a bumpy surface in places. It is covered with very short, well-grazed grass. Manual wheelchair users may need assistance. There are no stiles or gates.
Cost: There is no charge.
The area seemed popular with local dog walkers.
Bright sun, stillness and hazy views over the estuary. The circle was warm on this west-facing slope, even in October! The inner circle is small, with very white, limestone stones varying in size up to 4 feet in height, some were flat and some were split. The circle seems sheltered, with amazing views of Birkrigg common and the estuary, limestone pavements and, what we thought were 2 churches – but we now think one was Conishead Priory, a Buddhist monastery and retreat centre. We did not find out until we got home that there was the remnants of an outer circle.
We visited Little Meg on 29th September 2003.
Firstly, our access notes for disabled people:
Finding Little Meg – Little Meg is not easy to find, but we hope this helps. From Little Salkeld take the road to Gamblesby. Continue past the turning for Long Meg on your left, pass Tarn Farm and a strip of woodland on the left side of the road. There is a gap in the woodland, where there are 2 field gates and a wide grass verge. Little Meg is approached through the first field gate (the other is overgrown).
Parking: on the wide grass verge near the gate entrance, quite level, short grass.
Toilets: Nearest disabled people's toilets are probably in Penrith, approximately 9 miles away
Access to the stones: through the first field gate (with heavy spring catch), Little Meg is 175 yards down a wide, grassy field headland – keep the edge of the wood directly on your left. You should see Little Meg, a small low circle, from the gate. Although the land is more level than Long Meg, we think the route could be prone to get muddy after rain – wheelchair users may need assistance. The land immediately surrounding the circle is bumpy.
Little Meg is a very small, low circle with a slightly unkempt air. Very peaceful and quiet. One of the stones has good carved spirals.
Visited 29th September 2003
Firstly, our access notes for disabled people
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.
Well, this is our first attempt at a fieldnote, so bear with us! We are Dorothy and Lucy and we aim to include useful information on access for disabled people in our notes. We are both disabled people ourselves.
We visited Castlerigg on 29th September 2003.
Note - Car Access via Castle Lane from the A591 Thirlmere Road is very narrow with no passing places. We recommend access from
the A66 (from Penrith) - follow the signs to Castlerigg from here. We have not tried the route from Keswick, via A5271 and "Eleven Trees" minor road .
Car parking - there is a long, lay-by (prone to puddles if wet).
Nearest disabled people's toilets - Keswick (approx 2 miles away)
Access to the stones - cross the road, access the field through 3 separate wheelchair-user accessible gates (though they do self-close). The circle is approximately 100 yards across a grass field, up a slight incline. Manual wheelchair users may need assistance. The grass is kept quite short by grazing sheep.
Cost -The site is owned by the National Trust, payment by donation.
The stones are spaced in a way that access between them is quite easy. (Thanks to the Ancients – who were obviously taking access into account!). The circle is approximately 100 feet in diameter.
Note: there is not much opportunity for solitude as there is a constant stream of visitors. We were told, on an earlier visit, that early morning or the evening would be best.
We arrived mid-day on Lucy's 40th birthday amidst descending gloom and cloud cover on the tops - light rain but not very cold. Our hearts sank as the layby looked very busy and there were several parties of people at the stones. As if by magic, they all disappeared a couple of minutes after we arrived and we managed to get a few minutes with the stones on our own. The stones are very cuddly, inviting and female - and in this amazing setting. The sky brightened slightly and the full awesomeness (is there such a word?) of the setting was revealed - St John's-in-the-Vale, Skiddaw, Blencathra, High Rigg, Castlerigg Fell, High Scar and the other surrounding mountains. The magic of the place made me grin from ear to ear – says Lucy.
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