The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Stone Circle


I only read about this site a month or two ago and decided to wait until spring had sprung before visiting, the high northern Pennines can be a bit dodgy in wintertime.
This monuments was on the top of my 'to see' list as it fulfills most of the criteria that I am currently interested in. A stone circle with a cup mark in a remote locations with views over to Cumbria and Yorkshire. It is situated a couple of miles from the Stainmore Pass, the route from Cumbria to Yorkshire and possibly a prehistoric route that was utilised by the stone axe and flint trade.
I drove up to Mudbeck via Reeth, stopping off at the lovely Silver Street bakery for a Swaledale cheese sarnie and one of their lovely curd cakes for later. Fortified with grub I took the long climbing road along Arkengarthdale.
There is a footpath marked on the 1:25000 map, forget it, there is no path. My tip for finding this site is, from the road, find the sheepfold with the tin hut beside it at NY959074 and use that as your guide keeping it to your right at all times.
The moor here is extremely wet and composed of tussocky grass and sphagnum so water proofed boots are a good idea. You'll notice that even the sheep stick to the roadsides
Walking over the tussocky grass is like walking on a ploughed field and quite heavy going but it's not a long walk so worth putting up with and if you go in spring you have the pee-witting lapwings and the odd snipe for company.
As you walk over the moor it is easy to imagine that this landscape hasn't changed for thousands of years, but you'd be wrong. If you check out the many small channels that have been cut through the peat you'll see evidence that the area was wooded, numerous branches of what looks like birch protrude through the peat.
When you reach the large beck you'll have to find somewhere to cross, be careful the rocks are very slippy.
Once over the beck you need to look out for a low ridge, on the eastern end of this ridge is a low mound with numerous patches of sedge upon it, this is the circle.
The views from the circle are superb, to the south east you can see along Arkengarthdale to the hills beyond and to the north west you can see the nothern Pennines that border the Upper Eden valley.
None of the stones of the circle are visible until your actually on them. There are four upright stones and at least five fallen stones. The stones are unusual as they are quite thin, about the thickness of a gravestone
A number of stones are missing but by walking the circumference of the circle you'll notice a number of small buried stones protruding through the ground. I estimate the diameter of the circle as being about 20 metres.
If you look to the slightly higher ridge to the west of the circle you'll notice a few low stones. It's worth checking these out, I haven't a clue what the feature is but there are a few stones on the top of the mound and it is possible to trace a circular pattern in the small loosely scattered stones on the flanks of the low mound.
The Mudbeck cup marked rock is one of these.
All in all this is a lovely circle set in the wonderfully desolate upper Pennine landscape.
The cup marked rocks are a bonus.

After your labours a pint in Britains highest pub awaits you a couple of miles up the road at Tan Hill.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
9th May 2005ce
Edited 9th May 2005ce

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