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Swarth Fell

Stone Circle

<b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The EternalImage © The Eternal
Also known as:
  • Barton Circle
  • Lord's Seat

Nearest Town:Penrith (13km NNE)
OS Ref (GB):   NY457194 / Sheet: 90
Latitude:54° 34' 0.03" N
Longitude:   2° 50' 23.71" W

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<b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Swarth Fell</b>Posted by Kammer


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I got to the circle from Loadpot Hill to the south - it's no easier to find from that direction! The OS map shows it at about the position listed on the scheduling notice on MAGIC i.e. NY4571 1908 but I agree with fitzcoraldo's GPS data i.e. about 150 yards to the NNW. This might not sound much but it could make all the difference tryng to find these recumbent stones in the tussocky grass.

The scheduling notice describes it as a slightly oval arrangement of approximately 81 fallen stones with an external diameter of 20m by 17m. Taking these figures and fitzcoraldo's estimate that the stones define 60% of the circle leaves only about 45cm of the circle for each stone. Therefore if they were all originally standing, they must have been touching or overlapping.

The whole place felt pretty weird to me - a strange jumble of stones in what could have once been a circular arrangement in a pretty dull place. Why did they bother?
Idwal Posted by Idwal
17th March 2007ce

I picked the hottest day of the year, so far, to wander up from Pooley Bridge to Swarth Fell. The path from the Cockpit splits a few dozen metres to the west of the circle and as long as you take the left hand fork you should be ok.

It's a long slow slog to the top but worth it for the views alone. A GPS is useful to help you find the circle, I actually walked past it and had to track back along the valley of the Swarth Beck before I found the circle (despite having a gps in my bag!).

GPS Stuff: NY 45662 19205 - Altitude 551.07m.

The circle is a weird one. A semi circle of thin, flat, irregular flags defines 60% of a circle. The remaining 40% is pretty stone-free, it's as if someone has moved the stones. The position of the stones is in an enclosed valley beneath Loadpot Hill at the head of the Swarth Beck. The only open view is of the plain beyond Penrith to the North there is however a low col that affords a view along the Greta Valley with Skiddaw and Blencathra in the distance.

All in all this is a very strange place, the circle may be associated with the Swarth Beck but this isn't a satisfactory explanation as the beck simply drops down the fell to Lake Ullswater. I think a more probable explanation is that the circle is associated with the trackway known as High Street which visits many prehistoric sites on it's meandering route from Penrith to Windemere.

As for vibes, I didn't really enjoy the place, it took a lot of effort to get to the site and I thought I would be rewarded with the physical elation I often experience upon reaching a circle. None of that was present here and as I sat eating my lunch I was attacked by a huge, persistant, homicidal horse fly who was intent on lunching on me. It was me or him!

All in all it is well worth the effort to visit this strange circle, it provides a physical challenge and your reward is an ever changing horizon with beautiful views of the upland fells and a wonderful panorama of Moor Divock.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
29th June 2005ce
Edited 3rd July 2005ce

This recent visit was on Whit Saturday, 2005. Typical bank holiday weather. The news said it was 33 deg C in London yesterday, 6 deg C on the Lakeland fells today - worlds apart. It was a day of gales, with storm force gusts, blowing me over several times. Add to that the horizontal rain, which arrived just as I reached the circle, and the photos don't do justice to the grimness of the scene.

Set in a valley head, with the Roman road of High Street on the ridge to the east, and the Moor Divock circles and cairns to the NNE, the only open aspect is to the N. The stones are recumbant now, but possibly once stood. The western sector has no stones, or they are burried under grass tussocks. To the SW of the circle two pairs of stones seem to form an avenue.

The circle is hard to spot, lost in acres of grass and marsh. It doesn't help that the stones aren't standing. If you don't know the area it will be hard to find, and the O.S. map shows it slightly further N and W.
The Eternal Posted by The Eternal
29th May 2005ce
Edited 5th June 2005ce

Visited May 1995: Lou and I walked to Swarth Fell back in the good old days when we lived in the Lake District. We were on route from Bowness to Penrith, mostly following the Roman track called High Street. I saw the circle on the OS map, so we decided to deviated from the footpath to find it.

We nearly didn't find the stones because they are all fallen. We were knackered when we got there, so we downed our (stupidly overloaded) rucksacks and stopped to relax and take in the view. This decision severely inhibited our progress for the rest of the day, but as I recall we didn't really care. As you can see, in the photo Louise is as recumbent as the stones.
Kammer Posted by Kammer
6th November 2002ce
Edited 22nd December 2003ce


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How far is it to walk from Pooley Bridge and where is best to park? bobpc Posted by bobpc
24th March 2007ce