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Fieldnotes by Chris Collyer

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Showing 1-20 of 178 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 20

Wallis Grange (Long Barrow)

This is the only 'securely identified oval barrow' in Humberside according to EH but I've seen very similar long barrows elsewhere . In the scheduling of 1995 they give its height as 1.75 metres but it didn't look much over a metre to me while the 52m east-west and 30m north-south looked about right.
The mound is on private land with notices of a bull in the field, although I didn't see one.

Crook Hill (Stone Circle)

There's not a lot I can add to Stu's notes as he sums this site up nicely along with directions and parking. I will add that the walk along the A57 is by a narrow overgrown path at the side of the road so be careful, also once you're off the road then it's uphill all the way to the stones, about 100 metres rise in just under a kilometre. Once you reach the site the views are pretty special, to the east it's fairly gentle and rolling while to the west the twin peaks of Crook Hill are really 'in yer face' in a way that is unlike any other site in the area.
So what is this ring of stones? English Heritage can't decide whether it's a stone circle or kerbed cairn, it certainly looks like a small stone circle and reminded me of Bamford Moor but its location seems to shout cairn. Whichever, although it's nothing spectacular to look at I reckon it's one of the overlooked gems of the Peak. Just keep this one to yerself.

Eyam Moor III (Stone Circle)

I picked about the worst time of the year to visit this site - September and the vegetation round the stones was just mental. Set on the gently eastward sloping eastern side of the moor before it starts to descend rapidly down to the Derwent it's interesting that these are freestanding stones and not an embanked circle though you would hardly be able to tell. The dug out cairn in the centre is crazy too, you can stand at the bottom and not see over the top in places.
EH report four standing stones with two others fallen and measuring between 25cm and just over a metre tall set in a ring measuring 13 metres in diameter and also mention that there were nine stones in total here in the 19th century. If any site was a candidate for a good clear up it would be this one, it would be quite impressive without all the bilberry and heather, mind you the health and safety people would probably fence off the central crater to stop people falling in. Ho hum.

Eyam Moor II (Stone Circle)

This was a real sod to find, in the end it took three attempts and the vegetation dying back a bit before I was sure I was in the right place and could see the form of the low bank. The stones are tiny and mostly buried as has been noted but the dug out cairn is fairly easy to find if not much to look at. While rooting around in the heather I found a suspicious looking leaning slab a little further to the southeast, don't know if it was part of a buried cairn but it certainly looked more like a standing stone than those of the circle!

Wet Withens (Stone Circle)

I can echo most of what's already been said about this site – it's difficult to get to, takes a while to work out what's here, and has some great views. I approached it northwest from the footpath to Leam where the 550 metres on the map don't look difficult - they are. The first 400 metres are uphill through thick heather with the added complication of some fairly deep holes to watch out for. Once you're over the top it's down hill to the circle but even then it doesn't really become clear until you reach it (the nearby Ministry of Works sign has now gone) and initially it's the heather on the raised bank that gives away its form. This bank has an internal diameter of around 30 metres and once you're in the centre of it, it seems huge with many of the stones barely visible in the vegetation although the chair stone sticks out like a sore thumb and it's top does indeed resemble Higger Tor two and a half miles away to the northeast. There seems to be some stones missing from the western side of the circle but theres a good run of stones towards the south and southeast while the views are all to the northwest round to the northeast along the Derwent valley. Incidentally considering it's isolated position it's one of the busiest sites I've visited in the Peak District, as I approached it a bloke who was photographing the cairn wandered off, there were a couple of walkers taking a break in the circle and as I left another couple with a dog were just coming over the hill asking for directions to the stones.

Stanage (Cup Marked Stone)

These are certainly decent sized cup marks and larger than I was expecting, in fact the peppering of tennis ball sized cups across two faces and the top of the stone make it look like some giant piece of fossilised cheese. Don't overlook the cairn though, it's quite impressive in itself. Marked on the map as a ring cairn English Heritage record it as a flat-topped round cairn which is apparently fairly rare in this area. The jumble of stones in the middle seems to be the result of robbing with the whole structure being between 15-18 metres in size, the carved rock sits towards the outer edge of this mound with some smaller stones nearby suggesting some kind of kerb.
There are some great views from the site, Sir William Hill rises ominously just to the southeast with Hathersage Moor away to the northeast while to the northwest there's the weird Abney Low hill and the Smelting Hill / Offerton Moor area.

Stanage II (Cup Marked Stone)

I have to say the cup marks on both these stones look fairly convincing to me, the decorated upright nearby and the cup marked stone in the Wet Withens cairn demonstrates that there was certainly some tradition of carving stones in this area. I wonder if a thorough investigation of the moor would turn up more marked rocks?

Eyam Moor Barrow (Cairn(s))

Visited in September 2007 and Ministry of Works sign had been removed so can't be used as a waymarker to find the cairn and nearby Wet Withens. The cairn itself has been bashed about and it's difficult to figure out what it was meant to be. There is a suggestion that it may originally have been a pair of cairns that were either joined in antiquity or by more recent excavation/quarrying while another idea is that it could have been a long cairn. It measures about 28 metres by 18 metres.

Wragby Barrow (Round Barrow(s))

This barrow stands just over the fence next to a slip road off the A171. This slip road makes an ideal parking place for exploring the southwestern end of Brow Moor/Stony Marl Moor. The barrow itself is small low mound that sits on a high point of land and is very similar in size to the two Jugger Howes barrows that stand 300 metres south east on the other side of the head of Burn Howe Dale. This position is interesting as all three barrows seem to mark the limit of the valley, in Lincolnshire similar locations were often the site of long barrows.

Smelting Hill & Abney Moor (Stone Circle)

As previously mentioned parking here isn't easy. There's a passing place just to the east of the village at SK201800, if you park carefully you can avoid blocking it. From here a footpath heads north then cuts northeast across a couple of fields then onto the moor where it starts to get a bit steep but by the time you get close to the stones the track has levelled off giving views across the moor to the north. It's the views to the south and east that impress though - due south on the other side of the valley the low saucer shaped hill of Abney Low looks like a squashed Silbury while Higger Tor stands out on the horizon to the east with Eyam Moor to the southeast.
The site itself isn't in a great state of preservation with just a single standing stone and a further fallen stone visible. This smaller one seems to be set into the inner edge of the bank while the larger one looks to be set further into the interior, it could just be that the bank is more eroded here - there's certainly a lot of erosion around the base of the stone. English Heritage give the measurements of this stone as 75cm high with the bank having an internal diameter of about 8 metres and a width of between 1.5 and 2 metres.

Barbrook IV (Ring Cairn)

Not the easiest site to get to but I really liked this one. I parked at the same layby at SK281751 that gives access to Barbrook I and II, but took the track that leads east uphill to the ruined building of Ramsley Lodge. From here a decent track leads north then you need to cut across to the northeast towards the ring cairn. A word of warning though, parts of the moor are very marshy and I had to backtrack a couple of times to find a safer route. The site sits on a slightly raised area above this wet ground with views across it to the west towards Big Moor while just to the east the land slopes down to the stream that stands at the bottom of Hewetts Bank. The ring of rubble stones looked pretty well defined to my eyes, particularly to the south. On the way back I took a route towards the other entrance to the moor at SK283757 but this also proved quite waterlogged in places too.

Gibbet Alignment (Stone Row / Alignment)

The two smaller stones are easy enough to spot when approached from the track but the large square boulder on the rise of the hill really draws the eye. If my map reading is correct then the alignment passes northnorthwest just below, and following the line of, Birchen Edge, across the top of Gardom's Edge, shaves the western edge of Swine Sty and onto White Edge. Whether this alignment was deliberate, part of a field boundary, or just a coincidence and the two small stones formed part of some other structure seems open to question but the alignment theory seems wholly believable on site when standing behind the smaller stones.

Gibbet Moor cist

This is a bugger to find even with a gps. Approached from the direction of the 4 poster it's impossible to see this cist until you fall into it as it is beneath the level of the heather, approached from the north however the large boulder becomes evident from a few metres away. This boulder looks like it may be earthfast while the other stones look pretty rough and ready, this is no elegant slab lines tomb but it does have a charm of it's own, Stu mentions 2 sides of the cist being visible but I could only see the stones of the eastern side, any others must have been buried under the heather.

Gibbet Moor North (Stone Circle)

A lovely little site set on a gentle northeast slope that leads down to Umberley Brook, there's a real sense of seclusion and isolation about these stones probably enhanced by the trek across the moor to reach them. All three are just over half a metre tall, about a couple of metres apart and with the axis of presumed square being northnortheast - southsouthwest, assuming of course there was ever a fourth stone.

Gibbet Moor Standing Stones (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Fairly easy to find and a short walk across the heather from the track that runs along the western edge of the moor. In Stu's photo from 2002 the area looks to have been recently burnt off and as of summer 2008 the area to the west hasn't fully regenerated although the stones themselves are starting to become engulfed in heather and rush and the smaller stones that may have formed part of a kerb are already covered.
The suggestion that the natural stone to the west could have been a prominent feature seems very plausible as it sticks out like a sore thumb, looking like some kind of megalithic sun lounger.
Some nice views to the northwest round to the northeast. OS Ref SK28146973

Gibbet Moor West (Ring Cairn)

It's a bit difficult to fathom this one out. There are several sets of 2 or more stones at the grid ref and slightly southwest that could form part of the arc of a ring cairn and the ground is uneven enough to suggest a low bank in places but nothing definite to my eyes. It's good to read in Idwal's post that even the archaeologists can't agree on some of the sites of the moor.

Bar Dyke Ring (Cairn(s))

I had a root round for this one but there's not much to see (assuming that the site is accurately marked on the OS 1:25000 map) There does seem to be a semi-circular feature to the west of the fence that it evident by the growth of heather more than anything else and a slight change in the vegetation to the north and south where the track beside the fence passes through the cairn. Might be worth a look for the bank in winter.

Bar Dyke

English Heritage seem particularly undecided on the date of this one, saying probably post-Roman through to possibly as late as 7th century but on the other hand maybe Iron Age or even Bronze Age. So could be anything really.
I wonder if there is a clue in where the northeastern end of the earthwork leads to. As I was driving north away from the site I noticed some strange bumps and small hills to the east just after the two roads join and assumed they were quarry spoil heaps. Checking the maps and internet later I found out these are a natural feature known as Canyards Hills and that Natural England calls them "the most impressive example of 'tumbled ground' in England and Wales" Is it significant that Bar Dyke leads to, or from these hills?

Ewden Beck (Stone Circle)

I wasn't expecting much from this site but was pleasantly surprised. Set on a gently northeast facing slope framed by Ewden Beck to the north and one of its tributaries to the east English Heritage record this as being a ring cairn rather than a stone circle. It's difficult to tell exactly what it is as it's quite overgrown and rooting around in the bracken and heather turns up many half buried small stones that formed part of a bank which the Morgans reckon is about 2-3 metres wide, the whole circle having a diameter of about 20 metres. There are 4 or 5 largish boulders that could be said to be standing together with a few slab like fallen stones, the rest of the larger stones are towards the northern, northeastern and southeastern edges of the ring while those to the west seem to be mainly packing material from the bank. I'm sure there are many more stones that I missed. The northern entrance seems well defined but I couldn't quite decide which stones formed the southern entrance although what could be a fallen slab outlier could provide a clue.
The site has some decent views from the northwest round to the southeast but it's the Salter Hills to the east that really draw the eye. There's also a few interestingly named places close by - Stone Moor, Bolsterstone, Midhopestones and the wonderfully quaint Wigtwizzle.

Hob Hurst's House (Burial Chamber)

An interesting site but what a mess. It sits in it's own little enclosure on Harland Edge with an information board next to it showing a plan of the bank, ditch, central cairn and cist which you need to study to get any understanding of the monument as the whole site is covered in a layer of bracken and heather. It consists of a central raised cairn (with traces of a stone kerb) that measures about 8 metres square and is about a metre above the surrounding square ditch. Within this central area is a cist which Bateman illustrated as being edged with 13 stones and containing a layer of charcoal with a collection of bones towards the north with a further group of bones as well as fragments of lead ore contained within an arc of stones in the south-eastern corner. He noted that the bones as well as the arc of stones were all fire scorched. The 3 metre wide ditch leads to square bank that measures a further 3 metres in width and stands about a metre tall although the northern side has been lost to a packhorse track.
I got the distinct impression that Hob Hurst's House and the group of barrows that follow the northwest-southeast line of Harland Edge formed part of a boundary or division of the moors between the sites of Gibbet Moor to the north and those of Beeley Warren on lower ground to the west.
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