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

Fieldnotes by Steve Gray

Latest Posts

Thimbleby Moor Nine Stones (Stone Circle)

When I saw that there was an entry for Thimbleby Moor I was amazed. I used to manage the estate that owned the moor in the 1980s and I've walked it many times, but never noticed the stone circle. The land is still privately owned, but since there were no photographs on TMA I felt that I ought introduce the moor to my new digital camera regardless.

It was a lovely sunny afternoon in May with a haze that slightly veiled the distant hills. From Multimap I could see that the circle was near to the boundary wall with the forestry that runs alongside the moor, so I thought the best way to find the stones was to follow the wall. I plodged through boggy areas thick with sphagnum and reeds and scraped through newly burned heather stalks.

Stones of varying sizes are strewn over the moor and at each group I looked around to see if they could be the circle I was looking for. All the time I kept thinking "If I was going to build a stone circle, I wouldn't pick this boggy area, I'd build it up on top of that higher ground ahead".

Eventually, I reached the slope and as I came up towards the brow, two very obvious standing stones rose into view. I hurried to the top and saw two more at the southern edge.

The larger of the two northerly stones has a cupped top and weathering marks that are reminiscent of the Devil's Arrows at Boroughbridge.

I paced out the circle, which was about 35m diameter and then paced out the distance between the two northerly adjacent standing stones at 8.5 paces. I paced out anticlockwise around the circle and at each 8.5 paces there was another half-buried stone, though a few were missing altogether. I estimate that there would originally have been 12 stones forming the circle.

The circle has a southerly outlier that's still standing at a rough mid point between the circle stones, but very close to the circle. At the northern side there is another similar outlier, a little further from the circle. It has all but fallen and pokes out of the ground at a very shallow angle.

I took lots of photos of which I have posted only a few. The one with me in it was taken on time delay with my camera balanced precariously ontop of the northern outlier with the lens cap propping it up at the correct angle. I posted that picture to give an indication of the size of the largest stone, which was probably around 1.2m.

On my way back I chose a different route to avoid the bogs and came across another standing stone at least a couple of hundred metres NE from the main circle. There were lots of other stones around and it was hard to be sure, but I thought there might be the possibility of another smaller circle.

There is a field near the edge of the adjacent moor that commands a wonderful view over the valley below and in the middle of the field is a circular wood, grid ref: 447578,496641, marked as "Moor House Plantation" on It looked as though there may be a mound and a ditch, rather like a small henge. The field is fairly well in view of the farm house and I was running out of time, but I intend to return and ask permission of the farmer to go and inspect the wood more closely.

It's a great feeling to be the first to photograph and provide field notes for a site.

My TMA Content: