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Elva Plain (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Its been a really long time since I was last here, so long that I have no digital photos of Elva Plain, it must be near twenty years. As I remember I parked right near the farm and asked permission to park there while seeing the stones.
This time I parked on the road just outside of the little Rake Wood, walked up the road, turned left and up to the farm, at 6.15am there was nothing doing so I walked on through to the field with the stone circle, and applied myself to the seeing of stones.

The weather had been very favourable for the last few days, so standing at a stone circle on the spring equinox with a clear blue sky, I was cock of the rock, twirling in absolute splendor. On the western horizon the near full moon sank into a pink haze, it reminded me of a spring equinox at Ystumcegid in north wales many years ago, funny the effect a sky has on ones mind.
While I was zooming at the full moon the sun broke into song behind me, I twirled once more and hurriedly crossed the circle, photo photo photo. At last, a successful equinox sunrise, you, me and the stones, it's not as good when one of us is missing.

During the sunrise there was much birdsong, except for a skylark and blackbird I'm pretty ignorant of most of natures calls, but one stuck out in particular, it wasn't a bird, it was a Gibbon, it was doing it's morning territorial whooooooing and wowwwwwwing, a welcome addition to whats shaping up to be one of the good stony days out.

The sun burst out of a notch on the horizon, made from a shoulder of Skiddaw and another hillside further away. The hills frame the whole western view, it made me wonder whether the sun used any other notches at either end, for solstices.
But then looking behind me to the west it looked more of a sunset oriented site, a clear sight line to the sea, not ten miles away.

The stones are low, possibly all knocked over, a couple of stones are mostly underground just breaking the surface like a small stone whale. By the biggest stone, half a dozen smaller stones huddle together for security, as if the bad man might come back again and another stone would go astray. If they could all be spread out once more the aesthetic of the circle would be much improved, but it is what it is.

Bewildering sunrise dealt with I set about adequately photographing the circle, it's about now I should mention the rocky protuberance on the top of Elva plain hill, like Fitzcoraldo before me I saw it and thought "oooh proto temple". Should such things exist, that could be one.
With camera on tripod and extended to it's fullest I wander round hoiking it up in the air for an elevated picture of the stones. It works well.

On my way back to the car I surprised a small child in the farm, he wasn't expecting to see me that was for sure, his two dogs didn't seem to mind me and I tipped him my disarming smile, perfected over several decades of trespassing, I do it for a living you know.

Four Stones Hill (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

All previous posts have no positive words on getting there, so I put it off for years and went elsewhere, until today, its the spring equinox today, and after a successful sunrise at Elvaplain stone circle I felt today was the day to go.
I did what the previous posts seemed to suggest and approached from Drybarrows farm. I couldn't park near the farm because of all the signs written forbidding me from doing so, so I had to squeeze the car in on the little east to west road north of Winder hill. It was precariously parked, but with what looks like a long walk (just over a mile)to the stones I wanted to get as close as I could. Walking through the farm was the worst bit, trying to get by without bumping into angry farmer (they're all angry, they may not always show it, but they're all angry on the inside) all those negative signs on the road made me feel unwanted. But got through the farm I did, and out onto the open moor. There are lots of paths going this way and that, trying to stay on the one that would take me to the stones proved impossible. It wasn't long before I was well off the right path and climbing Little Birkhouse hill, the view over Haweswater was pretty good, and I was sure I hadn't passed the stones yet so I carried on, up Great Birkhouse hill, from there I skirted round the south side of Fourstones hill, and there they were, to me they were in profile and looked like one stone, so I still wasn't convinced I was there until I was right upon them.

Standing at the stone pair the view is joyous, on the nice scale it stands somewhere between very nice and I need to sit down. The reservoir is an imposition on the landscape, there would have been a river down there in the past, it's just a lot bigger now. The way the sunlight speeds across the countryside, lighting up the distant hill sides, I sat down.

So what happened to the other two stones?
Was this a four poster? or a four stone row?
Or were the four stones the remains of a bigger circle?
Answers on a postcard to.......
The stones are quite different, the smaller one sits in it's eternal pool and is kind of triangular and leans towards it's partner, the taller one is a long robust pillar. From the stones about 100 meters north east is the cairn, the two are not intervisible.
I get back up and start circling the stones, after many many photos, I go for a little walk about, get some height and perspective change. I drop back down right onto the cairn, it's quite a good one, large and stony and with a shallow scooped interior. Its time to go, with my car parked where it is I've spent too long here.
On the way back I follow the footpath more correctly and miss the farm out altogether passing by to its south and east by several hundred meters, I wish I'd gone this way first.


If you intend to see all of the lake districts ancient remains (A list) the two stones at Fourstones hill are a definite must see, the view will astound and the stones will confound.
But getting there is still a pain in the......

Towtop Kirk (Enclosure) — Fieldnotes

It's been a long time coming but it's finally happened, Tow top Kirk and me, together at last.
I've been waiting for a considerable while and it's taken a sunny equinox Sunday to get my act together, but together it is, and here I am.

Parking is easy, the road has a wide flat grassy verge between it and the wall, room for a dozen cars, but today there's just two, ones mine and the other, well lets just hope they're not going where I am.

The footpath is on the south side of the road and leads one south west towards Cawdale beck, an interesting big stone cantilevered looking bridge crosses it. Then on the other side it's up the high steep bank and onto the open moorland, the circle is visible from the top of the river bank, about 50 yards distant.

So, this is another of the lake districts possible henges, I saw another last year on Halloween, Dovedale Henge/settlement, it's hard not to compare the two and all the other henges I've seen. The circular....ish bank isnt high, its only a few inches higher than the surrounding ground, like Dovedale there is an entrance at the west end, I could not see the entrance at the east side as it's much more worn or the grass was too long. There's a giants handful of small boulders inside the enclosure in its north west corner?

Apart from the west entrance this site is nothing like Dovedale henge, it's in an unremarkable position, the bank is very low, and there's no big stones. But I think this site has more going for it as a henge than the other. Talk of it being an old Christian enclosure I can only echo Wideford and Fitzcoraldo, Whats a christian enclosure, when have churches ever been circular, makes no sense to me.
Because it lacks the interior ditch of a henge, it had the feeling of an unfinished henge, maybe, in short I dont know what it is but because I'm a supporter of prehistory I lean somewhat automatically towards a ritual site, a Henge.

Dovedale Henge (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

After a quick look at a sodden Kirkstone it's a short drive down the road into Hartsop, the car park is on the left. It is about a mile long walk along the lake that is not a lake, (there are no lakes in the lake district) Brothers Water, covered mostly by trees, it was in this autumnal beauty spot that I saw my second ever Red Squirrel. I've only seen two, both seen while out stone hunting, a movement off to my right drew my eye, but it was only a grey squirrel, but there half way up a tree behind the grey was a bright red Red Squirrel, I even got a photo of it, not a competition winner, just proof it happened.

After passing Hartsop Hall its into a field and over a river, thankfully bridged. From the Dovedale Beck you cant see the henge, just some big rocks over looking the river, but from these rocks you can see the henge.
What a site !
The biggest facet to this hidden gem of a site is High Hartsop Dodd's northern sloping ridge, formidable and ominous it keeps an enduring eye over the whole site. The big rocks, some are on the henge and some are seemingly set into the bank, some are small, some are huge, some are confusingly in the henge itself. The henge has half gone, only the west side remains, there is an entrance.

I now have to do that thing that I have to do, not that, climb up the hill of course. With such a big hill right next to the henge I'd have payed to go up that hill (shshushsh!).
The view was really something, on the nice scale it nestled nicely somewhere in between not bad and very nice, plenty of scope for numerous superlatives there.
I went high, high enough for it to occur to me that if I went higher I would be more technically mountain climbing than stone hunting. So I sat and watched the world, it wasn't doing very much so I looked long and hard at this henge of ours.
Just a few yards outside of where the north east sector would be is what looks like a round cairn, ruined but observable.
But the henge, was it really a henge? where has the other half gone? why are the stones where they are? some in some on the bank, some in the enclosure, it makes no sense. But if it was just a settlement why are they mucking about with these big stones? The placement of the site seems hengish, cornered in as it is by rivers and hills, but were the Neo's as occupied with water as much as the bronze and iron ages?

I left the place puzzled and uncertain, I want it to have been a henge, I wouldn't be surprised to find that out that it was, but I found myself coming down slightly more on the side of settlement in the end.

The Kirkstone (Natural Rock Feature) — Fieldnotes

I don't get out as much as I used to, for a variety of reasons, I've gone from twice a week every week, to maybe half a dozen times a year. But there are days and there are special days, when a special day comes round I have to go out and see some stones, this special day was Halloween, if you're going to see something, shall we say, "a bit spooky" its going to be today. My true destination is the Dovedale henge down the road, but seeing as I'm passing and there's a car park and all.....be daft not to.

I parked in the actual car park just north of the stone and began my arduous trek back up to the Christian meeting house monolith (trying to limit my use of the word church) It's not all that far but up here today the weather is a touch on the wild side, strong winds and sideways stingy face rain. Slipping and staggering I get to the stone not a second too soon, just as I got there the rain really poured, had I not been on the dry side of the stone I'd have been soaked to the skin in seconds.

The Kirkstone is a big natural monolith, not as big as a worshipers holder though, and only from the north does it look like a chapel type building. Today's congregation of one beholds the Kirkstone with a weather beaten jaundiced eye. Yep big stone looks like a church from over there. On to the henge.

Elva Plain (Stone Circle) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Four Stones Hill (Standing Stones) — Images

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Towtop Kirk (Enclosure) — Images

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The Kirkstone (Natural Rock Feature) — Images

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Dovedale Henge (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Images

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Showing 1-50 of 10,958 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
After visiting literally thousands ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website ten years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Callanish
Balnauran of Clava
Torhouskie
Swinside
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Drombeg
Uragh
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

My TMA Content: