High up on lonely Burley moor, miles from anywhere are a group of 12 small standing stones. The tallest is a metre and a half and they are arranged in a circle in a small clearing. They look like a giant child had dropped them on the moors and arranged them in a haphazard way – some have fallen over, some are buried almost to the tops in the mud and all are different sizes and shapes.
But these stones, according to archaeologists were built into a circle about 1800 BC – making them approximately 4000 years old!
It was also known as ‘The Druidical Dial Circle’ and local historian Arthur Raistrick thought there were originally 20 stones with an upright monolith in the centre – possibly to act as a ‘shadow marker’.
The truth is we just don’t know what it was used for – we can only surmise. But these moors contain lots of prehistoric rock carvings and tumulus. In some ways it is just as important as Stonehenge or Castlerigg or other prehistoric sites. But unfortunately it is rather neglected.
I knew about the stone circle for years but had never visited it. So today I had a few hours to spare and decided to chance the weather. I drove up to the moor and was soon climbing up to the tops. The rain started to come down hard and the day was very windy. But looking over my shoulder to the West I could see heavy black clouds but a little patch of blue sky (“just enough to patch a sailors trousers”) as my mum used to say so I sat behind the cairn and waited 20 minutes or so until the rain stopped.
The ground was very wet and I almost had to wade through a normally shallow stream and eventually arrived at the site of the stone circle.
It is a very strange place indeed – slightly off the beaten track you could easily pass it by without noticing it. I spent about half an hour there examining the stones and marvelling at the age of the place – and trying to make some sort of sense of the stones. I am sure many visitors have tried to understand the meaning of the stones, why were they there, what did they mean, who were the people who put them there? You can close your eyes and feel the wind and the remoteness of the place and almost hear the voices of these ancient people.
Eventually I felt a drop of rain on my face and decided I had better get back – and just as I was starting to pack up a beautiful rainbow appeared on the far moors. I also saw in the distance the white golf balls of Menwith Hill ‘spy base’ – and I couldn’t help making the comparison between prehistoric man’s stone circle – possible the height of his technology and 21st Century mans’ technology 15 miles away.
If you are interested in these you can read an excellent article here http://tinyurl.com/khfylcu