Castlerigg Stone Circle
In my view this is one of the most beautiful stone circles that the UK has to offer. Its setting, just east of Keswick at Grid NY291236, is stunning. To the North the ground is dominated by the ancient mountains of Skiddaw, Lonscale Fell and Blencathra, while to the South the view of the Cumbrian Mountains and Thirlmere valley lead the eye to Helvellyn on a good day.
Castlerigg Stone Circle dates to 3200BC and is believed to be older than Stonehenge by approximately 600 years. It lacks the dramatic height of Stonehenge, its highest stone being 2.3 metres, but it more than compensates with its location. The circle contains 38 stones of local slate and has a diameter of approximately 30 metres, although it is believed that Castlerigg Stone Circle once contained 41 stones in all.
The original entrance may have been to the north and it is from direction you access the field from the parking lane on the road. In the east of the circle is a small rectangular enclosure. Like most stone circles it is unclear what the original purpose was and people offering differing suggestions. Three axes were found there in the 19th Century.
Castlerigg Stone Circle is a National Trust property that enjoys open access with no charge to visit. It can be very busy, which can frustrate you if you wish a quiet moment or to take advantage of the peaceful beauty to reflect. The best time to visit is early morning or later in the evening when the crowds are otherwise engaged.
If you go to the Lake District please don’t miss this amazing site!