Stone circles are monuments consisting of a number of stones fixed to the ground at intervals to enclose a sort of circular area. Stone circles were built in Derbyshire and the Peak District during the late Neolithic and early Bronze Ages, approximately between 3,000-1,500BC. The reason for them is not altogether clear though it is thought they had a religious purpose.
There are around 20 Stone Circles surviving in Derbyshire and the Peak District. A few more have been destroyed during the last couple of centuries. Here are some of the best.
Nine Ladies Stone Circle, on Stanton Moor
Situated on Stanton moor near Stanton in Peak, the Nine ladies form a circle 10m in diameter. Each stone is less than 1m in height and some are slightly leaning. An outlying stone - a block of Millstone grit 58 cm high and called the King Stone, stands approximately 45 metres from the centre of the circle. Legend has it that one sunday 9 ladies and a fiddler came up to the moor to dance and for this act of sacriliege they were all stoned to stone.
The stone circle stands in a large clearing in woodland which can be reached via a footpath just outside Stanton Lees.
Nine Stones Close Stone Circle
Nine Stones Close Stone Circle, also known as the Grey Ladies, lies on Harthill moor, north of the village of Elton in Derbyshire. They can be seen from the road from Elton to Alport. The stones of this circle are the tallest standing stones in Derbyshire
though only four stones remain of what once was a 45-foot circle of stones. They range from 1.2m to 2.1m in height, this tallest being located at the southern end of the circle. Excavations took place in 1847 and the stones may not be in their original positions. A good view of the stones can be had from Robin Hood's stride.
Arbor Low Stone Circle
Arbor Low is probably the best known stone circle in Derbyshire
and the only circle in Derbyshire built from limestone, the others all being millstone grit. It consists of 30 odd collapsed blocks originally thought to have stood in an egg shaped inner ring 37 metres by 41 metres. A bank and ditch surround the stones.
Arbor low is fairly easy to reach by turning off the A515 Ashbourne to Buxton road at Parsley Hay towards Youlgrave. A short distance on the right is a short drive to a farm with a lay by for parking and access to the circle.
Barbrook I is situated on Big Moor in Derbyshire, 0.5km from the main A 621 Baslow to Owler Bar road. It has easy access with a footpath across the moor passing yards from the circle and the stones can clearly be seen on the right hand side of this path. Barbrook I consists of a small neat ring of 12 stones and is in good condition. The tallest stone is 1.3m and marks the position of the mid winter sunset. The site has become a mecca for people wanting to gather at the winter Solstice. A short distance away is another small circle.
Hordron Seven Stones
Hordron Seven Stones circle lies on Moscar Moor off the main A 57 Glossop to Sheffield road near the Lady Bower dam. It consists of around 20 stones only 10 of which stand upright and can be clearly seen. Excellent views in all directions.
Doll Tor Stone Circle
Doll Tor Stone Circle is situated to the west of the Birchover to Stanton in the Peak road grid Ref SK 238628. Surrounded by trees, the stones are small and almost overgrown by grass and bracken. It is dated late within the stone circle building tradition, around 1800BC in the Bronze age.
Many photographs of these stone circles at Derbyshire Photographs
More information on Derbyshire and Peak District Stone Circles can be found at:
The Megalith Map