The Lake District, Cumbria is a land of myth and legend, and nestled amidst its breathtaking landscapes you’ll find a fascinating collection of stone circles. Dating back to the Neolithic period, they stand as an intriguing reminder of prehistoric times. Join us as we discover these ancient formations, dotted across the region. 

Castelrigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Perhaps one of the most atmospheric stone circles in the country, Castlerigg enjoys a dramatic location against the backdrop of Helvellyn and High Seat. Its panoramic views across the surrounding countryside are not to be missed! Made up of 38 stones, Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of Britain’s oldest stone circles at 5,000 years old – and its purpose remains a subject of debate.

Swinside Stone Circle

Hidden away in a quiet valley, Swinside Stone Circle dates from the Neolithic period, and boasts one of the best-preserved stone circles in Britain. Its 55 stones encircle a space so serene that it's easy to imagine ancient ceremonies taking place within its boundaries.

It also has another name: Sunkenkirk, from a local legend that the Devil himself created the stone circle by thwarting attempts to build a church on the site. He would appear nightly to knock it down and rearrange the stones in a circle.

Birkrigg Stone Circle

With striking views across Morecambe Bay, Birkrigg features two concentric stone circles – the inner having 12 stones, while the outer ring has 20. It is one of just 30 concentric stone circles in Britain, and dates back to the Bronze Age.

It’s also known as Druid’s Circle, and can be found on Birkrigg Common just a few miles south of the market town of Ulverston.

Little Meg stone circle

Long Meg and Her Daughters

This awe-inspiring formation features a single 12-foot tall monolith known as Long Meg, flanked by a procession of smaller stones resembling her daughters. With 69 stones, it’s one of the largest stone circles in England; and dates back to either the late bronze or early Neolithic age.

Local folklore says that if you walk around the circle and count the stones correctly, then put your ear to Long Meg, you will hear her whisper. It is also said that Long Meg was a witch who turned the women to stone for dancing on the Sabbath. Whatever the story, this impressive site is well worth a visit.

Not far away, you'll find Little Meg: one of the smallest stone circles in England, made up of 11 stones.

Burnmoor Stone Circles

Burnmoor is a collection of not one, but five stone circles – the largest of which is known as Brat’s Hill. Dating back to around 2000BC, the whole site covers around one square mile and can be found on high moorland above the village of Boot in the western Lake District.

Cockpit Stone Circle

Located above Ullswater, Cockpit Stone Circle is a mysterious monument: with elements of both the early and late Bronze age, its age is hard to place. Its purpose, too, is unknown: whether it was a meeting spot, a religious site, or a sign of land ownership is unclear.

Have you visited any of Cumbria's stone circles? Tag us in your photos on Instagram - we're @LakeDistrictCumbria.




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