An Ancient Place: Castlerigg

Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of the earliest stone circle sites in Europe, having been built sometime around 3000BC, making in some 500 years old that the Great Pyramid of Giza. And while the actual structure may be less impressive than that Egyptian monument, the  location of Castlerigg is more so.

Nestled comfortably in the heart of the Lake District, Castlerigg is surrounded by mountains and lush fields. From the centre of the stone circle you can see some of the highest peaks in England, including Skiddaw, Helvellyn and Blencathra.

Like every stone circle, the thousands of years of unrecorded history has erased our knowledge of why Castlerigg was built. Like most stone circles its has a solar alignment but stone axes have also been discovered within the circle, leading to theories that the circle was a meeting place for tribes of Neolithic people from which they traded and preformed religious ceremonies. The site is probably linked to the Langdale axe industry which dominated this part of England during the Bronze Age and the unusual shape of the circle suggests that additional stones were added over time meaning the site likely played a role in the lives of countless generations.


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  1. Something so beautiful and mystical about a stone circle. Were there any cairns at the top of those surrounding hills by chance? Did they mention if the stone was local stone or stone from a far away distance?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The stone is a local slate and there are only very few cairns in the Lake District, there’s a few other large stone circles but there is a distinct lack of neolithic sites around Castlerigg, I suppose if it was actually a trading post it was place at the border between tribal territories

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic post, I really love how much ancient history is within easy reach here in the UK. Almost every valley in Wales seems to have the remains of an Iron Age hill fort or a Bronze Age burial cairn. Hiking here is almost like walking into the past at every turn!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a stunning location, off the beaten track, with just a little info sign by the road and surrounded by those gorgeous hills. The day we visited, there were only about a dozen people meandering about and the sheep outnumbered the humans. So unspoiled! Way better than the tourist trap that is Stonehenge!

    Liked by 1 person

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