Castlerigg Stone Circle, Keswick

The stone circle at Castlerigg (alternatively Keswick Carles, Carles, Carsles, Castle-rig or Druids' Circle) is situated near Keswick in Cumbria, North West England. One of around 1,300 stone circles in the British Isles and Brittany, it was constructed as a part of a megalithic tradition that lasted from 3,300 to 900 BC, during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages.Various archaeologists have commented positively on the beauty and romance of the Castlerigg ring and its natural environment. In his study of the stone circles of Cumbria, archaeologist John Waterhouse commented that the site was "one of the most visually impressive prehistoric monuments in Britain."Every year, thousands of tourists travel to the site, making it the most visited stone circle in Cumbria. This plateau forms the raised centre of a natural amphitheatre created by the surrounding fells and from within the circle it is possible to see some of the highest peaks in Cumbria: Helvellyn, Skiddaw, Grasmoor and Blencathra.DescriptionThe stones are of a local metamorphic slate, set in a flattened circle, measuring 32.6 m (107 ft) at its widest and 29.5 m (97 ft) at its narrowest. The heaviest stone has been estimated to weigh around 16 tons and the tallest stone measures approximately 2.3m high. There is a 3.3m wide gap in its northern edge, which may have been an entrance. Within the circle, abutting its eastern quadrant, is a roughly rectangular setting of a further 10 stones. The circle was probably constructed around 3200 BC (Late Neolithic/Early Bronze-Age), making it one of the earliest stone circles in Britain and possibly in Europe. It is important to archaeoastronomers who have noted that the sunrise during the Autumn equinox appears over the top of Threlkeld Knott, a hill 3.5 km to the east. Some stones in the circle have been aligned with the midwinter sunrise and various lunar positions.
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Castlerigg Stone Circle Reviews
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  • I honestly do not know how to rate a Stone Circle!!! Pros: Entry and parking are free. The stones are easy to spot and a short walk from the road. Cons: Its a bit out of the way and own transportation...  more »
  • Excellent stone circle, on the windy hill with lots of sheep around. A wonderful, picturesque place perfect for a stroll.  more »
  • Very nice walk up to the Castlerigg Stone circle, very well preserved in a sheep pasture area. Lots of nature about and nice at sunset. Excellent views of all the mountains/hills surrounding the area ...  more »
Google
  • Great position between three impressive mountain ranges. Information panel needs refreshing. Guide book available from the ice cream van (even in October!)
  • Well, it's a stone circle in a field in the Lake District... ...There are stunning views from this vantage point in the valley (on a clear day) but I can image it may be slightly miserable in poor weather as it is very exposed. Worth a visit if this is your cup-of-tea!
  • Situated on a small grassy plateau surrounded by hills on all sides, this Neolithic site has a wonderful atmosphere and fortunately for us not overly crowded with people. The antiquity of the site breathed out of the stones that had been set up there 4 1/2 thousand years ago. As with Stonehenge no one has a clear idea what the circle was used for. This one is older than Stonehenge, although much smaller and with stones that only reached five or 6 feet. The wonder is that you can walk amongst them and touch them like one used to be able to do at Stonehenge not so very long ago
  • An incredibly atmospheric and beautiful spot surrounded, as it is, on all sides by an amphitheatre of mountains. A sense of history hangs in the air. For maximum effect visit at dawn or dusk.
  • What a fantastic place with amazing views of the fells of the northern Lake District. There ancient stone circle is great to place visit, explore and enjoy!

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Where to stay in Keswick

Cottages and B&Bs are scattered over the valley, and many offer views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. The town center's Victorian edifices often hide guestrooms that overlook the charming streets. Consider a B&B or inn with views of the hills close to the town center and enjoy the best of both worlds.
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