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Arbor Low - SK 160635 - 5 miles SW of Bakewell


Famous Neolithic henge and stone circle, often called the Avebury of the North and dating from around 2,500 - 1,700bce. The henge is 75m across and the ditch is 9m wide and about 2m feet deep. The circle itself comprises approximately 50 large limestone stones, which were once standing but have all now fallen. Like Avebury, there is a small cove of stones within the larger circle. A Bronze Age round barrow cuts through the surrounding bank close to the south entrance.

Gib HillSome 300m SW of the henge lies Gib Hill (pictured), a small conical mound about 4.5m high which was once presumed to be a Bronze Age round barrow. In the light of more modern interpretation of the Avebury complex, however, Gib Hill is now considered by many to be a harvest hill, serving the same observation point function for Arbor Low that Silbury does within the Avebury complex.

Doll Tor - SK 238628 - West of Stanton Moor

Small and unspoilt Bronze Age stone circle now standing in a small plantation of conifers. About 4 - 5 m diameter with some 9 small stones. Until the mid to late 1990's this circle showed no evidence of being regularly visited or being the site of pagan ritual. Since then, however, fires have been lit and the usual pagan detritus left behind with increasing regularity.

Eyam - SK 225790

Bronze Age stone circle high up on Eyam Moor about 1mile or so N or NE of Eyam village. The circle is complete, about 100' (30m) in diameter and comprises 16 smallish stones surrounded by a bank and ditch, thus making it a "henge" rather than just a stone circle. The circle probably dates from 2,200 - 1,400 bce.

This circle is in regular use by at least one local group - though Alexandrian-type graffiti of the "hail Karnayna" variety scratched into a metal sign at the site does not say much for the mentality of the group involved.

Froggatt Edge - SK 249768 - Hathersage

A complete Bronze stone circle with a diameter of about 36ft (11m) and made up of two concentric stone rings set on the inner and outer edges of a bank and ditch. There are 6 stones on the inside and 5 on the outside edges of the bank with entrances to the north and south of the circle.

When I visited some years ago, this site was obviously in use for festivals.

The Nine Maidens - Stanton Moor

“Also known as The Nine Ladies - Over-used and much-abused stone circle of 9 stones. Its diameter is about 10m and the stones now stand up to about 3ft or 0.9m high; there is also an outlier called the King Stone.

Once set in a grove of silver birch and enclosed by a dry-stone wall and a slight bank and ditch, it has been largely desecrated over a number of years by New Age Travellers, "neo-pagans" and weekend ravers from nearby cities. One of the stones was broken several years ago when a drunk backed a vehicle into it. Additionally the trees have been largely torn down for firewood the wall destroyed for stones to make hearths. A good example of what happens when plonkers read a few mass-market books on "witchcraft" and think they know it all.

The whole of Stanton Moor is a rich treasure-house of Bronze Age round barrows, standing stones and earthworks. For much of the decade between 1995 and 2005, The Nine Maidens was the focus of an ultimately successful campaign by archaeologists, pagans and environmentalists to prevent a local quarrying company from quarrying sand and gravel from excavating a large part of the moor, which would have destroyed or threatened a number of its sites.”

Nine Stones - SK 225625 - Harthill Moor

In fact only four stones are now standing, but those which remain are the tallest in the county. If there had been nine originally they would have made a circle some 45 ft in diameter (12m). The tallest stone is about 11.5ft (3m) high including the part which is now buried. Believed to be a Bronze Age site.

Thors Cave - Derbyshire SK 098549

Between Grindon and Wetton, about 8 miles North-West of Ashbourne, sits Thors Cave, an imposing mouth set into an almost sheer escarpment of over 150 feet. A narrow pathway leads up the hill to the cave, but this one is definitely for the fit and agile (in the wet the path becomes very slippery). The caves are not too extensive, but a torch is necessary for venturing into the puddles and gloom.

Thor's Cave, Derbyshire Looking out from Thor's Cave

Tissington - SK 176522 - Ashbourne

There are 5 holy wells in this town, each the subject of well-dressings annually on Ascension Day. The wells are called Coffin Well, Hall Well, Hands Well, Town Well and Yew Tree Well. The well-dressing ceremonies are, unfortunately, very Christianised and tend to comprise large and intricate pictures of biblical or Christian themes made up from flower heads pressed into clay.