On Saturday we took a road trip out to the White Peak area of Derbyshire to try and find another of its megalithic treasures.
The Grey Ladies is a small monument near to the Nine Sisters and Dol Tor. It is located on private land a little distance from Youlgrave. Like the the Sisters and Dol Tor its proposed age is between 3000 & 4000 years. All that now remains are four large up right stones (so really a stone square). Previous investigations suggest there were once nine stones. Those remaining are a little over 6 foot tall and more imposing than the smaller stones of the Sisters and Dol Tor.
Standing high above the Ladies is the natural rock point of Robin Hoods Stride. From the top of this you can get a good 360 degree view of the local area.
I took a couple of rolls of 120 & 35mm film as well as the digital images below. I’ll post those separately at a later date.
As shown above, on the day we visited the land owner had decided to park is trailer in the middle of stones which didn’t afford the best overall views of the stones but I’ve tried to make the best of the situation.
The image above looking through two of the stones and up Towards Robin Hoods Stride.
The view below is a panorama from the top of Robin Hoods Stride looking down into the field where the Grey Ladies reside.
And the image below, standing on the incline leading up to Robin Hoods Stride.
The informative Northern Antiquarian blog suggests the following about the area;
“One of the old names of this site was The Grey Ladies. This came from the well known tale found at other sites across the world, that some ladies were dancing here at some late hour and were turned into stone. A variation on this theme told how Robin Hood stood on the nearby rock outcrop to the south and pissed over the landscape here, “where seven maidens upon seeing it turned to stone.” In this case, Robin Hood replaced an older, forgotten account of a giant, who forged the landscape and the sites around Harthill Moor. and also another tale — whose origins and nature are allied to that of the petrification of the Grey Ladies — narrated with considerable sincerity by local people, was that the circle was a place where the little people gathered and where, at certain times of the year, “fairy music and the sight of hundreds of dancing shapes around the stones” would happen.”
Moving on from the Grey Ladies we went to Arbor Low. This is a large Stone Age henge high on the White Peak with dramatic views across the valley. The site is managed by English Heritage. this Northern Stonehenge has a deep circular ditch and high barrow, its also overlooked by a large Bronze Age buried mound known as Gib Hill. The wind is biting when standing on the high border mound but disappears when you walk down into the ditch. All of the stones now lie flat to the ground but its theorised that they would have been upright and greater in number when it was originally in use. Its a dramatic and impressive site.
Below is a panoramic view from the head mound, looking down across the valley below.
Two further images here, the second from inside the circle.
I’m constantly intrigued by the ancient history in the region just north of Nottingham, including the amazing Cresswell Crags which has some of the oldest Ice Age cave markings in the country. The combination of isolated and often unaffected landscape and the effort of our ancestors to produce works of mysterious significance and great permanence resonate with living history.
Below are some links to further information.