Not long after I did the Nines Ladies / Arbor Low trip last year I heard about another site in the same area. Yesterday I managed to find it….eventually. It might be a plus that these things are not well sign posted as they remain fairly undisturbed. Dol Tor is fairly small, none of the stones are above knee height and it’s off the track.
It’s suggested that it is anywhere between 3500 & 4000 years old and sits in a little wooded grove looking out over Birchover and the valley beyond. The neolithic builders of this and the Nine Ladies obviously had an eye for drama and mystery. It took me an hour or so and a couple of cold trails before I found it and whilst there were a lot of walkers and ramblers in the general area none passed by whilst I was taking pictures.
The site had been attended recently by what I can surmise were new agers. Little tokens and knitted wind catchers hang from the trees and there was recently a fire in the centre of the circle. The bones of small animals can be found in the recently dug earth on the out skirts. I quite like the idea that some people try to keep sites special and use them in ceremonial ways.
Below are a set of black & white pictures of some evidence of recent activity. I also took some video of this which will most likely appear in the next music video.
I haven’t found much information about the site but did uncover the following on an achieved web page. Resurrected here….
“If the Nine Ladies is a Bronze Age burial circle with the large stone tradition still surviving, then the Six Stones, near the Andle Stone is also a survival of the same tradition, but very much further removed. We have already noted Bateman’s afternoon excavation in 1852. He says, “On passing over the brow of the hill, near the Andle Stone, we noticed a small circle of six stones, four of which retained their upright position, whilst two were prostrate, the diameter being about twenty feet.” After scratching with their pocket-knives they borrowed a spade and cleared a considerable space in the centre where had been dug for the reception of three or four cinerary urns and as many incense cups. This site having been forgotten and overgrown with heather was rediscovered and completely excavated in 1932 and 1933.
The four standing stones are less than three feet in height but the two fallen stones would have been higher than this. There is no doubt that they have been upright, as their bases, which are pointed, are partly embedded in the ground. It is difficult to say whether the bases were naturally shaped to a point or purposefully fashioned that way. It seems clear that they gradually fell because their bases were not sufficiently deep in the ground. This fact led me to suppose that they were intended to be higher than the remaining four. If so they might show another interesting survival of the old megalithic traditions. The trilithons at Stonehenge slope upwards in stages in this way. With the object of testing this supposition I visited the Nine Ladies and it is certainly possible to imagine that they also show the same slope from one side of the circle to the other. There might even be some connection between this idea and the slope in the long barrows in T13. Furthermore the open end of the horseshoe in the trilithons is very similar to the break or opening one sees in barrows, although these openings are often explained as symbolising entrances or exits like the doorways in hut circles.
The Doll Tor circle as it stands now, completely uncovered, shows that the six standing stones were each joined into one circumference by flat stones, a fact which further increases the similarity between the stone circle and the burial mounds. The figure thus formed on the plan is not circular but oval.”
If you have read this far you deserve to be able to find this little gem. The easiest way is to drive up through Birchover in the direction of Stanton-In-Peak. Just after the village there is road off to the left sign posted Stanton-In-Peak. A few hundred yards along on the right is a lay-by and a signed and gated entrance to Stanton Moor. If you carry on for about 50 yards, looking over to the left and down into the valley there is a large natural stone in a field. This is the Andle Stone. Walk down across the field passing the stone on the left. Past the stone through the first field and go through the gap in the stone wall. In the bottom left of the second field is a rusted gate. Jump the gate and follow the path down the hill on the left side of the wall with the open valley on your right. A little way down through the tress there is a small English Heritage sign and Dol Tor is just behind this.
Avebury Henge & Silbury Hill
Very occasionally I indulge my self with a trip out with my camera. As I’ve posted here previously about the various ancient monuments that I’ve visited around the UK it can be assumed it’s a standing stone of an interest.
Towards the end of 2014 when staying in Winchester we visited Stone Henge which without doubt the most well known neolithic stone circle in the UK. I’d hoped to drip in on Avebury on the return journey but time didn’t allow.
So, ignoring the weather forecast I took a drive down to Avebury for a look around. I went there maybe 25 years ago, and as sleepy villages go, its hasn’t changed. The National Trust & English Heritage now look after the site and its noted as a World Heritage site.
As a child I remember watching the quite scary series ‘Children of the Stones‘. Whilst based in a the fictional village of Tilbury, this was filmed inane around Avebury. I rematched this recently and its still a potent little story.
Avebury is the only village that sits inside a stone circle, surrounded by a back and ditch. Construction of the circle is dated to around 3000BC although as in the case of Stone Henge there are suggestions the site was important prior to this as recently discovered evidence of Wood Henges indicate.
The weather was pretty blood awful unfortunately (note rain spots on the lens) but I’m pleased I managed to spend a few bracing hours walking around the site. There is a mass of speculation about the meaning and intent of the architects of the site. Undoubtably giving the scale of the site and the effort required to create it, it was important to them.
The following is a more atmospheric gallery of Hipstamatic pictures – still my go-to iPhone app.
A little one a mile to the south of Avebury is Silbury Hill. At 30 metres (98 ft) high, it is the tallest prehistoric man-made mound in Europe and one of the largest in the world; similar in size to some of the smaller Egyptian pyramids of the Giza Necropolis although constructed somewhat later around 2400BC. Despite numerous excavations there’s no real indication of its function.
I’m now off to read John Drews book ‘The Silbury Revelation‘ which i bought a while ago but neglected to put in the ‘to read’ pile.
And finally in the spirit of ‘if you liked this, you might also enjoy’ heres some pictures and sounds from Dol Tor stone circle.
Filed under Comment, iPhonography, Photography
Tagged as Avebury, Henge, Hipstamatic, Neolithic, Neolithic Britain, Silbury Hill, Stone Henge