Tag Archives: Stonehenge

The Grey Ladies & Arbor Low

The Grey Ladies - White PeakOn 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.

The Grey Ladies - White Peak

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 Grey Ladies - White Peak

The image above looking through two of the stones and up Towards Robin Hoods Stride.

The Grey Ladies - White Peak

The view below is a panorama from the top of Robin Hoods Stride looking down into the field where the Grey Ladies reside.

Robin Hoods Stride - Panorama

And the image below, standing on the incline leading up to Robin Hoods Stride.

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.

Arbor Low - Panorama

Two further images here, the second from inside the circle.

Arbor Low - Derbyshire

Arbor Low - Derbyshire

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.





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Konstruktor Camera


It was my Birthday a little before Christmas and one of the presents I was lucky enough to receive (from my more than forgiving wife) was something I’d seen in Rough Trade Records a few weeks earlier. The Konstruktor Camera comes flat packed like an Airfix kit, together with some incredibly tiny screws, springs and a few decorative stickers.

Constructor Kit

The indicator on the boxes says ‘build your own camera in between 1-2 hours’. Lol! Well, it didn’t take that much longer and the biggest disadvantage that got me was failing eye sight and the really really tint screws. I eventually managed to assemble it and it seems to function as it was intended, just. So far I’ve only managed to put one roll of film through it, a out of date 200 Fuji film.
The results aren’t out standing and I lost at least a third of the roll not realising it was working.

Still in the spirit of sharing progress, below are some of the results. A few are from Stonehenge and the others are from Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire, both English Heritage sites. The little beast now has an old roll of B/W Ilford film waiting for a day trip.

The negatives were developed by Photo Parlour in Nottingham who have done all of the recent 120 film I’ve used. Also, if you are interested in this type of thing, I recently bought some out of date 120 film from an Ebay reseller called Kitschretro. They have a wide variety of film to fit most budgets and offer grouped delivery.

Crop08 Stonehenge





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NueChromeWaVe – Album4

Vague Wave II

A very brief post to advise that for interested parties I’ve completed a new series of songs.

Most have appeared here in earlier form over the last 3 or 4 months but they are now collated together and available for your listening delectation.

The series has a page of its own which you can enjoy here. This has lots of pictures and a brief summary of each song together with links to additional detail previously posted.

Should wish to own this item it’s free unless you wish to donate to the cause. To pursue this option please visit the Bandcamp site through the links below.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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Trilithon (Song For The Architect)

Stonehenge 01 ACN 2014

This post will be the last to include a new musical piece in 2014. Its been a good run and for me its been a breathless run, grabbing available time to throw herbs & sources into the mix. This one is the end of the Norfolk Cycle and finishes with a piece inspired by Hampshire & Wiltshire.

Some number of years ago I attended Winchester School of Art and during the first week of December, with Mrs A4+, I went back to have a look around- with the best part of 25yr gap. It was a bit of a flash back pilgrimage, I still have occasional dreams that fix in the town, and I was interested to see any changes that have occurred. The WSA Campus is a lot bigger, there are new shopping centres, but the core of the main thoroughfare and are around the Cathedral are unchanged. With a little more time I would have liked to walk some more of the area, the Water Meadows, the riverside area, St Catherine’s Mount but overall the visit was satisfying.

Stonehenge 02 ACN 2014

The one thing I did want to do when in that neck of the woods was to visit Stonehenge. Whilst its more associated with Salisbury its only 20mins drive away from Winchester. I am really quite entranced by the countries very early history, stone circles and long barrows of the peak district I’ve referenced previously in pictures, sounds and moving images. Stonehenge is the ‘holy grail’ (ok, maybe thats in Glastonbury theoretically) being the largest megalithic structure in Northern Europe. Raised between 3000 & 2000 years BC its an unbelievably impressive example of planning & will. The stones were transported over huge distances, shaped with minimal available materials, organised and plotted with unerring precision and raised by methods we can only guess. The site was used over a millennia and was adapted and evolved throughout that time.

Bronze Age people produced monuments from the Mediterranean, through central Europe and up into the British Isles that have endured and surpassed constructions from later more adept civilisations. I’m always struck by the thought of the individual the directed the concept. No matter what the capability of the hive, there must be an architect, scratching in the sand, watching the sky, pointing the way.

The following images are Holga photographs on 120 film with intentional overlapping.

SH Sec01 Med

SH Sec02 Med

SH Sec03 Med

SH Sec04 Med

Winchester Cathedral is a similarly engrossing edifice. When at college I spent quite a lot of time in there, copying patterns, looking at sculpture and being overwhelmed by the architecture. Despite my issues with organised religion I’ve always been fascinated by the power of spaces such as this. They exemplify wonder & glory even though in the main they were constructed through forced labour, associated poverty and coercion over extended periods of time. From York & Lincoln Cathedrals in the UK, the Sacre Coeur in Montmatre, the Alhambra Palace in Granada and the Sagrada Famila in Barcelona the human impulse to honour abstract and indefinite visions is frightening in its intent.

The following are some motion blur picture taken of the windows in Winchester Cathedral.

Winchester Windows 01 ACN 2014

Winchester Windows 02 ACN 2014

Winchester Windows 03 ACN 2014

So at the end of all this what are we left with? An admiration of the designer, an inability to understand the effort and methods of the builders and the chatter of history – wedding and flowing in it’s attempt to theorise the cause and inception of these great things.

The song / soundscape that I’ve ended up with is a long form piece, a snick over 25 minutes long. It’s roughly in three parts although the overlay doesn’t lead to clean section breaks. The sections are essentially Conception-Construction-Communion.There are repeated sounds in each that link them but they ultimately form the ‘Trilithon. the rock in three parts.

The track uses my ‘kitchen sink’ of tools including Launchpad (for the majority of the chill/cinematic sounds), Amplitude (for effected guitars and for the first time real bass guitar) and is finished off using LANDR mastering which whilst ‘off the peg’ seems to work well in bringing everything to workable level. The middle section might have the affect of inducing some anxiety but it does ‘come down’ in the closing section. In the words of Bill Hicks “it’s just a ride”.


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The Nine Ladies & Arbor Low

Nine Ladies No1

A few weeks ago I took the children on a road trip to the low peak in Derbyshire with the hope of finding the the Nine Ladies. We ended up very close but one got scared and the other (being short legged and only just 3) wouldn’t have made the trek. Undaunted, on SaturdayI took a variety of cameras and managed to find the goal.

The Nine Ladies is a bronze age megalithic stone circle high on a hill on Stanton Moor (in the general area of Buxton). Whilst later in the day I found an easier access, the path we discovered with the children traverses the hill side for about a mile reaching the Earl Grey Tower . From there there is a short walk through the cultivated woodland before reaching the Nine Ladies.

Here is some text from somewhere else…..

“There are nine upright stones, each of local millstone grit, each less than a metre high, in a clearing in a modern wood planted on Stanton Moor.[3]They sit in a rough circle with a gap at the south side of the circle where no stone-hole has been found. However, an additional stone, lying flat rather than upright, was discovered after being exposed as a crop mark in the dry weather of 1976. It is now visible.[4] The circle is built on an embankment which levelled the local terrain.[5] The small “King Stone” lies forty metres from the circle to the west-south-west and is clearly visible from it.[1]

The Nine Ladies were among the 28 archetypal monuments in England and Wales included in General Pitt-Rivers’ Schedule to the first Ancient Monuments Protection Act, which became law in 1882. It was taken into state care the following year.[6]

Nine Ladies No2

I have a great fondness for artefacts of this type. I read some while ago a theory that mankind achieved its intellectual peak during the Bronze Age. The challenges of day to day survival and obvious invention from the ground up that occurred between 5 & 6 thousand years ago is unsurpassed. The global population would have maybe been a tenth of its current insane level but the structures and artefacts of the time remain. In the British Isles we had farmer gatherers moving rocks and arranging them in circles whilst on the islands of Greece (Crete & Santorini) there where sea trader communities building three story houses. I still like our stone circles.

This is panoramic image taken from the centre of the circle. Click on the picture for a full sized view.

Nine Ladies No3 Panorama

A short drive away from the Nine Ladies site, high on a wind swept hillside is the Arbor Low barrow and stone structure. Much larger than the Nine Ladies and in an impressive landscape now populated by sheep is the ancient earthwork of Arbor Low and the nearby burial mound of Gib Hill.

Arbor Low No1

It’s very encouraging the English Heritage recognise, promote and take care of these places. Our history is vital and isn’t in need of overt commercialisation or promotion. Finding these quiet and beautiful places through interest and random connection is more than enough sometime.

Here is a panorama of the Arbor Low site. There was a chill wind despite the sporadic sunshine. I recorded about 5 minutes of wind noise standing in the middle if Gib Hill to use in some musical endeavour. I’m fairly sure the wind noise experienced standing on the top of the mound is the same now as it was when it was built 5000 years ago.

Arbor Low No2 PanoramaFinally, visiting these places I’m reminded of a many things. Living in Winchester and taking the short trip to Avebury and Stonehenge and also watching ‘The Children of the Stones‘ as a pre teen in the 70’s. Maybe I am a New Ager after all, dammit.


UPDATE 12/05/13

The information available about Arbor Low & Nine Ladies is negligible but I did come across the following link on a Druid resource / dowsing blog. I have no opinion on the efficacy of dowsing or druidity but what I found quite interesting is the ley line search criteria of settlement names and suffixes. According to this the south eastern ley emanating from Arbor Low passes through Mapperley, the area of Nottingham I live in. There are no identified bronze age site specific artefacts that I know of near by but the area would have been prime territory for settlers with high land for good views and narrow valleys for shelter and cultivation. So in order to restore the balance I have built a stone circle in the garden, I followed my instinct for the location and have deified my self with a representational megalith in the centre. Knell before me, I Am The Lizard King, I Can Do Anything….





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