Castlerigg Stone circle is one of the major tourist must-visits in Keswick. Despite this, Castlerigg emanates an air of peace, tranquillity and an astounding atmosphere; surrounded by fells on all sides. It certainly never feels like there are many people there, although it can be popular in the Summer months.
Maintained by the National Trust; Castlerigg is assumed to be one of the oldest stone circles in Britain. Most historians believe it to be older than Stonehenge. Castlerigg Stone Circle was originally comprised of 42 stones, although only 38 stones are still visible today.
The History of Castlerigg Stone Circle:
Thought to have been constructed around 3000 BC. Unlike its Bronze Age cousins, the Neolithic Castlerigg does not contain any visible burial mounds. There are more than one Neolithic sites in the Lake District, two of which are Swinside in the southern part of the Lake District, and Long Meg and her Daughters in the Eden Valley.
Within the circle of Castlerigg, there is another stone rectangle, which is a rather unusual and rare feature. Archaeologists believe that the most viable use of Castlerigg was as a meeting place for scattered tribes in the region; possibly for trade and/or religious purposes. One wonders about the significance of a rectangular section in the centre, and what purpose it originally served.
Although Castlerigg Stone Circle has not been excavated very heavily, adding to its sense of mystery and allure- three Neolithic stone axes were found on the site in the 1800s, believed to be from nearby Great Langdale.
Where is Castlerigg Stone Circle?
Castlerigg is roughly 1.5 miles out of Keswick, turning off the A591 toward Thirlmere. The road is a narrow one lane track with rough laybys for parking. Castlerigg Stone Circle can be reached by foot for those wishing for a short hike from Keswick. Walks can be continued from Castlerigg up to the summits of Bleaberry Fell and High Seat.
What can you see from Castlerigg Stone Circle?
As well as being able to see Keswick laid out before you; from the centre of Castlerigg Stone Circle you get a panorama of mountains, including Skiddaw; Blencathra; Cat Bells; Red Pike and Grisedale Pike, amongst others.
You’ll find plenty of infographics dotted around, showing you what mountains you’re looking at, as well as the history of Castlerigg.
When can I visit Castlerigg Stone Circle?
Unlike its more popular counterparts, Castlerigg is open to the public year-round and is not a paid entry site, making it far more accessible and use-able for visitors to the Lake District. It’s the perfect place for a picnic in the Summer months, or a night of Stargazing in the Winter (if you wrap up warm that is!)
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