Castlerigg Stone Circle | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Allerdale, England, United Kingdom

About Castlerigg Stone Circle

Sitting atop a stunning natural plateau just outside Keswick in Cumbria, Castlerigg Stone is a late Neolithic Stone Age/early Bronze Age monument ranking among the earliest stone circles in Britain and possibly Europe. It is believed Castlerigg Stone Circle was constructed around 3200BC.

In total Castlerigg contains 38 stones within the outer circle, which has a diameter of approximately 30m; the heaviest stone weighs around 16 tons and the tallest stands at 2.3m. Inside the circle are further stones forming an inner rectangle and although its original purpose remains largely unknown, possible uses include a trading post, meeting place, a religious site or an astronomical observatory.

Archaeoastronomers have noted with interest that some of the stones have bene aligned with certain lunar positions as well as the midwinter sunrise and is often used to celebrate the solstice.

It’s somewhat surprising that so little scientific research has been carried out at Castlerigg given their significance including almost no excavation although in the 19th century, three Neolithic stone axes were found close by suggesting that axe trading was in operation but it remains speculation.

Today the site is run by English Heritage and is open to visitors, its scenic hilltop setting providing pretty views of the surrounding area including High Seat, Helvellyn and the Thirlmere Valley.