I’ve not been for a walk for a couple of weeks – too busy posting about Hen Harriers.
It was good to get out today with JD for a gentle stroll up Longridge Fell. It needed to be gentle in view of my physical state and the oppressive heat we are experiencing. By the way, we are not the antiquities in the title.
We follow the usual track up from the parking at Cardwell House, there are stone marker posts, but instead of taking the panoramic path overlooking Chipping Vale I suggest we carry straight on to look for a cairn circle marked on the map and mentioned in online sites.
At the place marked on the map all we found was a modern pile of stones [red dot on map] with no evidence of a circle, which is often the case.
So on we went and now off track managed to fall foul of some boggy areas just as JD was praising his trainers and saying how waterproof they were or as it turned out weren’t. The trig point on Spire Hill looked as though it had been recently repainted a very bright white, for a short period a few years ago it was a lurid yellow. Views were hazy. We walked on through the trees and onto the familiar forest tracks catching up on each others news whilst we had been in lockdown. A pleasant couple of hours but a failure on the antiquities exploration.*****
A liittle more research online – https://thejournalofantiquities.com and https://www.megalithic.co.uk – and I was ready for another walk up the fell with the sole purpose of tracking down the circles.
Jeffrey Hill Cairn Circle. SD64444045 200 yards NE of the car park there is a Bronze Age cairn circle which is not marked on the OS map. It is a circular feature of loose stones, some of which have been placed here in more recent times. Sadly, the site has become overgrown with heather, but in all it measures between 25-30 feet in diameter. Close to the remains of the cairn circle there is a rectangular earthwork. This was perhaps an entrance (portal) to the site. It is very difficult to make out.
Thornley Hall Fell Cairn. SD64524047 A little further away, in the same direction and close to the Roman road to Ribchester, are traces of hut circles together with a tumulus/burial mound, now difficult to see at ground level.
I arrived back at the pile of stones marked on the map and pictured above which I now think corresponds to Thornley Hall Fell Cairn.
I traced my way back through the rough ground until I was at the correct grid reference for Jeffrey Hill Cairn Circle and found the stones depicted on the websites. It was impossible to make out any circle.
Across the fell in a NE direction I could see a metal fenced enclosure which I’d visited before but thought deserves another look. It appeared to be Victorian style fencing with a tumbled gate leading into a 12ft by 10ft empty space. I can find no reference to this structure apart from an oblique mention of locked gate to a beacon. I would have thought that any beacon would have been higher on the fell. I walk back none the wiser.
That was the finish to my short visit to this end of the fell but for the sake of completeness I’ll mention another antiquity at the Eastern end, near Kemple End – the Anglo Saxon cross sometimes known as the Paulinus Cross which I visited recently.
I sometimes wonder about archaeologist’s interpretations. That fencing reminds me of the Swastika Stone above Ilkley.
I know what you mean.
How many stones do you need to make a circle?
The Swastika Stone is surrounded by fencing from what I remember.
There was nothing in the Longridge Fell fencing.
Perhaps it’s a magic circle that can only be seen by people with pixies in their lineage?
An aerial survey would maybe show up the circle which is supposed to be 35m diameter. I don’t know anyone with a drone or a helicopter.
You do wonder how many antiquities have been lost over the centuries.
Someone comes along, does some digging, writes a paper and then moves on.
I don’t suppose any one body is responsible for these small findings unless they are listed by The National Heritage List.
The Thornley Hall Fell Circle is in fact listed as a Scheduled Monument.
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