Considered to be the most atmospheric by popular consensus, the Castlerigg Stone Circle, is a structured placement of stones near Keswick in Cumbria, North West England. Not quite as famous as Stonehenge, the Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of the oldest out of 1,300 stone circles spread about within the British Isles. Also known as Keswick Carle, or Druid’s Circle, this Megalithic construction was built around the Neolithic era around 3,000 BC and consists of 38 stones of diverse heights situated in an oval shape. The largest stone sits at over 8 feet tall, but the rest of the stones are less than 5 feet in height. A few of the stones have since collapsed, however the site is in unusually fine condition.
The Castlerigg Stone circles feature a distinct aspect the rest of the stone circles in Britain do not seem to possess. Within the stone circle at its core, lies a rectangle of ten smaller stones in an arrangement which has been labeled “The Cave”. A modest mound sits in the center, which has been theorized to be a burial chamber. Although, the site has never been fully excavated, there seems to have been only charcoal deposits which have ever been uncovered.
Similar to Stonehenge, the Castlerigg Stone Circles has a solar alignment, and seems to have been used for solstice celebrations. Several stones in the circle have been found to align with the midwinter sunrise and various lunar positions. These qualities make this stone circle suitable to have been used as an astronomical observatory. However, a popular local legend states that the stones were never meant to be built to a specific design, but that men had turned into the stones for fear of a local monster lurking about.
Whether or not the Stone Circles at Castlerigg was meant to be a mystical location, there is no negating the fact that it is a visually impressive, well placed structure of stones tucked in between rolling hills. In all possibility, it was likely formed as a central point for a local community, and could have been utilized for religious or trade purposes. At this moment, we can only speculate on this prehistoric Megalithic structure positioned in a truly unique, and beautiful location.