Nine Ladies Standing Stones.

I foolishly went looking for the Nine Ladies standing stones on the 31st of July 2012 expecting to experience some fine summer weather, how wrong could I have been, it was pouring down with rain and with low cloud cover I was lucky to have found them!

I first made my way by car to the village of Birchover in Derbyshire and after following the road uphill through the village I passed the Druids Inn on my right hand side where Rowtor Rocks which I have written about can be found in the woods behind the Inn. I carried on all the way up hill through the village until eventually the road bends sharply left at the top of the hill, here you turn right where there is a signpost pointing to Stanton Lees, follow this road for about a quarter of a mile until you see a public footpath on your left, this footpath will take you onto Stanton Moor where the stone circle and the Cork Stone are located. (It is probably easier to park in the village and walk to the footpath as there is no parking areas down this road).

After following the main path across the moor I came to a small path on my left which I decided to follow and after a short time I came upon a couple with a young who child who had also decided to brave the weather, after talking to them for a short while they told me that they

had passed the Cork Stone a short way back in the direction they had come from, so I carried on walking and eventually came upon it.

Although not much is known about the Cork Stone it is believed that at one time there was four standing stones surrounding it. The stone which is about 5 metres in height has strange hollows on its surface which I assume have been man made, also there is a series of metal rungs which have been installed on the same side to assist with climbing to the top of the stone.

I retraced my steps and arrived once more on the main path which crosses the moor, and after perhaps half a mile I came across the Nine Ladies stone circle which I was pleasantly suprised to find next to the main path surrounded by Silver Birch trees.

It is believed that around 4000 years ago people settled here on Stanton Moor during the Bronze age, and back then the moor was used for funerals, burials, ceremonies, quarrying and farming.

The legend surrounding this stone circle is that the stones represent ladies who were said to have danced on the Sabbath and for this reason they were turned to stone. The King Stone which can be found around 40m away from the circle is said to have been the Fiddler who provided the dance music, and who also was turned to stone. However the King Stone’s purpose still remains a mystery, what is known however is that this embanked stone circle was constructed 4000 years ago when many were being constructed here and in Europe.

At the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, rituals and ceremonies used to take place concerned with living and working, life and death. Some may have been everyday; others would have been more special concerned perhaps with the seasons and fertility. Dance may well have formed part of such ceremonies.

On Stanton Moor there are many other Bronze Age monuments; while many are funerary and ceremonial some are domestic and agricultural. The reason that these have survived is that the land has not been improved for agriculture, unlike elsewhere in the country where burial mounds have been ploughed up etc.

Because of its importance Stanton Moor has now been listed as a Scheduled Monument so it will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

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