I have visited several stone circles, and in the last few years I have become ever more interested in them. The first stone monument I ever remember visiting was Stone Henge, back on a family holiday. Since then, I have visited several others. I find them really atmospheric and sometimes eerie places to be, and generally just fascinating. They always make me think.
My favourite is still the Ring o Brodgar at Stenness on mainland Orkney, and someday I want to return and take some photographs. Can you believe it, I don't have any! I visited this stunning place a couple of times when I was in my late teens and not so into photography and can thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested. The circle at Stenness has 27 standing stones, and the circle is the same size as Avebury's two inner rings.
That brings me nicely on to Avebury, the site of the oldest stone circle in the world, and a designated World Heritage Site. It is only around 20 miles from Stonehenge and is huge. I spent an afternoon in and around the circle in 2009, it was a really peaceful day and very interesting. I was intrigued by the trees on the site, which had amazing roots and were clearly a special place for many others.
The stones at Avebury are very impressive. This is a stone from one of the two inner circles.
I really liked the textures on the stones themselves. Over the years they have aged and weathered and created interesting patterns and colours.
From Avebury to Arbor Low, in the Peak District. The day I visited in 2010, it was particularly quiet and in fact only my friend and I were there for most of the time. It was wonderfully peaceful. This stone circle is on a private farm, but the landowner allows access. The stones at Arbor Low are mostly laying down.
I put together some panorama's of the circle at Arbor Low. If you click on these photos you can see them in larger format in my Flickr photostream.
Again the individual stones are very interesting and frequently topped by sheep, which freely wander around the site.
The last stone circle for this blog is The Cockpit, which sits on the hillside above Ullswater in The Lake District. Again I was very lucky to visit on a beautiful day, the sky was blue, and the clouds lined up perfectly for this shot. Isn't it amazing how sometimes you can be in just the right place at the right time?
You can see my "Stone Circles" set on Flickr here
I'd welcome hearing from anyone who enjoys visiting stone circles and monuments with suggestions of places to visit in the UK and Ireland, as I learn more about them.