Sunkenkirk Stone Circle

Name of walk Sunkenkirk Stone Circle
Date of walk 2011-02-28
Last year I bought a book on Stone Circles in the Lake District, but still never got around to visiting the more out of the way ones. This week I watched Neil Oliver`s (the long-haired Scot from “Coast”) TV series “History of Ancient Britain” which included a visit to Sunkenkirk (Swinside) Stone Circle near Broughton which I have never been to. As I can see Swinside Fell from my kitchen window, I really had no excuse for not visiting it! 
After the horrid weather of half-term week, the weather was bound to improve the day the kids go back to school, and it did, so this morning Brendan and I drove to just past Broughton, turning off at Broadgate along the single track road that leads to Cragg Hall. When you reach the point seen in the photo below, reverse up the left track, and go back 100ft and park in a lay-by. You then walk up the left track which takes you directly to the stone circle after about a mile. Easy!


Looking back to the Duddon Estuary from the track.


Looking along the track to Swinside Fell and Swinside Farm. The stone circle is just beyond the shadow.


White Combe and Swinside Fell.


Sunkenkirk Stone Circle. Late Neolithic-early Bronze Age. About 3000 BC. Brendan, centre, slightly younger! The track we walked up is beyond. There are 55 stones, 32 still standing. Originally there would have been 60. The stones are made from local metamorphic slate. The tallest stone is just over 2m. It is supposed to be one of Europe`s most significant neolithic monuments, but it has no sign post and no information board......and hence no tourists! Wonderful!!!


The entrance to the circle.


The name "Sunkenkirk" comes from the legend that the stones were originally to be used for the building of a church (kirk). Everytime they tried to build the church, the Devil caused the stones to sink into the ground creating the circle, hence the name.



As with a number of circles, any stones that have fallen have done so by curiously falling inwards, into the circle.





An easy small walk if you have a couple of hours to fill. We were home before lunch. Just as well as the sunshine had gone by mid-day!