Enclosure: OS Grid Reference – SD 7167 4911
Go through the gorgeous old village of Waddington northwards, uphill, along the B6478 road, towards the villages of Newton and Slaidburn; or, if you like, go from Newton village uphill southwards along the B6478 road towards Waddington. Either way, when you reach the top of the moors, park up at the car-park beside the road where the view stretches for miles ahead of you. Walk on the road for 100 yards, then take the boggy footpath left, going first down and over a stream, then up to the right (northeast) towards a small cairn on the near-horizon. From the cairn-top you’ll notice a large moorland pond a hundred or so yards ahead of you. Walk towards and past its left side and onwards again for the same distance until, in front of you (before a nearly-dried stream running downhill) keep your eyes peeled in the deep grasses on where you’ll see a very large ring raised in front of you, defined in parts by scatterings of rocks along the tops and sides. You’re here!
Archaeology & History
This is an outstanding prehistoric site, all but lost in old literary records until relocated in recent years by Lancashire historian and writer, John Dixon. However, its precise nature remains a bit of a puzzle. When John took a small party of us to the site on June 16, 2011, there was a variety of ideas as to the precise nature of the place.
Structurally similar to a number of prehistoric enclosures in the Pennine range, this very large near-circular monument consists primarily of a very large number of rocks and stones making up a thick outer wall, presently piled less than a yard high above the peat and approximately 6 feet wide on average. From north-to-south, outer wall to outer wall, it measures more than 42 yards (38.5m) across; whilst measuring 41 yards (38m) east-to-west. There are distinct entrances on its western and northern sides, and possibly another on the east. Certain sections of the inner region are now somewhat boggy in parts, perhaps indicating there was at one time an internal spring of water. A large singular stone is found on the inner eastern section, which may have been placed there deliberately. On the northwestern inner-edge of the walling is a notable long wide stone which may have stood upright.
My first impression of the site told it to bet at least Iron Age in date, though more probably Bronze Age. But without excavations, I could be talking bullshit! It is an obvious enclosure of some sort, but there are no visible internal structures on the present ground level. There are no notable internal or external ditches and banks, which may have given the site a ‘henge’ classification. More work is obviously needed here before we can say what it is for sure.
Very little has been said of this huge ring in the past. John Dixon’s research found the site briefly described in Greenwood & Bolton’s (1955) work, saying:
“On page 24 they refer to the above site thus: ‘There is also a rough stone circle on top of the fells above Easington, like the remains of an ancient fort (the ringwork)…'”
Also mentioning how Richard Rauthmell’s Antiquitates (1746) very briefly mentions the place aswell. Apart from these passing remarks, John has found little else.
On other parts of this moortop we found scattered evidences of other early human remains (walling, cairns, hut circles), much of it unrecorded. There may well be other important prehistoric remains hidden upon these hills…
- Dixon, John, Slaidburn and Newton, Bowland Forest, Aussteiger Publications: Clitheroe 2003.
- Greenwood, Margaret & Bolton, Charles, Bolland Forest and the Hodder Valley: A History, privately printed 1955.
- Rauthmell, Richard, Antiquitates Bremetonacenses; or, The Roman Antiquities of Overborough, Henry Woodfall: London 1746.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian