Ring Stones Hill, Catlow, Nelson, Lancashire

Stone Circle (destroyed?):  OS Grid Reference – SD 892 367

Archaeology & History

Set in good landscape with fine views in most directions, it seems that the only thing that remains of this site is a place-name on a map—but I have to say that our search here was only a short one, and so more may be found hiding away in field walls or beneath the ground.  However, if we listen to an early account of the place, it was said to have “completely gone by 1856.”  A pity, as it was described as being “a large circle of stones.”  The monument was used for repairing the nearby road and, in another account, we are told that the stones were added to the walls.  Whether this was a cairn circle or a free standing stone circle isn’t known.  The prevalence of tumuli close by at Catlow, Burwains, etc, would suggest a cairn circle, yet we have no accounts of human remains here… A puzzle.


  1. Barnes, Bernard, Man and the Changing Landscape, Liverpool University 1982.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Broadbank Earth Circle, Thursden, Burnley, Lancashire.

Enclosure: OS Grid Reference — SD 9024 3522

Also Known as:

  1. Burwains Enclosure
  2. Burwains Camp

Getting There

From Nelson town centre go north east towards Catlow, turning left near the Shooters Arms public house, then turn right again to the Coldwell Activity Centre.  Carry on towards Thursden Valley till you see the World War 2 pillbox on the right.  Here turn right and after 300 yards a picnic site and carparking area is reached along the Briercliffe road. On the opposite side of the road over a wall and barbed wire is Broadbank Earth Circle, though unfortunately there is not much to see there today. 


First excavated in 1950 by the Archaeology Department of Liverpool University and again in the 1960s, the earthworks here stand at 1,147 feet above sea-level (350m). The site comprises of an earth circle 150 feet (46m) in diameter which encloses an inner ditch 1 foot (30.5cm) deep and 10 inches (25.4cm) across. The bank was composed of boulder clay thrown out from the ditch. A hearth was found below the bank at the eastern end.  Some rough flint and chert flakes were also found together with a stone axe of Langdale origin. This is four-and-half inches or 11.4cm wide.  It has a curved cutting edge and a thin rounded head. Its surface is ground smooth but there is no evidence of polishing.

The earthworks at Broadbank have suffered through farming activity over many centuries and the earthen circle is now difficult to see at ground level, though the inner ditch is still visible. The low hillside or, what look like ramparts, at the northern end by the pillbox are probably not in any way connected, though this low bank may have added to the building of the bank. Archaeologists consider the site to be of Iron Age origin.


  1. Liverpool University Archeology Department, Report and pamphlet, 1950.
  2. Powell, J.G.E., “Excavations of a Circular Enclosure at Broadbank, Briercliffe, Lancs,” in Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire & Cheshire, 104, 145-151.

Copyright © Ray Spencer, The Northern Antiquarian 2011