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CASTLERIGG

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IF you are visiting Cumbria, you must go and see the beautiful Castlerigg stone circle near Keswick in the English Lake District. It is the best preserved of all the stone circles in Cumbria and stands on a low hill some 200 metres above Keswick. Curiously, although it is well sign-posted from Keswick and the A66, there is no actual sign when you arrive at the site! You can't see the circle from the road so watch out for all the cars parked in the lay-by. Experts believe the stone circle at Castlerigg was one of the earliest circles built in Britain, dating back more than 5,000 years. There have been no archaeological finds at the site to help date the circle more precisely. A number of theories have been put forward as to why the circle was built. There is no evidence today that it was ever used as a burial chamber but its position in the centre of the fells could suggest an astronomical purpose. There is also no evidence to support it was ever used for religious or ritualistic purposes - but that cannot be discounted. The site is owned and maintained by the National Trust. While you are visiting Castlerigg, you are not too far away from another delightful stone circle, Long Meg, near Penrith. Pictures by