Phil’s brother Chris has a special interest in stone circles and travels all over the country to see them. Within walking distance of our village are the remains of a Bronze Age settlement and associated stone circles, which we had failed to explore although right on our doorstep. Chris had a stop over with us recently and arrived with just enough daylight to explore the plantation.
To the uninitiated the stones would appear to have no significance as a random collection of boulders barely breaking above the vegetation. The plantation contains nine separate sites of archaeological interest.
The following information is from the website pastscape.org.uk
BROOMRIGG A ….. The remains of a large, irregular circle of standing stones located within Broomrigg Plantation. Originally circa 55 metres in diameter, only the northwestern arc of stones remains largely in situ. Outliers to the northwest are interpreted as an alignment comprising two parallel rows of three stones each. The stones are of red sandstone, and excavations in 1950 showed that where unweathered, they appear to have been hammer-dressed. Each stone was set 8 or 9 inches into the ground in sockets which were packed with stone.
BROOMRIGG A. Photo Chris Dutton
BROOMRIGG C ….. The remains of a small stone circle, now comprising 14 standing stones which enclose an area of circa 16 metres by 13 metres. Excavations were undertaken in 1948-9. In the southwest sector, the surviving (seven) stones are very close set and form an arc which does not match the remainder of the circle. The sector had previously been the site of a cairn which covered a deep pit containing a stone-lined cist, which when excavated contained no finds, and no human remains survived. A smaller cist is said to have existed in the same sector, but was apparently destroyed by vandals during the excavation. The southeast sector contained a series of cremation burials, some associated with pottery and others with jet beads. Two fragments of bronze were also found.
BROOMRIGG C. Photo Chris Dutton
BROOMRIGG D ….. The remains of a small stone circle in Broomrigg Plantation. It comprises six standing stones which enclose an oval area circa 5.2 metres by 3.8 metres.
BROOMRIGG G ….. The site of a single standing stone (known as Broomrigg G) located in Broomrigg Plantation. The English Heritage scheduling details standing stone as a roughly rectangular flat-topped granite stone measuring approximately 2.5 metres by 1.5 metres and up to 1 metre high (although in 1972, the Ordnance Survey were unable to locate anything resembling a standing stone in the area). Hut circles have also been reported from the vicinity, although again nothing resembling a hut circle could be identified by the Ordnance Survey. The standing stone is scheduled.
BROOMRIGG F ….. Two adjacent rings of stones circa 12 feet in diameter suspected to represent hut circles. They were excavated in 1950, the only finds being some flint flakes and a quantity of iron oxide. The sites have been scheduled, and described as an irregular spread of earthfast stones which partly protrude through the vegetation cover, although during a visit by an Ordnance Survey field investigator in 1972 it was noted that the area had been deep-furrow ploughed and re-afforested since the excavations, and nothing resembling hut circles or rings of stone could be seen.
BROOMRIGG B2 ….. The possible site of a Bronze Age cairn and its retaining circle. Originally, a small circle of stones 4 to 5 feet in diameter and surrounding a conical stone-lined cist/pit was noted. The suggestion that a cairn had once covered the site appears to be based on analogy with a nearby monument (NY 54 NW 10). Ordnance Survey field investigation in 1972 was unable to locate the site. The area had been re-afforested since the site was first noted, and it may well have been destroyed by deep-furrow ploughing. The site was scheduled, but has now been descheduled.
BROOMRIGG B1 …..The remains of a small circle of standing stones at Broomrigg Plantation. It originally comprised seven stones. According to the scheduled monument description, only four of these remain and only three of are still upright. In contrast, Ordnance Survey field investigation in 1972 noted “one large earthfast stone and two haphazardly placed boulders”. They enclose an area of circa 3.4 metres diameter. The scheduled monument description also refers to a slight turf-covered mound within the interior which “indicates that the stones originally encircled a burial cairn”, although the Ordnance Survey also dismissed the possibility that the site might be a denuded cairn. Excavation in 1950 located a stone-lined conical pit within the enclosed area, the sole find being a single small flint. Scheduled.
Broomrigg B1. Photo Joseph Dutton
BROOMRIGG P ….. The scheduled monument comprises the remains of a medieval shieling known as Broomrigg P. It is located in Broomrigg Plantation and is a single-roomed shieling of which only the north and east walls remain above ground level. These walls are of drystone construction, survive up to 0.3 metres high, and measure 7 metres long by up to 1.5 metres wide.
BROOMRIGG I ….. A standing stone, now fallen, known as Broomrigg I. It is located in Broomrigg Plantation and comprises a roughly rectangular boulder measuring 2 metres east-west by 1.6 metres north-south and 1 metre high.
BROOMRIGG I. Photo Chris Dutton
On some sites BROOMRIGG C is described as the most interesting of the group. We failed to find a single stone although the site was clearly marked by the Plantation management. Due to failing light we also had to abandon our search for BROOMRIGG D. At the time of exploration we were unaware of the sites P. G and B2. Worth a revisit when the weather gets better.