Arbor Low

arbor-low Tucked away in a quiet corner of Derbyshire is a rather magnificent ancient monument. Arbor Low is a Neolithic henge, consisting of a large earthwork, some 90 metres across, that encloses a circle of limestone blocks. It’s stunning to look at, so it’s no wonder it’s been referred to as ‘the Stonehenge of the North’.

Like all such sites, there seem to be more questions than answers. Is it a calendar, a religious site or something else? Were the stones always lying down, or did they once stand upright? Who lived here? Where did they live? Archaeologist Dr Ian Parker Heath was at the site when we visited. He is part of a team who are trying to investigate the area around Arbor Low, it will be interesting to see what they discover.

The site is well-signposted, but access is via privately owned land. The landowner requests that adults pay £1, which is left in an honesty box. This isn’t an unreasonable request in my opinion, given the number of people that were traipsing through the farm to get the site on the day that we visited.

Here’s a few pictures from our trip:

The earthen wall around the site looks quite impressive – just the sheer scale of it gives it a certain grandeur.


Once inside, the large stones look amazing. The two sheep grazing in the background should give you a sense of scale.


The site is used by a variety of people. Many, like us, are just visiting. The marks seen on the left of this photo were made by a pagan group. It looked like flour, so it should wash away in time:


There is also a barrow nearby which can be seen from some way off. We set off across the fields to get a closer look. First we had to get past some sheep…

ewe shall not pass

… but there were no convenient sheep providing a sense of scale for amateur photographers at Gibb Hill Barrow, so average-sized Mr TLC did that job:


Apparently this is actually two barrows, one built on top of the other – although I couldn’t see that from ground level.

If you are in the area, Arbor Low is well worth a visit. But I’d recommend wearing some sensible shoes!


All photos on this post are by Lois Lindemann and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

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