KATIE DOHERTY takes a look at The Nine Ladies stone circle, a magical ancient monument based in Derbyshire
Britain is quite the magical land and is host to many ancient sites, one of those being the Nine Ladies Stone Circle – a place where the witches gather…
Stone circles are amazing sites for interest and although we don’t know the real reason for their existence despite many debates, they are certainly places you cannot do justice with a few words in an article- you have to visit.
The Nine Ladies stone circle is located on Stanton Moor in Derbyshire and is owned by the English Heritage. It is an extremely popular spot for tourists, walkers, Druids and Pagans. It is a Bronze Age circle that contains nine upright stones and just to the south is a small standing stone – the King’s Stone – each made of local millstone grit, all less than a metre high.
The English Heritage website states that it is “… traditionally believed to depict nine ladies turned to stone as a penalty for dancing on Sunday”. Could these have been witches? Unfortunately there is very little evidence behind the placement or use of the stones but many assume it was used at the time of the Druids and still is used by pagans for many different ceremonies. I have spoken to pagans who visit the site regularly, some use it to relax and soak up nature, some conduct their rituals there and another told me she had her wedding there or handfasting as she called it!
My first visit here was great, I hadn’t really got very close to any stone circles before but these were interesting. The walk over the moor was lovely, I remember it rather clearly as it was quite a warm day but there was a breeze. It is a popular spot or so I had been told so I was expecting quite a few people to be around but as I approached there wasn’t a soul in sight, I had the place to myself. With coloured ribbons blowing in the breeze from the tree branches and offerings such as crystals, flowers and food scattered on the ground I knew this had to be a special place. It certainly did have a sense of tranquillity about it and as I wondered towards the stones I began to feel a sense of history. I stood in the middle and looked out into the wooded area, the stones surrounded me, a strange yet uplifting feeling came over me. After that initial trip I began to visit regularly and even happened upon another stone circle that is located nearby but I will leave that for another time.
The county of Derbyshire not only holds a special place in my heart but in my opinion, it is one of the most magical places in Britain.