Castle Rigg Guardian PLQ13 by Kerry Goodwin of Moorcroft


Castle Rigg Guardian PLQ13 by Kerry Goodwin of Moorcroft.

There are few stone circles in Britain in such a dramatic setting as Castlerigg, which overlooks the Thirlmere Valley with the mountains of High Seat and Helvellyn as a dramatic backdrop. It is not just its location that makes this one of the most important British stone circles but it is thought to be one of the oldest in the country having been built in 3000 BC. Originally comprising 42 Neolithic stones, today only 38 remain, varying from 1 metre to 2.3 metres in height, while the stone circle itself is 30 metres in diameter. Today, Castlerigg is under the guardianship of English Heritage as it was one of the first monuments in Britain to be recommended for preservation by the state.

In Kerry’s plaque, a lone osprey soars above Castlerigg. The Forestry Commission and National Park spent years encouraging ospreys to return to Cumbria after they were persecuted to extinction in Britain. Tree-top platforms were built for the birds, and in 2001 a pair nested near Bassenthwaite Lake, to the north-west of Castlerigg. Now every year, ospreys arrive in Cumbria and return to warmer climes in September, spending the spring and summer months in wild, protected areas including the famous stone circle, simultaneously bringing nature and history together in harmony.