First word of advice if you are looking to visit this site is to make certain your directions are good! I couldn’t get the sat nav/GPS on the car to find the site, and the Apple App found it first. We followed that to the Matlock town centre–not where this site is located!! The Google Map app found it, but took us to a narrow country road where it claimed it was at the bottom of a public footpath with a lay-by for parking. Fortunately, my husband asked someone passing, who told us where to go to find an easier trail.
The problem is that the site is not marked–at all! No street signage or anything until you reach the footpath at the top of the hill where there is minimal parking edged with stinging nettles. We had to all crawl across to the driver’s side to exit the car. Then about 100 ft into the walk is a sign explaining the site where the trail splits in two with nothing to tell you where to go. We discovered later that both trails take you to the same place, but we did worry that we had taken the incorrect path at first.
Now, complaints aside! I must say that it is an interesting place! Watch for the presents left by the cattle and sheep along the footpaths, but the view along the walk is pretty. There is an old train nearby because we could hear the whistle and the chug as it moved along through the valley.
Nine Ladies Stone Circle is a Bronze Age stone circle, which means it dates back to between 3200-600 BCE according to the European Bronze Age. The site is in Stanton Moor, located in Derbyshire in Peak District National Park.
When you get closer to the stone circle, you walk through a bit of a wood with heather interspersed with the long grass and other wild flowers and weeds. The Nine Ladies, which are traditionally thought to represent nine ladies turned to stone for daring to dance on a Sunday, sit in a clearing surrounded by trees and heather. They don’t come far out of the ground, but do make a circle.
A nearby tree has various ribbons and homemade ornaments adorning it. We were fascinated by them, and while looking were informed by the mother of another family visiting the site that they were “wishes”. She offered us a bit of torn material or “ribbon” from a scarf she was wearing, and the children had a great time making their own wishes and tying them to the tree.
For those who find the stone circle, there isn’t much more than a short walk (if you find the trail at the top of the hill) and the circle. The stop would have taken us not more than a half-hour detour out of our way to Chatsworth from where we stayed in Ashbourne if we hadn’t taken the scenic route through Matlock 😉 . I do have to say that it was fun driving through Matlock! Unfortunately, I was too busy navigating us around to take any photos! 😦