Stanton Moor ( scheduled monument) is an area of gritstone that stands at a height of 280-320 metres above sea level in Derbyshire between the villages of Stanton in the Peak to the north and Birchover to the south and with the River Derwent to the east.
The area has been occupied since at least the Bronze Age. It contains the remains of 2 definite stone circles (Nine Ladies and Doll Tor) and 3 other possible circles or ring cairns (Stanton Moor North, Central and South). There are an estimated 120 other cairns as well as several natural standing stones and rock outcrops in the area.
I’ve been looking forward to photographing the heather when it started emerging in the Peak District for the last couple of months. We came back from holidays only to find out that unfortunately, this year’s hot summer didn’t make heather in the Peaks as spectacular as in the past. It just doesn’t have its usual vibrancy and it’s just not as vivid as last year. The Peak District is usually covered with heather for about 3 weeks in the late summer. I guess I will have to wait for another year!
We followed a 2.5 mile walk around Stanton Moor as described in Kiddiewalks in the Peak District book.
Upon arriving at Birchover we parked our car in its small car park. We walked out of the car park and turned left. After about 250 yards we turned right onto a path which led us to the Cork Stone.
This naturally cork-shaped lump of gritstone stands out as a major landmark on the Moor and has done for thousands of years. It has been eroded to this shape and battered by the elements. In the 19th century, metal rings were added. Cork stone is 15 feet high and just asks to be climbed. It is also covered with carved graffiti accumulated over many years.
The nearby disused quarry makes a perfect opportunity for a photo or a picnic.
As per the directions in the book, you will soon reach the OS trig point.
There is an amazing 360-degree view from there as you can see below in the video.
Following the route on, the one person path leads you through an area covered in heather and gorse until you reach the Nine Ladies Stone Circle.
What’s the weather today?
The weather’s a splash of scent.
The weather wears princess pink.
The weather feels featherbed springy.
The weather’s a rustly bluster.
The weather is wet but it’s yummy as honey.
It’s heather weather!
By Mandi Haggith
Nine Ladies Stone Circle
The Nine Ladies is a Bronze Age stone circle. It was an ancient religious centre. Later on, the story was told that the stones were the remains of nine maidens. Apparently, they danced on a Sunday, the Christian Sabbath. Divine wrath was provoked and the nine ladies were turned into stone. Beyond the stone circle lies the king stone. This was said to be the fiddler, who played the music for the dancing.
More evidence of ancient beliefs can be seen in the burial mounds or tumuli that dot the local landscape. Unfortunately, these can be hard to see when covered by a heavy layer of bracken and other summer vegetation.
Further on, we approached the rather interesting Earl Grey Tower.
Earl Grey Tower
Earl Grey Tower, built by William Pole Thornhill and dedicated to the Reform Act 1832.
Not far from the tower sits another significant rock outcrop called the Cat Stone. The date 1831 has been carved into this huge block of gritstone.
Along the way, there are many wonderful views across the Derwent Valley.
We proceeded alongside a fence for some distance, not really sure whether we were on the correct path. Finally, we crossed a stile and headed back to the Cork Stone. From there we headed to the road where we started.