Sittaford CircleWent here yesterday with a couple of friends. It’s an amazing circle. As it’s been in the ground for a long time the feel is a lot different to other circles that are used and seen by humans nowadays. I felt that it was getting itself together again now it feels the light and air. I don’t know how many hundreds, or thousands, of years it’s been buried in the peat but but it’s a long time. I recall stories about a circle there from the early 1950s when I was growing up on the moor with my Dad and uncles but of course no-one had seen it! Only felt it as they walked up there.

It’s interesting sitting listening to the circle. We all got various things. I particularly got the difference it felt between the peaty water and the peat-soil in which the stones had spent so long buried and the feel of now being able to add in again the elements of air and fire to their environment. There was a massive feeling of joy and excitement. One of us felt it almost like a vortex or whirlwind when standing at the centre. I felt the circle was glad to be part of things, part of life again in a conscious way … because it was now able to be seen and visited again. It wanted to enjoy company :-).

Clearance work around the fallen stones. Image: Dartmoor National Park Authority
Clearance work around the fallen stones. Image: Dartmoor National Park Authority

The archaeologists believe it is part of an arc of circles on the moor … a very big landscape! I think they’re right. Danielle has been looking at the arc and wondering where its centre might be. Her work suggests Wotton Tor … I think she may be right.

The circle consists of 30 recumbent stones, plus one more lying in a gap just outside the circle and now incorporated into an unfinished enclosure wall. The stones probably came from Sittaford Tor itself and are of a fairly uniform size, suggesting they were carefully chosen. Packing stones visible around the bases of some of these indicates that the stones were originally upright.

 

When upright the circle would have been very impressive, dominating the surrounding landscape and resembling in appearance the Grey Wethers double stone circle which lies close to Fernworthy Forest about 1km away.
Planning and liaison between communities

This is the first stone circle to be discovered on the high moor for well over 100 years and it fits in well with the pattern of a “sacred” arc of similar stone circles, located around the north eastern perimeter of Dartmoor. This pattern suggests some kind of planning and liaison between the communities living on Dartmoor in the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age 5,000-4,000 years ago.