"Stanton Drew ancient stone circles" Bristol Off The Beaten Path Tip by grets
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There are three stone circles at Stanton Drew: the Great Circle being one of the largestin the country. Most of the stones have fallen, although a few still remain upright. They are thought to date from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age - ca. 3000 - 2000 BC.
It is thought that the stones represent the members of a wedding party and its musicians, lured by the devil to celebrate on the Sabbath and thus becoming petrified in their revels.
Stone circles are believed to have played an important part in contemporary social and religious life, and there is evidence that some were aligned with major events of the solar and lunar calendar.
Recent surveys have discovered that the Great Circle is itself contained within a very large buried enclsure ditch (ca. 135m diameter). This is about 7m wide and has a broad gap or entrance facing to the north-east. Such enclosures, or henges, are a well known feature of later Neolithic Britain and are assumed to be the foci of ritual activity. It seems probable that at least some of the pit circles at Stanton Drew once held massive posts. Other evdience suggests ritual pits.
The sites of these stone circles, although in the care of English Heritage, lie on private land. You are welcome to visit them during daylight hours on payment of an entrance fee of £1.
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