Castlerigg Stone Circle is perhaps the most atmospheric and dramatically sited of all British stone circles, with panoramic views and the mountains of Helvellyn and High Seat as a backdrop. It is also among the earliest British circles, raised in about 3000 BC during the Neolithic period.
It is not just its location that makes this one of the most important British stone circles. Thought to have been constructed about 3000 BC, it is potentially one of the earliest in the country. Taken into guardianship in 1883, it was also one of the first monuments in the country to be recommended for preservation by the state.
Although there are more than 300 stone circles in Britain, the great majority of them are Bronze Age burial monuments (dating from about 2000–800 BC) containing cremations in central pits or beneath small central cairns. By contrast, their Neolithic forebears, such as Castlerigg, Swinside in the southern part of the Lake District, and Long Meg and her Daughters in the Eden Valley, do not contain formal burials.