A little south of Penrith, as you journey down the A6, tucked away at the back of the little village of Eamont Bridge, lies this large henge. A henge is a circular bank of rock and earth, built around 5,000 years ago, which encloses a central area, the use of which is not known. Some henges contain stone circles, many do not. They are a far older phenomenon than stone circles.
The Mayburgh Henge lies near the junction of the river Eamont (which flows from Ullswater) and the river Lowther. It is possible that water travel played a major part of the life of the people who built the monument.
Yes, yes yes, the sun went behind a cloud as I took this series of photos. Still I think it shows well the huge area enclosed by the henge. Up until recent times there must have been quite an impressive stone circle in the centre of the henge. All that now remains is the single stone. The denuded monument is similar to the Bullring in Derbyshire in some ways. There are some special features of the Mayburgh Henge worth noting though. The banks themselves are not soil, but are made up of cobbles, large pebbles as big as a man's palm, taken from the river bed nearby (the henge is built in the angle between two intersecting rivers - this could be significant if it was used as a gathering place, people could have journeyed to it by boat). It was certainly a gargantuan task when you consider the huge tonnage of cobbles required to make such a large henge. The banks rise 4 metres from the surrounding land and enclose a large central area. To give an idea of size the opposite bank must be 100 metres away on the above photograph. In the extreme right of this picture there is a break in the circular bank which forms an entrance into the central area. There is a picture of the entrance on the next page.
E-mail me with trivia on any other Cumbrian stone circles. Pictures of less well known ones would be particularly appreciated.