The Broomhead

Stone Circle

OS Map Ref SK23819664

On Mortimer Road near the hamlet of Wigtwizzle, almost opposite the entrance to where Broomhead Hall used to be, lies a track (a public footpath) which leads across the moors.  The remains of the Broomhead stone circle lie about 100m to the right of this track where it comes to a sharp bend.  The circle is not at all obvious; look for a wooden marker post.  It is now entirely covered in heather and bracken.  Only 3 stones can clearly be defined.  One of these stands almost a metre tall and is the largest stone on the surrounding moorland. There is a large flat stone next to it and a scatter of rubble like stones close by to the south. It’s marked on the OS maps as “druidical circle.”  There is also a long embankment close by and the map marks two sites as “tumuli, Celt arrowheads and burnt bones have been found here.” 

Stone Circle closeup.JPG

An embanked stone circle.  The site consists of an earth bank ring (about 20 metres diameter) and eight or nine stones set into its inner edge. The site is quite complex, even in its semi- ruined state, with two entrances through the bank, flanked with stones, and two low cairns within the circle. A single standing stone placed in the bank itself rather than its inner face now remains prominent at what was once a sophisticated construction. There are a number of Embanked Stone Circles in Derbyshire. This categorisation denotes the practice of building a circle (or ellipse or some other shape) of earth and/or rubble, and fixing stones into its inner edge [source of text unknown]

Stone Circle 1942
Stone Circle 1942

Clearly visible without all the bracken and heather

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Stone Circle
Stone Circle
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Path across the moor
Path across the moor

Walking from the Mortimer Road end; the stone circle to the far right

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View from the track
View from the track

Looking towards Ewden Beck. This sign post is no longer there. To the right is the track to the stone circle.

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Wooden post marking the circle
Wooden post marking the circle
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Stone circle outlined
Stone circle outlined
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Stone Circle
Stone Circle

Seen from a distance from the track

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Stone Circle
Stone Circle

Seen from closer up

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Stone
Stone
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From Bygones of Bradfield, Volume III, p11

In 1976 a stone circle, believed to be over 3,500 years old, was re-discovered on Broomhead Moor following burning off of undergrowth and heather.  The stone circle measured 49’ across and approximately 3’ high.

One theory is that it was built by Megalithic Man to observe the Equinox, or possibly to aid crop culture using the circle as a calendar of the seasons.  Sheffield Museums say it could signify an ancient burial ground.

The circle is positioned so that the rising or setting sun, or certain heavenly bodies, as seen from the circle, occur at special times of the year such as Midsummer, at certain defined points on the skyline such as “vees” in the peaks formed where the outline of one hill passes behind another or other noticeable “nicks” in the skyline.

 

The Stone Circle is shown on Ordnance Survey maps, but it remained a location on the map until early 1976 when a moorland fire destroyed the heavy overgrowth and revealed the stones on the ground forming the Stone Circle.

 

From More Rambles Round Sheffield by Chas. H. Chandler, 1915.

“Bear up to the right, turning right again at the top, with the open heather moors on the left.  at this point you have risen to 1,010 feet above sea level.  As you proceed right you get a glimpse of the rhododendron drive on the right leading down to the [Broomhead] Hall.  Just beyond, before you reach the clump of fir trees, there is a private path (left) leading across a corner of the moors to the Side Walk, similar in character to the Bar Dyke behind Bradfield.  It is something like a deep trench, with the earth thrown up on one side.  Mr. Boyd Dawkins, the famous geologist, thinks it was a boundary walk.  Just beyond, on the right, is a small stone circle, which has refused to reveal its secret to any of the many investigators.  There are many remains of the ancients on these lonely moors [...] Keeping on the road past the Hall you dip sharply down by a shady lane to the [Pack-Horse] bridge over the Ewden at the bottom.  This point may well be the central feature of a magnificent walk.  It is the most solitary, satisfying spot the valley has to offer.  Here there are no signs of toil.  Nothing but beauty lives here: beauty for eyes and ears.  If it is “a long way to go” you will feel that the result is worth the journey.  You can climb the hill opposite and go round to Stocksbridge by the Underbank reservoir.  But I advise returning the same way to Wigtwizzle.”

 

 From "THE MEGALITHIC PORTAL"

Ewden Beck consists of eight or possibly nine stones (five of which are still standing) in a ring 16m by 14.5m set into the inner edge of an earthen bank. The stones vary in height between about 0.75m and 0.35m, hence the difficulty of recognising not only the stones amongst the vegetation, but also the definition of the ring.  The bank, now barely visible, is approximately 20m in diameter and between 2m and 3m wide into which a single stone is placed to the south-east. To the east it is particularly high where the ground behind drops away. Other stones lie close by and may once have formed part of the ring.  Two entrances, to the north-north-west and south-south-east, both edged with stones are located in the bank, and there are two cairns within the circle. If the stones were evenly spaced there may have been as many as fourteen or fifteen originally with four stones at the entrances

  

From http://www.stone-circles.org.uk/stone/ewdenbeck.htm

BRONZE AGE RING CAIRN

The stones of Ewden Beck ring cairn stand on a gently northeast facing slope just 130 metres south of the stream that gives it one of its names, the other name relates to the site being at the northeast corner of Broomhead Moor. There seems to be some confusion as to whether it is an embanked stone circle or a ring cairn, English Heritage plump for the later while on the ground it's difficult to tell which as it's quite overgrown with grasses and bracken.  Rooting around in this vegetation turns up many half-buried small stones that form part of a bank which measures about 2-3 metres wide and has a diameter of around 20 metres. Set within this bank are 4 or 5 largish boulders that could be said to be standing together with a few slab like fallen stones, there are further large stones towards the north, north-eastern and south-eastern edges of the ring while those to the west are smaller and seem to be mainly packing stones. Within the area enclosed by the bank there are further groups of stones that could be the remains of small cairns. The bank is broken by a pair of entrances to the nor northwest and south southeast - the northern entrance seems well defined while the southern one is not quite so easy to recognise although a large fallen outlying stone could have been one of a pair that flanked this entrance. Ewden Beck has some decent views from the northwest round to the southeast but it's the Salter Hills to the east that really draw the eye.

A short distance to the southwest of the site is a large earthwork known as Broomhead Dyke that runs for nearly a kilometre uphill but following the line of the stream, again there is some debate as to what this was, one suggestion is that it is a Bronze Age cross dyke that could have formed part of a territorial boundary or defensive system.