Arkle Beck stone circle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008775

Date first listed: 15-Aug-1994


Ordnance survey map of Arkle Beck stone circle
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1008775 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2019 at 14:26:09.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Richmondshire (District Authority)

Parish: Arkengarthdale


National Grid Reference: NY 95626 07618


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones. The circle of stones may be surrounded by earthwork features such as enclosing banks and ditches. Single upright stones may be found within the circle or outside it and avenues of stones radiating out from the circle occur at some sites. Burial cairns may also be found close to and on occasion within the circle. Stone circles are found throughout England although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular clusters in upland areas such as Bodmin and Dartmoor in the south-west and the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria in the north-west. This distribution may be more a reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern. Where excavated they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2400-1000 BC). It is clear that they were carefully designed and laid out, frequently exhibiting very regularly spaced stones, the heights of which also appear to have been of some importance. We do not fully understand the uses for which these monuments were originally constructed but it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance for the societies that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the careful alignment of stones to mark important solar or lunar events such as sunrise or sunset at midsummer or midwinter. At other sites the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to a suggestion that each one provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. A small stone circle comprises a regular or irregular ring of between 7 and 16 stones with a diameter of between 4 and 20 metres. They are widespread throughout England although clusters are found on Dartmoor, the North Yorkshire Moors, in the Peak District and in the uplands of Cumbria and Northumberland. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England, over 100 are examples of small stone circles. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.

Arkle Beck stone circle is a well preserved monument with interesting features including the well defined cup mark. Some degree of disturbance has taken place but below surface deposits will remain largely intact.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


This remote site includes an incomplete circle of gritstone slabs at the head of Arkle Beck at Mudbeckside and overlooks the upper reaches of Arkengarthdale. The circle has an overall diameter of 21.5m. Only four of the slabs forming the circle remain upright; the remainder are now recumbent. The upright stones range in height between 0.47m and 0.57m and are between 0.42m and 0.62m wide and all are approximately 0.08m thick. The upright on the south west side of the monument bears a well defined cup mark with a 0.05m diameter in the top right hand corner of the inner-face. At the southern extent of the circle is a hollow approximately 0.8m across indicating the position of a now missing circle stone. At the south east edge of the circle are a group of now recumbent stones. One of these stones which measures approximately 0.88m by 0.55m by 0.13m thick lies partially overlapping another of comparable dimensions. Included also in this recumbent group is the largest of the stones measuring 1.25m by 0.46m by 0.09m. Dispersed amongst these are a number of smaller stones. The stones are almost completely obscured by the thick clumps of reeds surrounding them.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 24470

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Laurie, T C, Early Land Division and Settlement in Swaledale., (1985)

End of official listing