Stone circle 650m south west of Lune Head Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020154

Date first listed: 24-Nov-2000

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jun-2001


Ordnance survey map of Stone circle 650m south west of Lune Head Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County Durham (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Lunedale

National Grid Reference: NY 85048 20405


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.

The prehistoric stone circle 650m south west of Lune Head Farm survives well. It is part of a wider distribution of prehistoric features in the Tees catchment area, which includes hut circles, field systems, cairns, carved rocks, burnt mounds and stone circles. Together these features preserve important information on prehistoric settlement, land use and beliefs in the North Pennines.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric stone circle in Lunedale. The main part of the circle is situated about 14m from the south side of the B6276 road, and one outlying stone is situated 5m from the road. The circle consists of six boulders in an arc which, with two other boulders further west, forms an oval 10.5m by 7m. About 9m to the north east is the outlying stone which appears to be associated with the oval, and is considered to be part of the stone circle. The stones forming the oval range in size from 0.5m by 0.3m by 0.3m to 1.5m by 1m by 0.5m and 1.2m by 0.5m by 0.8m. The outlying stone measures 1.5m by 0.6m by 0.6m.

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: 34355

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing