Billy Connolly, talking about Stonehenge and other such mysterious monuments, suggests that there should be a sign of honesty next to each one. “We have no idea what this is”, he urges authorities to confess, “please try and leave it as you found it”.
Bleasdale Circle, ten miles or so north of Preston, actually has one of these.
After ogling an exhibit in Preston’s Harris Museum with Small Keefe one wet and windy half – term afternoon, I was struck with the urge to go and have a nosey at the place myself. It’s a tricky place to find, being on private land, and you need to ask permission of a ranger before you go, but it’s well worth it. There are few signposts, less landmarks, and the whole trip’s a lot like cycling into Narnia. Still, I knew I was on the right track, karma – wise, as the first thing of interest that I found was this:
Up the road then, across a few fields, (Trigger wasn’t happy at being walked across the countryside), and we get in sight of our goal:
So, the Bleasdale Circle is a collection of circular posts set into the ground discovered in 1898 by a pair of gents out walking their dog, and dating back to the Bronze age. There are two circles, one surrounded by a shallow ditch, and a larger one encircling it that’s much more difficult to spot. Allegedly, on Midsummer morn, the sun rises in direct line with two of the posts through the entrance to the glade, though as it was an overcast afternoon in May, I couldn’t possibly comment.
The place has a very serene and untouched quality to it, almost as though the air is breathing gently and politely. What’s interesting about it, though, (and what has the boffins scratching their heads), is the fact that traces of human bones were discovered in burial urns in the centre of the inner circle.
Now this is pretty funky stuff – it’s the only example of this in existence. No – one quite knows why these remains were buried here, though conjecture holds that it could have been a place of sacrifice.
I found that many of the older trees here seemed to take on odd shapes, almost wrapping around one another.
The Outer Circle is now completely overgrown, almost impossible to make out. I was awed by how the hell somebody had managed to find it in the first place, when it would have been even worse:
It appears that what we’re seeing are the posts of an ancient hall, surrounded by an outer defensive wall. It’s not hard to stand in the centre of the circle and imagine a wooden or thatched roof over your head, the smell of a wood fire in your nostrils.
So, there we go. A fun journey, and a sign with some real honesty at the end of the ride:
In other words, “we don’t know what this is, please try and leave it as you found it”. Cheers, Big Yin.