23 Nov 2010

Magic, Mist and Limestone: the Rollright Stones.

As some of you already know, the novel I am currently writing is set in the Cotswolds, a gorgeous area in the Heart of England. The region is known for its undulating rural landscape, idyllic villages with limestone cottages in all shades of honey and, as if that weren't enough, for its award winning hotels, restaurants and breweries.

I'm very lucky to have a number great friends who live there, so I usually get to visit the Cotswolds several times a year. Over the years, a few places have become very precious to me, one of them being the Rollright Stones, and another one an absolutely wonderful restaurant.
The King's Men
The Rollright Stones consist of three smaller sites: the King Stone, the Whispering Knights, and the larger stone circle called the King's Men.
The Whispering Knights, a burial dolmen, is the oldest, believed to be 5000 years old. The 77 stones of the King's Men are slightly younger, but still 4500 to 4000 years old.

It's an amazing place. You cannot help but wonder who built these monuments and to what intent. When you walk around there, you inevitably connect with our distant past and with the countless people who have visited this place before us, asked the same questions and were equally awestruck by the magic that seems to ooze from the ground. Especially during twilight or on a misty day, it's so easy to imagine yourself in a place between the worlds.

Lichen on the King's Men
When you get the chance to visit the Rollright Stones, please do so with respect for the unique and ancient character of the place. All too often people sit or stand on the stones, or let their children play on them. The stones are not only ancient and therefore irreplaceable, they're also covered with over 50 types of lichen, many of them several hundreds of years old.

The site is managed by the Rollright Trust, a registered charity dedicated to the protection and conservation of the stones. They have a very comprehensive website with lots of information about the history and the mythology around the stones, and practical information on their location and even how you can book the site for private events.

You can help the Trust to take care of this truly wonderful place in several ways: by becoming a 'Friend of the Rollright Stones', by buying related books on Amazon via the Rollrights site, and they have just released a beautiful calendar for 2011, which you can get here (£6 + postage). I ordered mine 2 days ago, so they should be on their way!

If you've ever visited the Rollrights, I'd love to hear about your experiences!

Read more about the Cotswolds here.
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  1. Walking round the area its wonderful, as a visitor from Oz, to see the beautiful hedges around too oak, ivy,holly etc and agree its a mythical place. Its strange too in every picture I see of the Rollrights I see animals in the stones..thats just me though lol !

  2. Probably not just you =)



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