Near the town of Strichen in northeast Scotland stands an ancient stone circle. Today, you’ll find a number of stones at Strichen: seven large slabs known as orthostats, a large recumbent stone that lays on its side, accompanied by two flanking stones at either end. The stones are set out in a circle measuring 15 meters in diameter. The larger stones rise from a continuous ring of much smaller stones.
This is a recumbent stone circle, a type of megalithic monument that has only been found in two regions: Aberdeenshire in Scotland, and counties Cork and Kerry in Ireland. In Scotland, many of these monuments are clustered in areas away from the mountains, with low hills and good soil that suggests they may have been built by local farmers.
The Strichen stone circle has been destroyed and reconstructed at least twice since it was first documented in 1758. The first time was around 1830, when a tenant farmer dismantled the ancient structure and then asked to rebuild it by the land owner. When the stone circle was reassembled, it was within a ring bank where an Iron Age timber building had once stood. At this time it was formed into a folly with six standing stones.
In the 1960s, the circle was destroyed a second time when the trees surrounding it were felled. In the late 1970s, a plan was established to restore the circle once again. Between 1979 and 1982 archaeologists excavated the site to determine the proper placement of the stones. They found that the recumbent was in the right position, but the rest of the stones needed to be rearranged.
Know Before You Go
There is a small area of off road parking at the head of the trail leading to the stone circle but a sign explaining the site.
Livestock may be grazing in the field, although the stone circle is within a fence much of this is flattened so be aware that animals may join you on your visit and be aware of the impact that any dogs may have.
The area surrounding the stone circle has had the trees growing there felled, however, stumps remain hidden in the undergrowth. Tread carefully to avoid twisted ankles.