Just above the pretty village of Birchover is an area of open moorland, Stanton Moor.  Because of its archaeological importance, the entirety of the moor is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. 

There are more than 70 ancient burial mounds upon the moor, and no less than four Bronze Age stone circles, constructed by the people who lived and worked on Stanton Moor around 4,000 years ago.  There is also still evidence of 17th and 18th Century packhorse routes, hollowed-out tracks in the heather made by the hooves of horses transporting goods from Cheshire and Sheffield.       

The largest and best known of the stone circles on Stanton Moor is the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, comprising ten standing stones, nine in a rough ring configuration and the tenth some 40m away from the circle.  It gets its name from a legend that nine ladies were turned to stone as a punishment for dancing on the Sabbath, with the tenth stone, or King Stone, being the fiddler. 

Nine Ladies

There is evidence that the Nine Ladies Stone Circle was used in ancient times for ceremonies and rituals concerning life and death.  It is still a location for Druid and pagan worship, and is visited by many people on each solstice. 

Slightly smaller, with six standing stones, is Doll Tor, also dating from the Bronze Age.  The site has been excavated a number of times, and during an excavation in the 1930s three of the six stones were broken and repaired.        

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