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May 6

Bath and North East Somerset, England

Stanton Drew Stone Circles

One of the largest megalithic complexes in England, which local legend holds is a wedding party turned to stone by the Devil. 

The megalithic complex at Stanton Drew in Somerset consists of three stone circles and a three-stone group known as “The Cove,” dating back as far as 2000-3000 BCE. Although this is the third largest complex of prehistoric standing stones in England, it is surprisingly little known. There are however several local traditional stories about the ancient megaliths—the best-known being the wedding party that was turned to stone.

As the legend goes, the party was held throughout Saturday, but a man clothed in black—the Devil in disguise—arrived after midnight and started to play his violin for the merrymakers, continuing into holy Sunday morning. When dawn broke, everybody had been turned to stone by the Demon. In this interpretation, the stone circles are the dancers, the avenues are the fiddlers, and the cove is the bride and groom with the drunken churchman at their feet. They are still awaiting the Devil, who promised to come back someday and play for them again.

The largest circle at Stanton Drew, the Great Circle, is 113 metres (370 feet) in diameter, making it one of the largest stone circles in the country. It has 26 surviving upright stones. Yet recent surveys have revealed that the circles and cove were just part of a much more elaborate and important ritual site than previously imagined.

Know Before You Go

Get here by car or bus. Note this is a farmer's field with sheep in so please bear this mind when visiting.

The Druids Arms does nice home-cooked food and there is a lovely circular walk along the river to the pretty village of Pensford.

Don't forget to visit Stoney Littleton Long Barrow around 30 mins drive away http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stoney-littleton-long-barrow/

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