No-one knows who they were or what they were doing, but their legacy remains…
There are only two neolithic stone circles remaining in Shropshire, and by far the best is Mitchell’s Fold. (The other is the nearby Hoarstones)
It’s not like Stonehenge, it doesn’t have the enormous and technologically impressive trilithons, and it’s not like the village encircling stones at Avebury – it’s a lot smaller (about 25m across), and the stones aren’t nearly as impressive.
The circle dates from about 4000 years ago, and sits 330m above sea level, with some great views. Some of the stones are 6ft tall, most a lot shorter. Some have fallen over. About half of them are missing. One seems to be buried in the centre of the circle (and is a petrified witch, if you believe the rather fanciful local legends).
No-one has any solid idea what it was for, only guesses.
I’ve been meaning to visit for over a year now, but always things get in the way. Mostly weather. I’ve been trying to interest friends into coming along, and this week the stars aligned and I had both beautiful weather and (beautiful) friends.
It got off to a bad start when the sat-nav insisted we travel most of the way down single-width country lanes – dodging the many and seemingly suicidal baby pheasant – when there was a perfectly good A-road to take us 95% of the way. When we finally got out of the car we decided to take a shortcut that involved hacking through head-high bracken straight up a steep hill, although we eventually realised the shortcut took four times as long as the route would have taken otherwise. We’d have been faster without 3 children and 2 dogs. It got a bit chaotic.
When we finally got to Mitchell’s Fold, we found a small herd of cows grazing between the stones, and in some cases using them as scratching posts.
We ate our picnic, then spent the afternoon up there chatting and throwing balls for the dogs. We’ll definitely be going back.