Five Stones, Dere Street, Hownam.
Five Stanes Stone Circle measures only 6.00m in
diameter and stands in rough pasture on a slight rise to the
east of Dere Street, near Hurkers Hill. The circle comprises
five stones, none reaching more than 0.75m in height. Three of
the five stones are standing and two are prone and three further
stones have been displaced and can be found a few metres to the
east. Two of these are visible and the third is at turf level.
This site is best reached by following Dere Street, the Roman
Road. Take the minor road running south from Hownam then head
right for Oxnam. Dere Street is crossed at Pennymuir Forest, at
the junction leading to Towford Outdoor Centre. On foot or by
mountain bike, follow Dere Street north, past Trestle Cairn. The
stone circle can be seen to the right of the track. Note that
parts of the route are very wet and boggy and sturdy footwear is
On verge beside Pennymuir Forest.
No specific folklore or other traditions have been found
associated with this site as yet but one correspondent
suggested that the stones have been referred to locally as
the Shearers and the Bandster - the Shearers being the four
stones forming the circle and the Bandster being the
isolated stone to the south west. However, the same name has
also been associated with a stone row known as The Shearers,
some 4 miles away as the crow flies, near Hownam, and may
apply there. The only problem is that there is no single
stone that might be regarded as the Bandster. Perhaps Five
Stanes Stone Circle is The Shearers and The Bandster? We may
never know for certain.
Don't be put off by the small size of this circle. What
it lacks in size and grandeur, it makes up for by the sheer
splendour of the setting, sitting high on windswept and exposed
moorland. This site is well worth a visit. During
the winter months a small peaty pool forms between the stones
and the dark peaty soil gives it a bottomless and sinister
quality. Try leaning over, close to the water, looking at your
reflection, then imagine what lies hidden below. Interestingly,
the 1st Edition O.S.
6" map of 1863 notes an area called the "Shining
Pool" One wonders what meaning this might have, with
reference to the stone circle.
The 1st Edition O.S.
6" map 1863 shows two standing stones known as the Grey
Mare and Foal, located on an area of land not far from the stone
circle. The stones were apparently still in existence in 1899
but by 1923 the stones had vanished. However,
an isolated boulder can be located at NT 7561 1702 but
there is little evidence to suggest that it was associated with
the 'Grey Mare and Foal' or that it is an antiquity.