A large stone stands by the roadside opposite the entrance to Altarstone Farm
from which the stone takes its name. The stone is rectangular in shape and measures approx.
1.00 x 1.20 x 1.80m. The top surface forms a smooth, flat plane giving suggestion
that it may have formed the altar used by druids, perhaps in a temple. However, there does
not appear to be any local tradition supporting this nor does the
setting suggest so. Why the stone has been named as such
may be due to an earlier name for the farm, Arthur's Stane, which was previously in the
marshy ground lower down. The local pronunciation was and is A'terstane.
A small quarry can be seen in the wood behind the stone and stone
quarrying is evident. The Altar Stone is likely to have come from the
vicinity of the quarry but whether it is a result of quarrying or is a
natural boulder from the original rock outcrop is unclear.
From Peebles take the A 72 west towards Glasgow. After 4 miles turn left
onto B712 for Moffat and Broughton. Once past Stobo village and
before crossing bridge over River Tweed just before Dawyck, turn
left up minor road leading to Dreva and Broughton. Altarstone Farm
is about 1 mile along this road.
There are two options here for parking. One, for those not wishing to
walk or for the disabled, is to ask for permission to park in the farm steading at Altarstone Farm, just a few metres from the stone.
Alternatively, leave the car in the gravel lay-by
at the junction where the B712 joins the minor road to Dreva. Take care walking along the road as it
can be busy with traffic at times.
The upper surface has some marks, resembling claw imprints, which are said
to have been made by a witch who turned into a hare when being hunted by Merlin.
marks are said to have been made by the hare's claws when she raced over
the stone. The stone is well weathered and the marks are more likely to
be a result of natural forces. But you never know!
After a pleasant walk with delightful views across the
valley to the west, I found this stone easily and as it was
the first stone I had sought out for this web site, it was
quite thrilling, despite it's rather plain nature. The stone
is almost hidden beneath a tree and is easily missed unless
on foot and even then you need to be aware of its existence,
as it just looks like any old stone lying on the hillside.
Watch out for the farm dog which appears fierce at first but
soon backs down when it realises you won't run away.
Revisiting the Altar Stone in early March before the Spring
growth of vegetation starting obscuring the area, showed the
possible source of the stone, a quarry in the woods to the
rear. However, examining the quarry and surrounding hill
side showed that it is possible that prior to the quarry
opening, the hills side had natural rock outcrops and the
stone probably originated from there.