A place I've visited loads throughout my life - back in the 70's when there were trees growing in the middle, and the stones really were difficult to count - up to current times.
In the early 1990's one of the large stones was taken from the site - on the left side as you face the stones when entering - you can see the scratched and grazed mark on the remaining stone where it used to rest. I know this as it happened during a time when I visited the site regularly. One week it was there, the next it was gone, along with a large portion of the circular fence (which was eventually replaced) and heavy JCB type track marks running from the stones to the exit on the Aylesford side of the field.
I wrote letters of concern to Kent County Council, English Heritage, Maidstone Borough Council - but got no reply.
In the late 90's, I happened to be driving past the stones and noticed a large sarsen stone with a house name freshly carved into it had been erected in a driveway on the opposite side of the road a little way down towards Aylesford - strange that. Of course this couldnt be the same stone now ... could it?
For anyone trying to 'reconstruct' this monument, a recent visit with Stukeley and Ashbee's words in my head cleared it up.
Stand to the east, looking back over the stones and along the access path. The closest stones [the mouth of the chamber] were all pushed over to the north, ie, to the right. The capstones lay tangled between the uprights on either side. The rear of what Stukely described as a semi-circular chamber was pushed in and to the right, and with his plan in my hand it made sense at last. Just don't expect to see two lines of parallel stones!
Unfortunately, although still graffiti-free, some digging had been done to the north, around a 2' hole, mostly, from what I could see, the remains of the roots from the tree that stood in that spot, wedged between three stones. Thankfully there was enough spoil left so filling it in wasn't too difficult, though it did look hand-dug....two fresh smaller sarsen chunks down there tho, was tempted, just for a second, to have a poke around, but managed to reign in my curiosity, and reported it to Maidstone Museum instead.
Stumbled on Little Kits Coty in my third attempt at encircling Kits Coty. Parked as per Pure Joy on the 'demi lay-by', the Track is marked Pratling Street but looks like it loops round and comes out further down by the industrial estate having transformed into a more sensibly sized road. A twenty yard dash back against on-coming traffic was probably safer than walking all the way down from the recommended lay-by at the top of the hill for Kit Coty
The sign says twenty. Moth counted n-n-n-nineteen. Countless? I think not, baby puppy. Whatever the number they're certainly countable, though you have to have a very lively imagination to reconstruct in your mind the fabulous monument that this once was. A huge burial chamber at some point has just laid down and died. Hopelessly collapsed, its bleached long-dead elephant bones lie strewn ingloriously in a heap. You have to be keen on stones to be impressed by this. It made me want to weep.
Little Kit’s Coty (aka The Countless Stones) - 4.9.1999
After visiting Kit’s Coty this was obviously pretty different (and not so ‘impressive’ when showing someone else the site) but the old ‘countless stones’ routine is always a good one to get a newcomer involved in the folklore of ancient sites.
Without the benefit of a proper map I didn’t know where to park so I had parked just outside the enclosure where a track meets the main road (described by Kammer as a ‘demi lay-by’). Bit of a tight squeeze; I didn’t know at the time where else to park, but there are now some better suggestions in the posts below.
Visited 7th April 2003.
After a long day yesterday at Stonehenge, Avebury and West Kennett I found I had an urge to visit my local stones, hopefully to add a bit of positive energy. Ignore the urge to park by the English Heritage sign and instead take the next left. About 100 metres up a very quiet lane you will find a small lay by, very safe.
Stones are very well cared for and surrounding grass looked like it had just been mowed.
On leaving the site I discovered in a field oppersite the lane exit what looked to be another small group of stones underneath a pylon, not been to look yet but definately connected im sure. Yet never mentioned by anyone, have a look...
Visited 26th July 2002: Parking and access to Countless Stones and Kit's Coty is appalling because the traffic on the small roads between them is fast and there's no footpath. The safest parking space we found was at the end of the weird dual carriageway (TQ74456055). Here it is on Multimap:
Getting to Kit's Coty on foot from here was relatively easy, but walking to Countless Stones from the same spot was a bit more hair raising. We had our three year old son William with us, which made it more scary.
There's a 'demi-lay-by' right next to the entrance to Countless Stones, but you can't really park there for long without feeling like you're about to get shunted by a passing lorry. On the way back I went and got the car and collected Lou and Will from here (like some sort of SAS hostage extraction).
The stones themselves are well worth a visit, despite the nearby pillons and the dodgy road. They aren't in a cage or covered in chalk graffiti like Kit's Coty, so I got the impression that they have fewer visitors. Perhaps the road is actually protecting them!
Visited on 21/09/2001. LKC is clearly signposted on the road from Aylesford to Bells Hill on the right hand side. Even so we overshot, but found a layby/pull-in about 200m further up the hill on the left. We returned on foot which was abit hairy as there is little pavement and much traffic. the site is set within a large field and is accessed via a iron railing fenced, grassed walkway. As you look across from the site (North) there is a line of humming pylons. the road is busy enough to be distracting. LKC still has an ambience, and it was good to be there. The stones lie in disarray with the cupmarks full of recent rain. It is amazing really that this is still here...
In April, 1895, Mr. Albany F. Major (hon. sec. Viking Club) and myself went on a visit to Kits Coity House above Aylesford, Kent. At the foot of Blue Bell Hill on the way to Kits Coity there are a number of sarsens in a field. On inquiring of a rustic as to their whereabouts, in directing us to them he informed us that a baker had made a bet he would count them and placed a loaf upon each stone in order to count them correctly. [...]
R. Ashington Bullen.
From Nature v65 (1901). "Rustic." It reminds you of the recent "pleb" remark does it not, pretty casual disdain?
At the distance of about five hundred yards south-eastward of Kit's Cotty House, has been another Cromlech, consisting of eight or ten stones, now lying in a confused heap, it having been thrown down about the beginning of the last century, by order of the then propietor of the land, who is said to have intended sending the stones "to pave the garrison at Sheerness," after they had been broken to pieces.* This design was prevented by the extreme hardness of the stones..
*Thorpe's account of Aylesford, in the "Custumale Roffense," p 64-75.
p278 in The Graphic and Historical Illustrator
Edward Wedlake Brayley (1834) - which can be perused on Google Books.
Here, as elsewhere, the megaliths have been disturbed at various times by the activities of searchers for buried treasure. The Lower Kits Coty is said to have been broken up for this reason, and the interior of the Coldrum chamber was disturbed for the same purpose. Even today country people find it difficult to believe that archaeologists excavate for anything else but gold and the treasures of ancient peoples.
Oh the silly country people. As if archaeologists ever excavate/d for reasons other than Serious Scientific Research.
From p40 of Notes on the Folklore and Legends Associated with the Kentish Megaliths
John H. Evans
Folklore, Vol. 57, No. 1. (Mar., 1946), pp. 36-43.
Up to the last generation there was a widespread belief that [megalithic] monuments could not be measured, nor the stones which composed them counted. Hence the name of "The Countless Stones" for the destroyed Lower Kits Coty, and as proof of their uncountability the story is told of a clever baker who placed a bread roll on each stone, thinking that when he collected his rolls again he would have the hidden number. His ingenious trick was in vain, however, for the Devil ate some of the rolls and then sat gibbering at the discomfited baker.
From 'Notes on the Folklore and Legends Associated with the Kentish Megaliths, by John H. Evans, in Folklore, Vol. 57, No. 1. (Mar., 1946), p38.
Alternative versions have the devil adding an extra loaf when the baker wasn't looking, or appearing disguised as another loaf. Another has the baker finally totting up the stones but dropping dead just as he's about to utter the result. You have been warned. They are called the countless stones, for goodness' sake.