Today's visit to this truly hidden (partial) stone circle was a complete surprise. A friend had asked me along on day trip to the Dorset coast via Corfe Castle then along to Studland for a walk to 'Old Harry'. How could I refuse? While plotting the route to Studland my friend had noticed a stone circle marked on the OS map about 2/3 miles from Corfe Castle on the road to Studland, so we thought we'd have a go at finding it - as a bonus to all the other delights of the trip.
After initially missing the pull-in we turned round, stopping at a small parking area opposite Rempstone Hall; a gate into a wood and a bridlepath sign pointing to Nine Barrow Down is what to look out for. Going through the gate we turned right into a small wood which was a mixture of deciduous trees and plantation pines. The pine needles under our feet made our footfall silent - all rather lovely.
The stone circle was hard to find - we passed one solitary dark red sandstone before we eventually found what is really the remains of a stone circle, now just a semi-circle. Approximately eight stones plus the solitary stone as you enter the wood; the circle stones were covered in moss and being dark reddish brown in colour were well camouflaged amid the pine trees.
Later in the day, we went into the Heritage Centre in Swanage where I learnt that the Rempstone Stone Circle had been erected in the Bronze Age 4,000 years ago by the Beaker people and built with Studland sandstone.
Rempstone Circle – Purbecks 995821
The air was crisp and still when I parked my motorbike in a lay-by on the B3351 between Corfe Castle and Studland. It had been raining during the night so the ground was wet and soft. I crossed the quiet road to a wooden gate and a path that led up the steep bank of East Hill to Nine Barrow Down on the Dorset Coastal Path. Just inside the gate on the right stands Rempstone Woods and the main purpose of my visit, Rempstone Stone Circle. With Samhain recently celebrated the trees were mostly leafless allowing light into the woods that reflected in the puddles that dominated the forest floor giving a surreal atmosphere! Heading into the woods I first come across scattered dark sandstone blocks, believed to be a part of an avenue that led to the stone circle. Corn dollies and flowers sat atop these recumbent monoliths. Further on I was soon standing among several 4 foot high stones that was Rempstone Circle. Most of the circle has disappeared over time and those that are left are half hidden behind undergrowth. Rempstone circle was only discovered as recently as a hundred years ago by Mrs Goddard, a vicar's wife out walking.
Bronze Age man moved the gritstone, a quartz rich deposit from a local Bagshot bed about 3,500 years ago to form a circle around 85 foot in diameter with an alignment on the autumn/spring equinox. These ancient people used ox shoulder blade shovels and deer antler pick axes to erect their temple. A ley line runs from this place westerly through Corfe Castle, Creechbarrow Hill, Chaldon Herring Cross, Combe Bottom and ends at Chalbury Hillfort near Weymouth. I discovered Rempstone Circle through a car guide called 'Exploring Ancient Dorset with George Osborn' and have visited the site several times. My favourite time to visit being late spring when a blanket of bluebells dominate the forest floor and the smell of summer is in the air.
Everything people say about this being a magical place is quite true. You can't help but be quiet and respectful as the stones appear one by one, forming a broken and scattered circle. ShropshireTraveller has posted a map at the Megalithic Portal website (see link off main Rempstone page) that is pretty accurate from my visit to this site in September '07. I would just place the layby a bit further west. I recommend anyone planning a visit to print that map off first. The shrubs and nettles have grown a lot by the verge of the road since the 2004 photos you see here, and you won't be able to see the stones from the road, but you can still get in easily enough. Just before the autumn equinox , the sun set into the base of the ridge of Nine Barrows Down as it stretches away to the west.
Mrs Wild Wooder and I visited Rempstone yesterday Sunday 15th August. I can report that there doesn't seem to be an excess of rubbish trimmings from the forestry operations any more. One stone is visible by driving past it but I'm not sure whether any casual passer-by in a car would notice it. I did because I was looking for the stones. Many thanks to Texlahome for the tip on looking for the footpath to Nine Barrows, otherwise a site which is far from easy to find. The stone by the road is impressive in that although well worn at the top, the base is quite clearly as near as dammit a perfect square and must have been dressed by a skilled mason quite a few thousand years ago.
Placed my hand on the stone and felt quite humble.
'A long elipse of fairly large stones right beside the road that feels in some disarray on account of the uneven earth and there being a wood growing throughout but its easy to make out eight stones stood and fallen, cloaked in green moss. Five of them are close together at one end, the stone at the apex being perhaps the largest of them all.
The cup marks people speak of in the stone closest to the road appear to have been made by the sea. The carving also mentioned on TMA is an OS symbol.'
there were lots of other stones scattered around the field as well as the main stones. the main stones are right by the roadside and had lots of coins as well as some beads and feathers left around on the stones. they have an amazing texture with lots of really interesting cavities within them. we actually found it quite difficult to find the stones at first although if you find the sign for nine barrows down the stone circle is in the field just to the right at the begging of the pathway. you will find the stones amongst all the trees.
This is the nearest stone circle (that I know of) to me - and it is now among my favourite places to be! First discovered on a jolly jaunt around Corfe Castle area (still haven't been to the castle itself tho...) March 2003.
Found on a map of the area, and didn't really expect much tdue to the proximity of the road, to be honest. But what a pleasant surprise!
On the road from Corfe Castle to Studland (the same road that leads to the chain ferry), the road almost touches the edge of the circle, but you could so easily just drive past. There is a layby type of affair directly opposite - from Corfe, the circle will be on the right just past the Rempstone Horsey Centre or whatever it's called... The 3 times we've visited, we have only seen 2 other people there, and have found it to have the atmosphere of a place that could be in the middle of nowhere.
The copse of trees that it is in seems to be scattered with large stones - maybe part of another circle? Or an avenue? Whatever - the small wooded area makes you feel safe, and has quite a magical aura.
One of the stones has a symbol etched into it that I have seen all over the place - but what is it? There is a diagram included on this page. I'm sure I've seen it etched on the side of a building in the middle of Weymouth as well, but pretty much ignored it as it was a part of a shop front. I thought it could be to do with OS, but Mrs Goffik thinks it could resemble a scallop shell beloved of pilgrims in the olden days ("olden days" - bless!).
This is a lovely site. Be nice to have it all to ourselves, but that's a bit selfish, innit? ;o)
What a cracker. We were actually staying at Burnbake Campsite, barely a kilometre away and I persuaded the non-stone hunters to also have a look. Later they said that they were glad they had come along. On a hot late summers day the shade and tranquillity of the woods was beautiful. And what a jumble of stones, possible stones, mossy outcrops that looked like stones but weren't, etc. We think we could spot 10 stones that basically made a semi-circle and we guessed at what it would have looked like with the rest of the circle, and with less tress. This was all before I saw Peter Knight's book, which obviously goes into more detail about it. We may not have been experts on it but we loved it.
I visited this Beautiful place early last year.When you enter the woods you have to look for the stones then they reveal themselves to you.The heap of stones in one of the pictures may be the remains of the Avenue that was once in the nearby field,this was grubbed out by the local farmer.
Walking around the wood I found another 10+ stones scattered about, presumably from the destroyed half of the circle. I would be interested to know if a resurrection of the circle would ever be possible as I found its desecrated state rather depressing.
I also noticed that the "main" stone, with all the cups and offerings, had a marking carved into the side of it. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me but it seemed to be a symbol for the sun.
Visited it on 24/11/01 - some signs of activity in the form of pennies left in crevices of stones (left my own as an offering as well). Cursory search revealed most of the stones mentioned in Peter Knight's book still present.
I visited this site last summer, after 'discovering' it in the book 'Ancient Stones of Dorset' by Peter Knight. I decided not to make an entry here, as it didn't seem right to 'advertise' this little known gem that is hidden away in the woods, from the passing droves of tourists on the adjacent road. Now I guess it makes no difference.
A friendly, homely feel coaxed me in from the road. The stones have been partly reclaimed by the forest, their roots distorting the circle and contourting the small (2-4ft high) stones. About half the circle remains, (ten stones). Despite the passing cars on the road (about ten feet away through a thin shield of trees) the main stone (to my feelings) nearest the road, has several holes and cracks into which coins have been left as offerings. A feeling of priveledge and true sanctity prevailed. Time seemed to stop and all my worries in the 'outer world' faded away. As eventually left, I felt that I really didn't want to go! If you go there, and I know you have as much right as I do, please keep it low profile and respect this treasure with the revernece it deserves. Thanx.
REMPSTONE STONE CIRCLE, ISLE OF PURBECK - Visited 18/4/00
This is truly a magical place.
At the end of a long, wet day touring Dorset (Hambledon & Hod, The Cursus, Knowlton and Badbury), we drove through Purbeck along the B3351 from Corfe Castle to Studland. As the fog and gloom of late afternoon/early evening set in we walked through the woods, past what we took to be fallen stones from the original monument, to what was, in the opinion of myself and my companion, Pete, the best site of the day. That fact that it was sunken and broken up, made it all the more fragile and beautiful.
There is a new sign gone up next to where most folk enter the wood saying it's private property no admission. However, on my visit, the landowner drove past while I was at the roadside! He seemed amicable about it, anyway, if you want to gain official permission to enter, you need to get in touch with the Rempstone Estate Office, Cow Lane, Wareham, BH20 4RD Tel: 01929 551110.