Nine Stones Circle
Nine Stones Circle

Nine Stones is a small stone circle set in a woodland glade immediately west of Winterbourne Abbas village. As the name suggests, the circle is composed of nine stones. It was constructed in the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age, around 2000 BCE.
The circle is about 8 metres across, and stands in a valley bottom, close to South Winterbourne stream and directly north of the busy A35 road. The stones are between 0.5 metres and 1.5 metres in height. Two stones are notably taller than the others; a tall slender stone is on the west side of the circle and a very broad, slightly shorter stone is set on the north side. One small stone appears almost embedded in the trunk of a tree that grew up beside it.

A gap on the north side of the circle may indicate a possible entrance. The Nine Stones are located very close to the Winterbourne Poor Lot Barrows to the west.

The tall western stone
The tall western stone

Visiting

If you didn't know the stone circle was there you certainly wouldn't find it. There are no signposts that I could see, and no information panels to explain the site. Luckily, access is easy once you know how. English Heritage has arranged permission for visitors to park at the Little Chef restaurant, on the north side of the A35 as you are leaving Winterbourne Abbas village.

If you walk in front of the restaurant you will find a gate, with a small English Heritage sign and an arrow pointing across the farm field to the west. Just follow the field boundary, running parallel to the A35, aiming for a wooded area at the western end of the field. A gateway leads from the field into a small glade where the standing stones cluster, just a few feet from the traffic whirring by on the busy road.

English Heritage has arranged permission for visitors to park at the Little Chef restaurant, on the north side of the A35 as you are leaving Winterbourne Abbas village. If you walk in front of the restaurant you will find a gate, with a small English Heritage symbol and an arrow pointing across the farm field to the west. Just follow the field boundary, running parallel to the A35, aiming for a wooded area at the western end of the field. A gateway leads from the field into a small glade where the standing stones cluster, just a few feet from the traffic whirring by on the busy road.

Just follow the field boundary, running parallel to the A35, aiming for a wooded area at the western end of the field. A gateway leads from the field into a small glade where the standing stones cluster, just a few feet from the traffic whirring by on the busy road.

It is quite a surreal combination; the peaceful historic site, shielded by trees, seems lost in time, yet beyond the screen of trees cars whizz hurriedly by.

I quite liked the Nine Stones; the variety of shapes and sizes made me wonder why those particular stones were selected. None of them show any obvious signs of carving or shaping. And what can we make of the two large stones, one slender and pointed, the other shorter and broad? Perhaps male and female symbols? And then there's the small stone that has been almost swallowed by the growing tree beside it. That's half the fun of stone circles; speculating.