English Heritage press release 58/03/00
17 March 2000
NINE LADIES BRONZE AGE STONE CIRCLE AT RISK FROM VISITOR PRESSURE
English Heritage Launches Campaign To Protect Nationally Important
English Heritage today (Friday 17th March) announced that it has
commissioned a vital archaeological study of Nine Ladies Stone Circle in
the Peak District National Park so that the rapidly deteriorating condition
of this nationally important Bronze Age Stone Circle can be assessed. A
local public meeting will be held to allow us to explain our proposals.
Each year around 40,000 people visit the circa 4000 year old Stone Circle
which is causing a rapid increase in erosion of this fragile site. Recent
soil erosion has revealed evidence of a tenth stone and today approximately
20cm is exposed. Damage has also been caused by visitors digging holes for
campfires and even chipping off pieces of stone as souvenirs.
Jon Humble, English Heritage's Inspector of Ancient Monuments for the East
Midlands said: "Nine Ladies Stone Circle, the most evocative and well known
of the many monuments on Stanton Moor, is a site of beauty and tranquillity
for visitors, from near and far, and to many who believe the Stone Circle
is of special spiritual significance. It is this popularity that has
significantly accelerated the processes of decay. We must act quickly if we
are to protect this mysterious and ancient site for future generations.
"Rather like investigative surgery, we will examine a small sample of the
site to establish the extent and condition of the archaeological remains.
Great care will be taken to ensure that intervention is kept to the
minimum necessary to get the information we need. Less than 10% of the site
will be opened up and the soil removed will be less than the amount lost in
the last 20 years alone as a result of erosion.
"The findings from the study will contribute to the preparation of a
Conservation Plan for the Stone Circle balancing its archaeological,
ecological, landscape and aesthetic needs with the needs of its visitors
today and in future generations. As part of a public information campaign a
guide will be based at Nine Ladies during the study to explain the work to
visitors. Interpretation panels will explain the Stones' archaeology and
outline conservation guidelines which will help safeguard the monument."
A specially commissioned leaflet `Nine Ladies Stone Circle and Stanton
Moor' explaining plans for the site has been sent to all local residents of
the nearby villages Stanton-in-Peak, Stanton Lees and Birchover. A public
meeting is being held at Stanton-in-Peak Village Hall on Monday 3 April,
and will be attended by representatives from English Heritage and the Peak
District National Park Authority who manage the privately-owned site under
a Local Management Agreement on behalf of English Heritage.
Rod Giddins, English Heritage's Regional Director for the East Midlands
said: "It is important that we explain our plans for tackling the serious
erosion of ancient site. By working closely together with all the
interested parties we can protect the Stone Circle for the enjoyment of
NOTES TO EDITORS
Nine Ladies Stone Circle is part of the larger Scheduled Ancient Monument
of Stanton Moor. The site is in the private ownership of the Thornhill
Settlement - Stanton Estate and in the guardianship of English Heritage.
Since 1995, a Local Management Agreement has been operated with the Peak
District National Park Authority
The archaeological evaluation will take place in May and last for four-five
weeks. The work is being carried out by Trent & Peak Archaeological Unit on
behalf of English Heritage and the Peak District National Park Authority.
Entry to the monument is free and at any reasonable time
For a copy of the free leaflet `Nine Ladies Stone Circle and Stanton Moor'
or further information on the public meeting, please call: 01604 730320
For further press information, please contact:
Suzanne Bode, English Heritage Public Affairs
0171 973 3297
Dr Mike Heyworth Council for British Archaeology
Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York YO1 9WA, UK
Tel: +44 1904 671417 Fax: +44 1904 671384