Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
I was doing a bit of research on the Turton hills and came across a survey on the Bronze Age complex on Cheetham Close. GMAC Paper .
On this lovely spring day I headed up from Dimple village to see for myself. Arriving from the north along the Witton Weavers way involves some bog trotting across the rough peat and grassland. When the stone circle was erected, some 3,500 years ago, this was woodland with good pasture. Deforestation cleared the hills and the soil washed away. Peat started to form, hence it’s now all squelchy bog and rough grassland.
The stone circle pictured is on the side of the hill overlooking the Blackburn Road and across to Winter Hill with its summit full of masts and aerials. It’s difficult to capture a decent picture of the stones, most of which are no more than 45cm or so protruding from the ground. Perhaps a morning shot will bring out the contrast better. Excavations in 1850 showed that these are actually remains of stones now on their sides or broken into smaller pieces. They date from the first half of the early Bronze Age, ie c 1835 BC.Effort from around a dozen adults would have been needed to quarry the stones and erect them on the hill-top. They were a community of arable/pastoral farmers, perhaps with a little hunting and fishing. The experts who prepared the survey even suggest the weather was warmer and it rained less in those days.
Nearby is a Ring Bank Cairn, which when investigated had kerb stones around the banking. Most of the stones have apparently made their way into the nearby stone walls.
Next visit, I’ll look out for this cairn.
Cheetham Close is named from Humphrey Chetham, who owned the Manor of Turton in the mid 17th century. His name is more usually associated with the music school (Chets), Hospital and library in Manchester.