Rollright stones

Asked to name a stone circle in Britain and it's likely you'll think of Avebury or Stonehenge, but did you know there's another one nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds?

The Rollright Stones, which represent nearly 2,000 years of Neolithic and Bronze Age development, are found a short drive from the village of Long Compton on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border.

The complex comprises three monuments: a stone circle known as the Kings Men; a single stone known as the King Stone; and the remains of a burial chamber known as the Whispering Knights. According to folklore, the stones are said to be a monarch and his courtiers who were petrified by a witch.

The Kings Men stone circle is composed of 77 closely spaced stones arranged in a circle measuring 33 metres in diameter.

North of the circle lies the King Stone, which is 2.4 metres high by 1.5 metres wide. No one quite knows its purpose, but one theory posits that it was an astronomical marker, another that it was part of a long barrow or other burial site.

East of the circle stand the Whispering Knights, a group of five upright stones leaning in towards one another. These are the remnants of a 5,000 year old burial chamber believed to be part of a Neolithic long barrow. Originally the chamber would have comprised just four stones; the fifth stone you see today is thought to be the roof capstone that has fallen down.

The Rollright Stones, which are managed by the Rollright Trust, are open to the public every day from sunrise to sunset.

For more information, including admission fees, please visit the Rollright Trust website.

Photograph: allou/


Book a stay or dinner at the Horse and Groom (9 miles away) or The Lion Inn (19.9 miles)