Counting the Rollright Stones

When I was 3 and before I can even remember, I visited Stonehenge with my parents while on holiday.  I’ve never been back since then, but while at primary school I read quite a few Penelope Lively books, including Whispering Knights.  It was all a bit far-fetched to me and not really a genre I was keen on, but was based on a stone circle near us (Lively had lived in the area).  I always wanted to visit, so my mum had taken us at some point to see The Rollright Stones.

I find it interesting to read about the history of stone circles, so was keen to go back and show N the stones.  On the way back from our Torquay holiday, we dropped in so he could see the stones and try and count them.

visiting the Rollright Stones

The Rollright Stones seem a bit random in location.  They’re really in the middle of nowhere, and it’s quite easy to drive straight past them.  There’s 3 different settings that you can visit.

The one we headed for was King’s Men which a late neolithic stone circle of around 70 stones. There’s also the King Stone which is across the road and fenced off to protect it, and the Whispering Knights burial chamber which is a short walk away. N was a bit tired after being in the car for a while, so we stuck to the circle.

rollright stones

It was originally believed that there were 105 stones, but there’s now 77 stones remaining. Although oddly, each time you count round the circle, you’ll get a different numbers.  We counted twice, and didn’t get anywhere near 77 either time, or the same number. To be honest though, it’s probably my memory not remembering which stumpy stones we counted the first time round!

counting the Whirpers Kniights

N loved counting round the circle, and it was a great way of practising his higher numbers.  I was really pleased to hear him counting correctly to 20 (it’s hard work usually with a few numbers being missed out, and I’m never sure whether he knows them and is just trying to trick me).  He then counted along with me up to 30, when he got stuck and asked ‘what comes next Mummy?’.  After that, counting went out of the window and he just wanted to walk or run round the circle examining the stones.

whispering knights stones

I got some very amusing faces, and of course Jesse the teddy was in tow during his exploration.  N was amazed at the size of some of the stones, and we tried to decide what some of them looked like.  I was seeing a giraffe’s face in this tall one, but when N started telling me they were like tractors, I gave up on that idea.  Obsessed, I tell you!

testing the rollright stones

I don’t think I’ve ever crossed the centre of the circle (it feels a bit sacrilegious), but it didn’t bother N. He and Jessie were straight across the centre.  I’m not sure what it was that someone had left in the centre on this occasion, a plastic bag, with a flag or something sticking out the top.  I didn’t want to go and investigate, and N just ignored it (probably the only 4 year old who wouldn’t go to have a nosy), so don’t know what was going on with that.  It did mean no full stone circle photos!

Teddy in tow

N was also very bossy about where we could enter and leave the circle.  There’s nothing like a bossy 4 year old…’you have to let me go first’, ‘don’t step outside’ and more.

rollright stones

I was able to tell N a bit about why the Rollright Stones were there…supposedly a king who wanted to be king of England got as far as Rollright and a witch popped up, tricked him, and turned him, his men and knights into stone.  There’s also fairy myths, and similar traditions about removing chips or the stones and being cursed.  Add to that the countless mystery of the stones.  If you can count the King’s Men at get the same number 3 times, you’ll have your heart’s desire.

We probably only spent about 40 minutes there, but we enjoyed a break to stretch our legs and it still feels special each time I visit. We popped our donation in the pot before heading back home after our few days away.

Are there any places that you’ve read about in books, wanted to go and visit, and then have done?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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17 thoughts on “Counting the Rollright Stones

  1. What a perfect way to stretch your legs and I love how N turns everything round to tractors! I remember a school trip to StoneHenge back when you could still get right up and touch the stones, I’ve not heard of these ones but they look well placed for your journey stop. thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

    1. It’s great because you can really get to touch these stones (apart from the King Stone), and it’s unusual that there’s more than a couple of cars parked up there so you don’t have to fight people to get a photo and enjoy the stillness.

  2. I don’t live too far away from Avebury and find it a magical place to visit, so I can imagine the Rollright Stones are exactly the same.I’ve just had to Google where this is, it’s a bit far for us to travel as we don’t drive but I would love to visit one day.

  3. Oh, I love the mysticism surrounding this place, and how fabulous that you feel something of it yourself!

    What I want to know, though, is – if you can’t count the stones the same way twice, how do they *know* there are 77? Eh?

    *grins*

  4. They look fab to visit! I love standing stones, we have a few single ones close by, but all the stone circles are a bit further north for us. 🙂 x

  5. Oh wow. You have taken me back to childhood. We visited those stones once and there was a little black lamb running around them. Great memory and thank you for bringing it back to me. Gorgeous photos! Loving the new blog tweaks btw – the social media bar at the top is ace x

    1. Spooky coincdence. Odd having a random lamb running round, it’s quite eerie there especially when it’s a bit misty, so must have been funny to see it.

      Thanks for the comments on the design tweaks. Thanks to Zoe of course, she does a great job…and I swiped your reviews/comps style pages, hope you don’t mind. So much easier than my old bog standard style.

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