Castlerigg is by far the one of the most dramatic stone circle in Britain. It overlooks Thirlmere Valley, the mountains of High Seat and Helvellyn.
It is thought to have been constructed about 3000 BC, and is potentially one of the earliest in the country. Taken into guardianship in 1883, it was also one of the first monuments in the country to be recommended for preservation.
Neolithic stone circles such as Castlerigg, Swinside in the southern part of the Lake District, and Long Meg and her Daughters in the Eden Valley, do not contain formal burials. Unlike some later Bronze Age burial monuments that date back to 2000–800 BC which do contain cremations in central pits or beneath small central cairns.
Castlerigg has not been extensively excavated, and it is therefore not known exactly what might be preserved beneath the surface. Three Neolithic stone axes originating from nearby Great Langdale were recovered from the site in the 19th century, and similar finds have been made at other Neolithic stone circles.
The precise function of these early circles is not known, but their importance possibly centred on their large internal areas with their formalised entrances. Sites such as Castlerigg were undoubtedly important meeting places for the scattered Neolithic communities, but whether as trading places or as religious centres, or even both, is not known.