Five Wells
Neolithic Chambered Cairn
West of Taddington, Derbyshire  OS Map Ref SK124711
OS Maps - Landranger 119 (Buxton & Matlock), Explorer OL24 (The Peak District - White Peak Area)


Five Wells Eastern Chamber
The eastern chamber, looking northeast across Chee Dale in early evening sunlight.
This site is the remains of a circular chambered cairn that originally had two back to back opposing limestone chambers facing east and west and each probably entered by a passage through a now vanished mound. The eastern chamber is well preserved and consists of a pair of upright portal stones about 1.5 metres tall behind which are a pair of large slabs about 2 metres in length and a smaller backstone - the covering slab capstone from the top of the chamber is now gone. Inside, the chamber is about 1 metre wide. The western chamber is in a very poor state, with only the collapsed portals (one of which appears to be broken) visible, the other stones have either been buried or removed. Most of the cairn mound that would have covered both of these chambers (believed to have had a diameter of about 15 metres) and a possible outer kerb of stones is said to have been carried away for wall building about 200 years ago and the site was subject to the usual enthusiastic but damaging investigations by several 19th century antiquarians who between them discovered the remains of about 17 sets of human bones as well as animal teeth, pottery, flint arrowheads and a flint knife.
As can be seen from the photograph above the site has fine views to the north across the Wye Valley and Chee Dale towards the hills beyond (indeed it is said to be the highest barrow in the Peak District standing at 425 metres above sea level) and this location and the views must have been significant to its Neolithic builders.
Five Wells Western Chamber
Remains of the western chamber on the right with the better preserved eastern chamber to the left.
Five Wells eastern chamber by night
Five Wells eastern chamber by night.
Five Wells plan - Jewitt 1870
This plan of Five Wells by Llewellynn Jewitt drawn over 140 years ago seems to show many more stones than can be seen today. The eastern chamber marked as 'F' and 'G' is recognisable while the western chamber would appear to be the stones just above and to the left of the letter 'D'.

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