The Druids’ Altar is thought to be a Bronze Age ‘Four Poster’ stone circle located at the top of Malham Moor Lane on the boundary between the townships of Threshfield and Bordley. Roger Martlew was invited to lead a discussion of the monument on a field visit arranged on 4 July, 2016 by Val and Wally.
The site comprises three standing stones, with a fallen stone among them, set on a circular bank 15 metres in diameter, 2.7 metres wide and about one metre high. A second fallen stone lies about 5m south of the mound. A further, indistinct and lower mound lies about 40m to the west. The location of the Druids’ Altar is such that it affords views to the distant south and south-west horizons. The setting of the southernmost moon aligns with the outline of Pendle Hill and the setting midwinter sun coincides with Weets Top. This suggests that the site was deliberately chosen by its builders for its astronomical properties.
Most Four Poster stone circles of this type are concentrated in Eastern Scotland. It has been speculated that this isolated example may be associated with Craven’s deposits of lead and copper. Perhaps Bronze Age mineral prospectors came to Craven bringing their astronomical knowledge and architectural notions with them?