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Hemlock Stone

Hemlock Stone, Coventry Ln, Stapleford, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG9 3GH

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Hemlock Stone

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Image credit: RICHARD GILL / OCUAIR LTD

Hemlock stone is a mythical site located in Bramcote Hills Park, surrounded in legend and history. It’s truly worth a visit to gaze upon this bizarre piece. It is accessible by foot along beautiful countryside trails.

Standing at 8.5 meters tall, this mass of twisted red stone is one of both legend and history. Studies show this beautiful rock has been here for 200 million years and was forged out of red sandstone in a desert climate during the Triassic period.

Historically, the stone was used for Pagan Celtic ritual and was passed by the Romans on the way to their fort in Broxtowe.

Druids, or Celtic Priests, used the stone as an altar to light fires the night before May day, in order to celebrate the festival of Beltane. Celts believed Hemlock stone was specifically sacred as it was surrounded by oak trees (sacred to Celts) and a nearby blessed spring. The spring was believed to have special healing powers.

Unfortunately the spring has been lost, but it was previously used by gypsies and miners for its healing powers. Hemlock stone is also surrounded by sandy caves and hollows on Stapleford Hill, all adding to this mythical site.

Medieval legend tells of a pious monk from Lenton Priory. One night, he found himself unable to sleep and felt it was because the Devil was close. He began to pray in order to possess Lucifer to leave. The Devil, who was sleeping nearby on Stony Clouds at Sandiacre was disturbed by the monk’s prayers and in anger threw Hemlock stone at the Priory. His throw fell short and the stone sank into the side of Stapleford Hill, where it rests now.

Modern legends tell of a meteor falling from the sky and becoming Hemlock. Other legends believe it was a site for witchcraft and diabolism.

The name of the stone itself derives from many languages. Most likely it is an amalgamation of the ancient Welsh ‘Cromlech’, which means ‘bent flat’ stone, and the German word ‘himmel-stein’ - meaning heaven stone. The Danes, who lived in Nottinghamshire during the Viking period, referred to the stone as ‘hemmelig’ meaning overhang. Whatever you believe, the stone is certainly a notable part of local history.

You can access the park by taking the Rainbow 4 bus from Broadmarsh Bus Station to Sherwin Arms. From there, it is a 10 minute walk along Ilkeston Road to Hemlock, on Coventry lane.

Alternatively, there is free parking at Bramcote Hills park, with additional parking in Pit Lane Recreation Area. From there, you can follow a footpath leading to Stapleford Hill.

The park is open every day, year round. Dogs are welcome. Hemlock would make for a magical family day out, and presents a perfect opportunity for children to use their imagination to unpack its mythical past!

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