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Torhouse Stone Circle

Dumfries and Galloway

Also known as the standing stones of Torhouse. It is set on a raised mound in the gently undulating landscape of the Bladnoch valley and is one of the best preserved and complete stone circles in the UK.

Images were taken on film camera and scanned.

A circle 19m across, and having 19 rounded granite boulders varying from 0.6m to 1.45m high, it is on a raised platform made from smaller stones

Three upright stones are in the centre. Its central stones are in an alignment facing Cairnsmore (summer solstice sunrise) and the Fell of Barhullion (winter solstice sunset).

The three large upright stones in the centre of the circle are known as King Gauldus's Tomb.

This type of stone circle is most commonly found in north-east Scotland (Kincardineshire and Aberdeenshire) and is therefore unusual for this area. Similar ones are also said to be found in southwest Ireland.

Thought to date from 2000BC-1500BC.

If you approach from Wigmore you will see a stone row first.

This is a very quiet location, you are likely to have the stone circle to yourself for some time.

The 19 stones is the same number of stones as a number of other stone circles, see Merry Maidens, Cornwall. It has been suggested that 19 would have been an important number for a people who celebrated the path of the moon through the great lunar cycle.

What do we know of King Gauldus

Galdus is a  a mythical Scottish king, but he is also said to be burred in Cairnholy 2.

Symson, in his Description of Galloway, written in 1684, says

"In the high-way betwixt Wigton and Port-Patrick, about three miles westward of Wigton, is a plaine, called the 'Moor of Standing Stones of Torhouse,' in which there is a monument of three large whin-stones (called King Galdus's Tomb,) surrounded, at about twelve foot distance, with nineteen considerable great stones, (but none of them so great as the three first mentioned,) erected in a circumference.
In this moor, and not far form the tomb, are great heaps of small stones, (which the country people call Cairns) supposed by them to be the burial-place of the common soldiers. As also, at several places, distant from the monument, are here and there great single stones erected, which are also supposed to be the burial-place of his commanders and men of note." (Symson's MS Account of Galloway, Advocates' Library.)

See also

Our section on stone circles

The discussion on the purpose of stone circles


Planning Grid


Torhouse Stone Circle, near Wigtown, Dumfries & Galloway

Grid Reference

NX382564         O.S. Landranger Sheet 83
                      O.S. Explorer Sheet 311

Map Link:


Google Maps Aerial photo

scale currently poor, but check to see if improved

Getting there:

Take the B733 west from Wigtown,  towards Kirkcowan, for about 3 miles, the circle is quite visible on your left, behind a dry stone wall.


By road


Small amount of road side parking



Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Stone circle. views, nearby stones.

What to take:

Some suggest insect repellent at some times of the year, we never had a problem.

Nature highlights:

Not known

Best Times to Visit:




Dumfries & Galloway









Opening times:

Open all the time



Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions: None
Special Needs Access: Can be seen from the road
Special Needs Facilities: none
Children Facilities: none
Dogs Allowed:  

Other useful websites:


CIN Page Ref:


Date Updated:02/08

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