Ley Lines Decoded

A website by Mike Peer at www.mikepeer.com

This website documents my many years of research into the possibility that prehistoric man may have set out his sites of importance in alignment across the landscape, either for some ritual purpose, or as astronomical pointers to mark the seasons.

Alfred Watkins first published his theory of ley lines in 1925 in the book ‘The Old Straight Track’.  Since that time his ideas have been much derided and maligned.  This is understandable as the standard of research has been extremely poor and it is only in the last few years, with the advent of new resources such as Google Earth and LIDAR, that more evidence has been coming to light.

So what’s it all about…

Some forty years ago I made an extraordinary discovery – certain ancient sites in the area around my home town of Guildford were arranged within the landscape in a seemingly intentional pattern.  Some sites fall upon bearings of ten degrees from a common point and are aligned at regular distances from that point. This regular distance also occurs along other alignments within the area.  Other lines are orientated east to west indicating possible equinox markers.  On one alignment I calculated a high point where I suspected a site may have existed and consequently discovered an unrecorded barrow at precisely that point – later confirmed by the County Archaeologist.

The following pages are the result of many years of intermittent research into the alignment of ancient sites across the landscape, popularly known as leys or ley lines.  Originally ley lines were defined as the physical alignments of ancient sites but in recent years they have increasingly become thought of as lines of ‘earth energy’ detectable by dowsing.  It would seem that many of these earth energy lines are not actually accurate alignments and therefore not ley lines in the original meaning of the term.  Therefore, to avoid confusion, I have not referred to the alignments in this work as ley lines, although personally I still think of them as such, hence the title ‘Ley Lines Decoded’.  This work is an objective study and analysis of the physical evidence and the subjective pursuit of earth energies has no place here.  

The first pages are entered under the header titled Info.  After About and the Introduction the chapter titled Beginnings describes my early years of research and this is succeeded by Developments which describes recent research dating from the time this website was set up.  The Summary of Alignments is a listing and brief description of the lines, and the heading is concluded by a chapter titled The Elephant in the Corner on the contentious issue of site relevance.  After The Lines, describing all sites in detail, the Research posts are where I enter my blog entries and invite comments. 

At this time there are fourteen alignments listed in this work.  Others may come to light especially if the area of interest is expanded.  The alignments are divided into two groups.  The primary group is at bearings of 10° intervals from a common point.  These intervals have been refined to 9.95° and the bearings have been divided into the recurring distance interval of 3600 feet (1097.3m).  This distance, for want of a better name, I have called the Druid Mile (DM). The secondary group are all roughly east-west and contain further instances of the Druid Mile.

It should be noted that this is very much a work in progress and many entries await the addition of information.  Field-work, once all sites are studied and photographed, will be concentrated on visiting deduced points on the alignments in the hope of discovering other unrecorded sites.  This would go a long way to proving the theory.

COINCIDENCE? – Some statistics.

The area chosen for detailed examination was approximately 25 miles east to west and 20 miles north to south, centred upon Guildford in Surrey.

Within this area a list of all prehistoric sites; pre-reformation religious sites; other ancient sites; and sites of possibly historic interest was compiled.   Eighty sites in all were added to a computer database, using AutoCAD, as Ordnance Survey (OS) coordinates.    The data was taken from the largest scale OS maps available online using Promap to give a working tolerance of one metre.

Of these sites 22 fell upon the ten-degree rays based upon a common base point (Whitmoor Barrow); 16 were in various other alignments; 18 were associated with a common distance of 3600 feet, and 11 of these sites occurred on more than one alignment.

Seven sites had serious relevance problems, being moats and Victorian churches.   These were included as, certainly, in the case of Victorian churches, a little research often reveals far older origins than one might at first suspect.   At this time moated sites must be regarded as coincidental.   The two precise ones on the alignments have been excavated with no sign of anything pre-medieval.

It may well be that some of this is coincidence but the accuracy of most of this is extraordinary – for example, if the distance value of 3600 feet (Which I have named the Druid Mile) is altered to, say 3650 feet, then this new value cannot be found between any of the 80 sites, nor can any other common distance be found.   This alone is well beyond coincidence.   What does seem to be a coincidence is the preciseness of the figure 3600.   It is well known that the English foot was not standardised until the Middle Ages and that the more ancient values varied between times and places so it is difficult to see how this originated.

The alignments radiating from Whitmoor Barrow are extremely precise   – the South Line has the Crooksbury Line at fifty degrees to the west of south and the Compton Line at thirty degrees to the west of south.   These are mirrored by the Tyting Line at thirty degrees to the east of south and the Newlands Line at fifty degrees to the east of south – again well beyond coincidence.

There are many other ‘coincidences’ described in the text of the alignments.

The Possible Importance of Latitude

Professor Richard Atkinson, excavator and restorer of Stonehenge in the 1950s, has stated: “The position, at least of the Heel Stone and the Station Stones, and indeed the latitude of Stonehenge itself, was astronomically determined’.

The latitude of Stonehenge is 51°10’42”.  It is now widely accepted that this location was chosen because it fell upon the best position to observe the midwinter and midsummer risings and setting of the sun, together with the rising and setting position of the moon at its major and minor standstills, these being the limit of its travel during the 18.6 year cycle of its travel.   At this latitude the equinoctial risings and settings of the sun are virtually opposite to each other so a sightline may have backsights and foresights; for example, the midwinter sunset in the south-west is opposite the midsummer sunrise in the north-east, and the midwinter sunrise is opposite the midsummer sunset. This only applies to a relatively narrow band of some 30 miles in width at the latitude  of Stonehenge. Once one goes beyond this band the opposing risings and settings do not align.

The latitude of Whitmoor Barrow is 51°16′ 24.9″.   This is just short of seven miles north of the latitude of Stonehenge, and well within the corridor of interest.   If the above is true it would seem possible that other “observatory’ sites might lie upon the same latitude.   Certainly, I have faith in my discovery of the possible midwinter sunset line, reinforced by my finding of an unknown barrow precisely on this line.   There is an error of just over three degrees compared with the Stonehenge figures, which could be accounted for by the elevation of the Hog’s Back, which provides a very level and clearly visible backdrop from Whitmoor Barrow.   The theodolite observation which I carried out at midwinter sunset in the 1980s satisfied me that I was observing down the alignment towards the destroyed Hog’s Back Barrow.   It would be good to check this but in the intervening years the scrub birch has grown tall and strong and it is no longer possible.

The Goseck Circle as restored

It was recently pointed out to me that the Goseck Circle bears a remarkable relationship with Stonehenge in that it is on almost the same latitude.   At 51°11’53.72″ it is a mere 1.35 miles north, well within the band of interest discussed above.   The Goseck Circle is a restored Neolithic monument in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt first discovered in 1991 from aerial photographs.   It is radiocarbon dated to 4900 BC and is believed to be the oldest known solar observatory, having two entrances in the henge aligning with the winter solstice sunrise in the south-east and with the winter sunset in the south-west.   The third entrance to due north has no known significance.

There was a time when researching the above would have been a doddle but with my advancing years, I find it increasingly difficult to get my head around this stuff.   If I am in error I ask that I may be put right – politely I hope!