Aberdeenshire, and the Buchan area in particular has a large amount of prehistoric standing and recumbent stone circles. Listed below are a few to explore.
Aikey Brae Stone Circle
Aikey Brae Stone Circle stands at the summit of Parkhouse Hill and is the most original, complete, and "unimproved" stone circle on view in northern Aberdeenshire. Like other recumbent stone circles (i.e. stone circles whose largest stone is lying down), Aikey Brae was built by a farming community sometime around 4,000 years ago. It was probably built as a means of charting the passing of the seasons by plotting the lunar cycle. It is reached via a sign-posted minor road that heads south from the B9029 approximately mid-way between Maud and Old Deer.
Loudon Wood Stone Circle
The circle survives as 4 stones, including the recumbent and West flanker, standing, and 3 fallen. As at Aikey Brae the stones are set on a bank, 18.5 m diameter and 0.8 m high. The remains of the circle indicate a diameter of about 64ft. Some of the stones have been dressed. To reach the circle travel 11 miles West of Peterhead: turn North off A950 c 3 miles West of Mintlaw on to a minor road to Strichen. In ¼ mile enter Loudon Wood on the right. Walk 1 mile through woods to circle. Signposted.
Berrybrae Stone Circle
Berrybrae is a complex site consisting of several distinct phases. There was originally a circle here (actually an oval) consisting of a recumbent stone surrounded by 9 standing stones arranged around an earthen bank ranging from 12.8 metres to 1.8 metres diameter. Within the circle was a ring cairn containing 3 burials. On a minor road just south of the A90, west of Crimond. Berrybrae Stone Circle is in a stand of trees at the north west corner of a minor road junction.
Strichen Stone Circle
A car park on a minor road half a mile west of Strichen gives access to the Formartine and Buchan Way, which follows the line of the old railway through the village. The same car park also gives access to the Strichen Stone Circle. To reach it, you follow a path that leads down by the side of the old railway and under a bridge that once carried the railway over a stream. You then head along clear and well graded paths between fields for the quarter of a mile or so to the hilltop field containing the circle.
Netherton Stone Circle
Netherton Stone Circle near Crimond, Aberdeenshire is a well preserved example of a recumbent. Most of the circle is complete with both flankers upstanding but the circle is in a copse of trees which threaten the integrity of the circle. Outside the circle is bounded by a wall. Access is from the A952 just west of Netherton Farm.
For further information on other stone circles, henges, standing stones, Pictish symbol stones, round cairns and other burial mounds, clava cairns, hill forts and other settlements, and souterrains in Aberdeenshire please refer to: www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/archaeology/sites/index.asp