The Soulbury Stone – An 11,000 year old accident waiting to happen!

The Soulbury Stone has been sitting contentedly, keeping itself to itself for around 11,000 when it was deposited in its resting place from Derbyshire during the last Ice-Age.  There isn’t anything very unusual about that of course except for the fact that this large stone is sat right in the middle of a modern road.

Legend has it that the stone is there after the locals had a fight with the Devil and cut off his foot.  When the foot landed on the ground, it immediately turned to stone.  It hasn’t moved since whilst an entire village has grown up around it.  Oliver Cromwell even stood on it to give a rousing speech during the Civil War.

Everything was just going splendidly for 11,000 years until a dozy motorist drove into it earlier this year and tried to sue the local authority for £1,800 damages.  One might have to wonder just how bad a motorist this person was to not notice a large 3-foot rock in the middle of the very wide road.  Granted, strangers to the village might not expect to come across such a rock but it’s not unreasonable to think it might be seen several car lengths before hitting it.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 17.01.38

Spot the glacial rock / Devils foot

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 17.01.04

Could the road be any wider to avoid the rock?

Maybe the motorist is from London where the traffic moves so slowly, the only thing you are in danger of hitting is a speed camera, traffic light camera, bus lane camera, security camera, a pothole or a tourist with a camera… but not rocks.

The council immediately responded to the lawsuit by planning to remove the stone from the highway.  Like the plot of many a low-budget British movie, the local villagers didn’t take kindly to their local feature being threatened and several vowed to chain themselves around the rock in order to safeguard it.

The council caved, not sure if it was a rock cave-in, but has now promised that the stone will not be moved but instead has painted bright white chevron lines all around the stone in order to draw attention to it in case any other dozy drivers happen across the village.  Villagers have been quick to point out how ridiculous it is.


The council now claims that more permanent measures will be taken to safeguard the stone which if they have any sense will involve making it a feature of a small grass area.   I can’t help thinking how ridiculous it is all because one idiot couldn’t watch where they were going.


About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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5 Responses to The Soulbury Stone – An 11,000 year old accident waiting to happen!

  1. Oh, that’s attractive. Couldn’t they have painted some concentric circles around it, Zen garden-style? It would serve the purpose and look less like a bad 80s rock video graphic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OK, I thought stuff like this only happened over here in America!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joseph Nebus says:

    Well, I can understand the motorist’s view here. Rocks aren’t usually things encountered in the middle of the road and it does help to have some warning there’s odd things going on. And maybe a visitor to Soulbury should know about oddities there, but I doubt the human brain is large enough to keep track of all the oddities of all the villages in Britain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I must admit that if I went there, it would either catch my attention in a good way or illicit some swearing depending on serious the situation got.

      I’m not sure what it is like elsewhere but when we learn to drive, we’re all told to drive as if the road is obstructed around every bend and if you couldn’t stop safely in the line of fight then you are going to fast.

      It is sometimes hard to live by that rule though… Some people find it harder than others.


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