A GOLD ring dating back to the Viking Age has been found in a South Lakeland stream.

The double-banded piece of jewellery, thought to have come from the tenth or eleventh century, was found by two farmers who were digging a drainage channel near a small stream on their land at Sedbergh.

"We dug and then there was a lot of rain and it unearthed it in the clay," said one of the farmers, who did not want to be named in case others tried to make similar findings on the land. "At first it just looked like a bottle top but when we picked it up it was heavy, with it being gold."

"It's amazing really. You think, who did it belong to? What were they doing here? I mean, it's nearly 1, 000 years old. Were they farmers or was it just somebody else walking across or hunting? It's quite interesting."

A report from the curator of the Prehistoric and European department of the British Museum said that the finding was similar to two gold Viking examples in the British Museum, which came from Saddleworth Moor and Ireland.

It also stated that the likely gold content of the ring was between 83 and 86 per cent silver.

At a treasure trove inquest held in Kendal, South Cumbria coroner Ian Smith said that the ring qualified as treasure as it was more than 300 years old and its precious metal content was more than 10 per cent.

Elsewhere, coins from the seventeenth and eighteenth century have been found in a South Lakeland town.

Eight silver post-medieval coins, worth 11 shillings and nine pence, were uncovered in Ambleside and have been deemed to be treasure at a treasure trove inquest held in Kendal.

A report from the British Museum found that the coins were official British coins of sterling standard ranging from the reign of Charles II in 1684 to George II in 1745.