Blue Scar Settlement, Arncliffe, North Yorkshire

Settlement:  OS Grid Reference – SD 9319 7102

Getting Here

Pretty easy really.  From Arncliffe village, walk up the Monk’s Road footpath, heading for the rocky mass immediately south.  Once you get onto the moor edge, veer straight up to your right and keep walking till you hit the rocks.  Look around!

Archaeology & History

Drawing of main part of the settlement (Raistrick 1929)
Drawing of main part of the settlement (Raistrick 1929)

Described by Miss D. Charlesworth at one of the annual meetings of the Archaeological Society in July 1968, this ‘settlement’ is found immediately south of Arncliffe village, literally 1000 feet up on the hillside and has a field system attached to it.  When Charlesworth described this place, it had not been excavated, though her description of the place very much echoed those of Raistrick & Chapman (1929) nearly forty years earlier.  She wrote:

“It faces north and east over the Skirfare valley, sheltered by the bulk of Parson’s Pulpit. The most interesting feature is the rectangular enclosure west of the sunken road. The walls are built of limestone some 5ft wide at the base and standing 2-3ft (tall). The huts are grouped round a courtyard at the south-eastern end and have a large stockyard attached to them. Of the 14 huts, only two are circular (those in the northwest corner), and one on the east side is approximately a circle. The remainder are rectangular, approximately 30 by 12ft.”

Although the sites is generally ascribed as Iron Age to Romano-British in date, it seems evident that these buildings were used in much later centuries — perhaps until late medieval periods.  Other remains of similar size and stature can be found scattered on the hills near here (I’ll add them on TNA at sometime in the future).


  1. Charlesworth, D., ‘Iron Age Settlements and Field Systems,’ in Proceedings of the Archaeological Journal, 125: 1968.
  2. Raistrick, Arthur & Chapman, S.E., ‘The Lynchet Groups of Upper Wharfedale, Yorkshire,’ in Antiquity, volume 3, 1929.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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