Cairn: OS Grid Reference – SD 96138 42296
Best way to get up here is to start from the old hall and haunted bridge at Wycoller. From here walk upstream, on the footpath on the south side. It wibbles about following the waters for a half-mile until the moors open up when you reach an old stile, past which is another bridge over the stream. Walk past this (keep on the same side) for another 50 yards, then walk up the hillside where, if the vegetation is low, you can just see a decent-sized collection of rocks. This is the old cairn.
Archaeology & History
I don’t think the site is in the Lancashire archaeological register, but it’s described in John Bentley’s fine local history work, Portrait of Wycoller from 1975. He told that,
“a suspected Bronze Age burial mound at Brink Ends in Wycoller was excavated by Stanley Cookson in 1971 and 1972. Although no interment was discovered, the remains of a fire was found in the centre of the mound with half-burnt twigs and coal.”
It’s not unlike some of the giant cairns on Ilkley Moor and elsewhere, though not as big, nor as high, being only about 22-24 feet across. Some of the stones have evidently been taken for use in the local walling, and the ‘cairn’ is in a pretty abject state. It’s a bittova odd spot to be honest. Not 100% sure what to make of it – though flints, arrowheads and similar implements have been found on the moors here close by. Bentley (1975) also told how “Stanley Cookson had strong suspicions that an Iron Age settlement existed in this area, but only time and further exploration will tell.” A sentiment I tend to agree with. And on our first and only visit here — during one helluvan awesome downpour all day — what seemed like an Iron Age hut circle was noted a few hundred yards to the south; though we got so saturated that day that we decided to turn for home soon after looking at this cairn.
Cookson and Hindle (1985) later described this site as a “middle Bronze Age burial cairn of 1400 to 900 BC, adding:
“The 34ft diameter inner circle was excavated during 1956-58 disclosing flints, a hearth with an abundance of charcoal, and four pieces of coal on a round, heavily burnt stone.”
More visits to these moors to check for other archaeological sites are needed in the near future to see what else might be on these unexplored moors.
- Bentley, John, Portrait of Wycoller, Nelson Local History Society 1975.
- Cookson, Stanley & Hindle, Herbert, Wycoller Country Park, H.Hindle: Colne 1985.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian