Ellers Wood (618), Washburn Valley, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Carving:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1901 5101

Getting Here

Sketch of CR-618, c.1990

Follow the same directions to reach the other Ellers Woods carvings, staying on the western-side of the river close to where it meets with Snowden Beck, just north of the footpath. Check it out in winter and early Spring — any later in the year and it might be a little overgrown.

Archaeology & History

A truly lovely, lichen enriched carved rock in a lovely little part of the Fewston valley.  The place has a distinct genius loci that’s very different from its carved rock companions on the moorland hills a short distance away.  As I’ve said elsewhere: the surroundings of trees and richer fertile growth is something we must remember to ascribe to these carvings when we encounter them, as the landscape in places such as Ellers Wood is much closer to the scattered forested landscape that profused when first these stones were inscribed.

Section of CR-618

First described by Cowling & Hartley in 1937, it was later included in Cowling’s (1946) more extensive prehistoric survey of mid-Wharfedale.  There may be as many as 38 cup-markings cut onto the rock here, along with several lines and grooves.  A meditative dreaming site indeed…


  1. Boughey, K.J.S. & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Exeter 2003.
  2. Cowling, E.T., ‘A Classification of West Yorkshire Cup and Ring Stones,’ in Yorks. Arch. Journal 1940.
  3. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  4. Cowling, E.T. & Hartley, C.A., ‘Cup and Ring Markings to the North of Otley,’ in Yorks. Arch. Journal 33, 1937.
  5. Grainge, William, The History and Topography of the Forest of Knareborough, J.R. Smith: London 1871.
  6. Grainge, William, History and Topography of the Townships of Little Timble, Great Timble and the Hamlet of Snowden, William Walker: Otley 1895

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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