Green Crag Top Cairns, Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cairns:  OS Grid Reference – SE 131 458

Larger of the Green Crag Top cairns – with blizzard in background!

Getting Here

Follow directions for getting to the Haystack Rock.  Once here, walk dead straight south onto the moor and go up the slope you see a few hundred yards ahead of you.  Once you’re at the top of the slope, a few yards onto the ridge itself, look around!  If there’s deep heather growth when you arrive, you’ve no chance!

Archaeology & History

To my limited knowledge, it appears there’s no previous references to the cairns here.  We found at least two of them, with a probable third not far away; but we were lucky inasmuch that the heather had all been burnt away, allowing a clearer inspection of the sites.  The larger of the two is nearly four yards across and nearly a yard high.  It’s somewhat larger than the majority of what are thought to be single-person cairns along Green Crag Slack ridge, down the slope.

Much denuded cairn
Much denuded cairn

A smaller cairn less than 100 yards west on the same ridge (near the large boulder with a couple of cup-markings on top) looks as if it was robbed of stone sometime in the past.  About six-feet across, this one is more typical of the cairns found on the Ridge below.

There are what seems to be other remains along this ridge, including a very distinct thin, six-foot-long stone, which looks very much as if it could have stood upright in the not-too-distant past.  We could do with more heather-burning on this part of the moor to help us out!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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