Pitchfork Stone, Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 11496 46039

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no. 102 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no. 256 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Pitchfork Stone, Ilkley Moor
Pitchfork Stone, Ilkley Moor

Follow the directions for getting to the great Badger Stone carving.  From here, walk eastwards on the footpath for about 400 yards.  Hereabouts walk off the path and down the slope just a few yards and amble back and forth, checking the various stones. Keep doing this until you find it! (luckily, this stone’s marked on the OS-map)  There are several other reasonable carvings nearby on the same plain…the Green Gates Stone (or carving no.257) for one!

Archaeology & History

The Pitchfork Stone (after Hedges, 1986)
The Pitchfork Stone (after Hedges, 1986)

First found (or rather, recorded) by our old friend Stuart Feather and described in Bradford’s Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group’s Bulletin in 1961.  It’s status was all-but-secret until Hedges edited the Ilkley Archaeology Group’s Carved Rocks work in 1986.  The stone’s a simple design as the illustration shows: an urn-like vessel with a cup in the middle; but the attached groove at the bottom gave one anonymous chap (who dared to use the modern name of RombaldII!) the idea of it looking like a pitchfork – so the name sticks!

The enclosing “lines” that make up the pitchfork aspect of the carving are pretty enhanced (as we can see in the photograph here) and may, just may, be the result of a more recent petroglyphic artist.


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart, ‘Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings – Nos. 2 & 3, Ilkley Moor,’ in Bradford Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 6, 1961.
  3. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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