Robin Hood’s Stone, Riddlesden, West Yorkshire

Legendary Rock:  OS Grid Reference – SE 06228 44470

Getting Here

Marked on the 1853 OS-map
Marked on the 1853 OS-map

Dead easy!  If you come from Silsden, take the Holden Road up onto the moor edge, all the way up the wooded hill.  As you reach the top, keep your eyes peeled for the stone in the slope to your left.  Otherwise, coming from Riddlesden, take the moor road upwards (to Silsden Road) as if you’re gonna visit Peggy Mawson’s Well, the Baldwin Stone or some of the Rivock carvings.  Keep on the road to where you see the microwave tower on Pinfold Hill to your right.  It’s just below it!

Archaeology & History

Robin Hood’s Stone from above

Flints have been found on the slopes above here, but records of this stone only go back — as far as I’ve found — to 1850 (this seems to typify records around the Keighley district, which only seems to record anything post-1500 AD).  In mid-Victorian times, plans were afoot to use the rock for building material, but local people objected and so the stone kept its position overlooking the valley.  There are a number of very defined ‘cups’ on the sloping face of the stone, but several (though not all) of these have all the likeness of the holes dug into the rock by climbers — though why climbers would even think to cut foot-holes into this easy rock beggars belief!


One of several sharp well-defined 'cups' on the rock
One of several sharp well-defined ‘cups’ on the rock

Not too surprisingly, folklore tells that this stone was one of the places where our old hero Robin Hood sheltered, when being chased by god-knows-who in one of his many exploits.  We’ve no way of proving this of course, but the sparse woodland remains above here also bear the hero’s name.  What seems to be a more modern piece of industrial folklore alleges that this stone was actually put here by workers in the Victorian times!  The boulder allegedly lived near Barden, Bolton Abbey, but was blocking construction work, so was uprooted and moved all the way to where it now sits!  In bygone times the rock was a local meeting place – perhaps around Beltane, in line with Robin Hood festivities.


  1. Gray, Johnnie, Through Airedale from Goole to Malham, Elliot Stock: London 1891.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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