Middleton Moor Carving (482), North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 11600 51455

Also Known as:

  1. Owl Carving

Getting Here

Multiple-ringed carving (© Richard Stroud)
Multiple-ringed carving (© Richard Stroud)

Best approached from the south, up Hardings Lane, then where its bends and the track of Parks Lane goes onto the moor, follow it.  Onto the moor, keep on the track as it follows the walling until you reach the gate on your right.  From here you’re close: head into the grasses and heather (left) not far off the western edge of the footpath at the eastern end of Dryas Dike.  Look around!

Archaeology & History

This lovely looking carving “quite near to the footpath and enclosed fields above March Ghyll reservoir,” was first described by Stuart Feather. (1965)  It can be found on a small flat stone and is easily obscured if the grasses are long – but it’s worth searching for.  It’s an archetypal cup-and-ring stone, consisting of a cup-and-five rings, a cup-and-ring, and a cup-and-three rings — though they are rather faint and can be missed in bad light.  As with other carvings, it’s best to splash water over it (as me & Richard did in the photo above) so you can see it a bit clearer.  Feather (1965) told us:

“The symbols are very fine, consisting of three cup-and-rings.  One of them, a quadruple, concentrically-circled cup with part of a fifth, unfinished ring.  The cup is very shallow, 1 inch across, and the circles…½ inch wide and shallow, with an overall diameter of 8 inch for the four circles; 9 inch with the other unfinished section.  The single cup-and-ring has a cup ¾-inch in diameter, ½-inch deep and a 4-inch diameter ring somewhat broader than the other rings on the rock and abutting on the north side against a slightly raised part of the rock surface.”

Sidney Jackson’s drawing
Boughey & Vickerman’s drawing

The triple-ringed cup is of similar dimensions to the larger example, with the cup being 1½ inch across and deep, with the circles being 7 to 7½-inch across.

About a half-mile northeast of here is the old Langbar Stone where I got the distinct impression that the same person was responsible for both of these carvings.  God knows why!


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart, ‘Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings: No.32-3, Middleton Moor,’ in the Cartwright Hall Archaeology group Bulletin, February 1965.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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