Middleton Moor Carving (448), North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 10931 51276

Getting Here

CR-448 general design

From the back of Moor End Farm on the south-side of Langbar village, follow the Long Ridge footpath up onto the moor. Walk along the path until its starts dipping down again, onto the moor proper and where another footpath crosses and goes down into the small valley of the Dryas Dike stream: follow it down, crossing the stream and up the small slope till you’re on the next level of ground.  Stop here and walk right, off-path and up the gentle slope towards a small fenced-off piece of moor.  About 30 yards before the fence, check out the rocks under your noses.  You’re damn close!

Archaeology & History

If you’re gonna come up this region, this is the carving you’ll most wanna check out.  It’s the most ornamented of all the cup-and-ring stones at the top of Delves Beck.  Comprising at least five full cup-and-rings and a number of single cups, carved on a roughly square flat rock, it was first found by Stuart Feather in the mid-1960s.  It sits amidst a cluster of many other carvings on the same ridge.  This (for me at least) is something of a curiosity, inasmuch as we have a seeming lack of other prehistoric remains in attendance.

Carving 448 with paint damage
…and again, with paint damage

On the other side of the Wharfe valley above Ilkley, aswell as where we find cup-and-ring clusters on the Aire valley side at Baildon and East Morton, a preponderance of burials tend to cluster around clusters of rock art; but this doesn’t, initially, seem evident here.  A possible cairn is located on the northern side of this small ridge, and there is distinct evidence of another cairn down the slope on the other side of the Dryas Dike stream (by stone 440) just 100 yards away, but that’s it.  A more thorough examination of this region is required to see if other burial remains were in evidence hereby in the past.  I have photos of seemingly cairn-scatter material, and ancient walling in is clear evidence on the northern side of Dryas, but much more work needs doing.  Obviously much of this would require full surface excavation, which means we’re gonna need quite a bit of work and effort to see if the rock-art/burial patterns found elsewhere are echoed here.  It’s likely, it’s gotta be said.

…On a slightly more disturbing note: when me and Dave were up here last week, this carving and several others with more ornate designs on this ridge (carvings 446, 453 and others) had been painted over in some black substance.  You can see this clearly in the photos we took, above.  Whoever did it appears (word gets to me that a arty-dood called Paul did it) has done so to highlight the carvings so they stand out very clearly.  If you wanna highlight carvings for better images or photos, there are much better ways of bringing out the designs than the methods you employed there: chalk for one!


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart W., “Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings: Nos 43 & 44, Middleton Moor,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 11:4, 1966.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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