Coronation Cairn carving (270), Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1226 4636

Getting Here

Walk up from Ilkley to the White Wells and keep following the footpath upwards, up the steps and onto the moor itself.  Once you’ve got to the top of the steps above the rocky valley, look straight up the slope in front of you and walk directly up the hill.  As you near the top, there’s a large cairn sat on the brow of the hill (known as the Coronation Cairn).  This ‘ere carving is just a few yards below it.

Archaeology & History

Very little has been written of this albeit innocuous carving — if indeed it is a carving!  Found on the large (though overgrown) flat stone just a few yards below the Victorian cairn, all that we appear to have here is a large cup-marking with a small arc pecked around its southern side and a distinct straight line running outwards from the cup (though the line doesn’t actually touch the cup-mark and does give the distinct impression of being pretty recent).  A sort of “cup-and-half-ring” with extended line is perhaps the best description!

Close-up of cup & lines
Carved Stone 270

It was first reported by some English Heritage archaeologist — which, as is generally acknowledged, isn’t necessarily a good pointer for authenticity when it comes to identifying prehistoric rock art.* But it’s certainly got a bit more about it than some “carvings” they’ve reported in the past!  Boughey & Vickerman (2003) made the following notes of this stone:

“”Low, flat gritstone rock quarried away on E side, fairly smooth but uneven.  One large cup and deep groove slightly curving round edge of cup.”

Which is about right.  I don’t really think too many of you will be into this unless you’re a real rock-art fanatic!


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
  2. Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

* A number of cup-marked stones identified by English Heritage archaeologists have transpired to be nothing more than natural erosion. 

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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