King Common Rough, Heptonstall, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SD 95303 30997

Also Known as:

  1. Black Scout carving

Getting Here

The carved rock in its setting

From Hebden Bridge, take the Heptonstall road and go past the legendary Slack Bottom (no lies!), until a few hundred yards further on at Slack Top, take the Widdop road on the right. Amble the long and winding road for a mile – mebbe a bit more – until the valley on your right runs out of trees! (on the OS-map this is called Hebden Dale, but it’s generally known as Hardcastle Crags [after the name of the rock outcrop halfway up]). Just about here there’s a track to your left, by the rather desolate bus-stop! If you hit the wibbly hair-pin bend by the Blake Dean scout-hut, you’ve gone too far. Walk along the track for a coupla hundred yards and take the first opportunity you have to cross the deep dike on your immediate left. Then just walk along the edge of the stream itself until you reach the large rocks another few hundred yards along.

Archaeology & History

As Richard Stroud’s photo above shows, this is a beautiful spot — when the weather is good anyway!  Much of the landscape around you is scattered with occult history and folklore: boggarts, witches, corpse routes, spirit animals, old stone crosses, standing stones and more! A damn good day out can be had in this area by any enthusiastic antiquarian or enquiring heathen.

Cups and faint rings

The carving we have here is an almost typical cup-and-ring stone, but it’s pretty isolated with no other ringed companions anywhere on these hills.  It was first described in David Shepherd’s (2003) survey of prehistoric remains of the region — although I was initially a little cautious about the veracity of David’s findings, as some cup-marked stones in his survey are probably natural and some “standing stones” he cites nearby are simply natural earthfast rocks.  But this particular carving seems man-made with large faint rings encircling at least one of the cup-marks, as you can see in Richard Stroud’s photo here.  In Mr Shepherd’s survey, he said of this site:

“A prominent double boulder.  On the top surface are two eroded cup marks by the south edge and one by the north edge.  Two eroded cup marks with rings are on the northwest segment.”


  1. Shepherd, David, “Prehistoric Activity in the Central South Pennines,” in Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society, new series, volume 11, 2003.

Acknowledgements:  With thanks to Richard Stroud for use of his photos in this site profile.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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