Solar Stone, Askwith Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 17738 51003

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.567 (Boughey & Vickerman)
  2. TV Stone

Getting Here

Stone at cairn edge

From the scruffy Askwith Moor lay-by car-park, along Askwith Moor road, follow the fence north up along the roadside until you reach the gate on your right.  Go thru this and head due west into the moor, towards the small cluster of other carved stones (carvings 581, 582, etc), particularly the Small Rings Stone (carving 579).  Around here, you’ll notice a cluster of about 10 mounds in the heather, which seem to be prehistoric cairns, and this particular stone rest against the northwestern side of one of them, about 30 yards west of carving 579.  If you’re patient, you’ll find it! (if you fancy a look at all these on the moor, gimme a shout & I’ll take you straight to ’em – but you need to make a booking!)

Archaeology & History

This carving takes a bitta finding amidst the mass of deep heather and open moorland and is probably only gonna be of interest to real cup-and-ring fanatics.  But it’s the setting which makes it more intriguing — for me anyhow!

Trying to highlight the internal CnR
Solar Stone carving

Like other carvings on this moorland, we find it in direct association with a prehistoric tomb (though it aint been excavated), resting up against the edge of one.  However, it seems to have been moved from its original position and may, perhaps, have actually faced the other way at some time in the past.  We might never know.  However, some student in the recent past saw fit to name this small carving the ‘TV Stone’, thanks to the slightly cronky outline of an old television screen, with its small half-cup-and-ring near the bottom corner of the rock.  You can see where they were coming from!

Boughey & Vickerman (2003) made only a brief note of the stone, seeing only the cup-and-half-ring here; but there seems to be a faint cup-marking near the middle of their TV screen, along with faded evidence of an incomplete ring around it.  You can just about make it out in the poor photos we took of it. (sadly, we were without water when we visited it, which would have highlighted the additional cup-and-slight ring more clearly)

Close-up of cup-and-half-ring

We gave this stone the title ‘Solar Stone’* as it seems more appropriate and would certainly have more mythic relevance to the people who carved this.  The curious natural ring, or TV outline, running round most of the stone (with the faded cup-and-part-ring near its centre) may have been attached with more animistic attributes than us moderns tend to give things — children notwithstanding!  Circular forms in Nature have universal tendencies in more traditional cultures with such heavenly bodies as sun or moon, which might have been relevant here with the stones association with a tomb.

…Again, we might never know…


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.

* though did debate in somewhat primitive northern lingo: “Ugh – errr…solar? lunar? Ey? — Solar? Lunar?” uttering the same queried mantra numerous times between ourselves till we got tired and stuck with ‘solar’, as seems common these days (though I preferred ‘lunar’, it’s gotta be told!).

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian


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