Cup-and-Ring Stone: OS Grid Reference – SE 14236 81675
Also Known as:
- WAP 3a & 3b (Brown & Brown)
From Masham take the Fearby Road & go through the village, onwards & past Healey village and less than a mile on where the road forks, bear to the right past and go along the gorgeous little-known vale of Colsterdale. Less than 2 miles on, walk up the notable track veering to your right that goes diagonally uphill and past the bottom of West Agra farm along the wallside till you reach the gate. Thru the gate, walk immediately uphill on your right following the walling for a coupla hundred yards until you reach another gate into the field on your right. You’ll see a cluster of large boulders in the first field, which you need to walk past and look at the large boulder up against the walling in the next field. You can’t miss it!
Archaeology & History
First mentioned — albeit briefly — in Brown’s (2008) work, this large bedrock stone, covered down its eastern side by a line of drystone walling, has a good scattering of cups and lines, mainly on its central and westerly side. A cluster of them were etched onto a natural rise near the middle of the rock, which itself has a long circuitous line running around its northern and western sides, which you can just see below centre in the photo (below left). Altogether on this side of the rock surface there appears to be some 56 cup-marks plus a number of long carved grooves curling in differing directions: some of these appear to have been Nature’s handiwork that were subsequently modified by human hands. It’s an impressive-looking petroglyph.
If we go over to the other side of the walling, we find more cup-markings. This discovery led Paul & Barbara Brown (2008) to classify the site as being two separate carved rocks — calling them 3a and 3b — thinking that the much smaller carved area on the other side of the wall, “may have originated from WAP 3a’s quarried southern section.” On this smaller section we find some 7 cup-markings with possible carved lines running off the edge of the stone and some running roughly parallel to the walling. Whatever the truth of the Browns’ assertion, this is a fine carving well worth looking at!
- Brown, Paul & Barbara, Prehistoric Rock Art in the Northern Dales, Tempus: Stroud 2008.
- Agra Wood Rock Art – more notes & images
Acknowledgements: For use of their photos, many thanks to Geoff Watson; and QDanT and his Teddy!
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian