Baildon Moor Carving (173), West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13844 40347

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.40 (Hedges)

Getting Here

The lovely ‘Carving 173’, Baildon Moor

From Baildon go up onto the moor, turning left to go round Baildon Hill and onto Eldwick, stopping at the car park at the top of the brow. Cross the road and walk along past carving 184, making sure you keep right sticking to the footpath that runs along the edge of the slope (not onto the flats & up to Baildon Hill itself). There are several carvings along here, but this one’s on the right-side of the widening path, another 300 yards past carving 184. Keep your eyes peeled – y’ can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

Carving 173, looking south

In my 1982 notebook I described this as “a very well-preserved cup-and-ring stone, with two cup-and-rings and seven other cup-marks. There seems to be faint remains of other lines carved by some of the cups.”  And the description is as apt today as it was back then – though neither of the surrounding ‘rings’ are complete.  However, as the photos here indicate, adjacent to the main cup-and-ring near the centre of the stone another incomplete cup-and-ring is evident, emerging from the natural crack that runs across it.  In the subsequent surveys of Hedges (1986) and Boughey & Vickerman (2003) they somehow only saw one cup-and-ring on this rock.  Easily done I suppose!  In certain light there’s what may have been an attempted second surrounding ring starting on one of the cups…but I’ll leave that for a later date…

CR-173 (after Hedges)
Slippery when wet!

There may also have been intent to carve another ring around one of the other cups on the northern half of the stone.  This possible fourth ring and its position on the stone potentiates solar symbolism (not summat I’m keen on, tbh), which fits into the position and nature of several other cup-and-rings in this region and which I’ll expand on and highlight a little later on.  It is important to remember that this petroglyph and its nearby relatives were once accompanied by a series of tumuli, or prehistoric burial mounds: a feature that is not uncommon in this part of the world.  Well worth having a look at!

…to be continued…


  1. Bennett, Paul, Megalithic Ramblings between Ilkley and Baildon, unpublished: Shipley 1982.
  2. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  3. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
  4. Morris, Ronald W.B., “The Prehistoric Rock Art of Great Britain: A Survey of All Sites Bearing Motifs more Complex than Simple Cup-marks,” in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, volume 55, 1989.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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