Brown Law (310), Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13191 46512

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.149 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.310 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Three cup-marks gently sleep

Get to the Cow & Calf Rocks, go up across the car-park as if you’re gonna go up onto the moor and walk up the steep footpath uphill to the left of the crags.  Once you get level with the crags, take the footpath bending left and walk along here for 110 yards, keeping your eyes peeled for the low smooth rock on the right of the footpath, just where another path meets it. You’ll find it.

Archaeology & History

Close-up, from above

This quiet little stone has seen better days.  Nearly destroyed a few weeks ago when the Emmerdale Farm film-crew churned up sections of the moor right over the side of this carving—but thankfully it still remains intact (you or I would have been prosecuted for such damage).* The carving is a simple one in graphic terms, comprising simply of three cup-markings, all on the southern side of the rock.  Close to several other petroglyphs (the Wray Stone is 78 yards north and several other more ornate carvings are close by), the carving was first described in the Hedges (1986) survey as a “small, low smooth grit rock sloping slightly NW to SE in crowberry, bilberry, grass and bracken. Three clear cups.”  But it has to be said, one of them is fading fast.  Let’s hope this humble little carving doesn’t fall prey to those who are gradually turning our moorlands into a park.


  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.
* As the footpaths on Ilkley Moor continue to be widened and paved by those who reckon they like these moors, it’s obvious that more prehistoric sites up here are gonna get damaged. It’s difficult to see what the local archaeologist or Natural England are doing to ensure that these stupid environmentally damaging schemes do not encroach on the mass of rich prehistoric sites on the moors, most of which have never been adequately assessed (the philosophy of “if we don’t know it’s there, it doesn’t matter if we destroy it” seems evident in some of those working for the local council). Before any work or structures are dug on Ilkley Moor, an archaeological assessment is, I believe, supposed to take place – but I think this ‘work’ consists merely of looking at their own limited records, without any detailed fieldwork being undertaken. But as we know from research undertaken by rock art students at TNA, CSI and elsewhere, there are still many cup-and-ring stones, cairns and archaeological features constantly being discovered on these moors that are not in the record books.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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