Coldstone Beck Cairn (01), Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1421 4514

Getting Here

Coldstone Beck Cairn 1, looking north

From Burley train station walk up the road, turning right as you meet the moorland road.  Go on for a couple of hundred yards until you run parallel with the Coldstone Beck stream. Walk up here for about 800 yards until the full moorland begins to open up ahead of you. Walk up the slope on your right (west) about 40 yards above the first of the ruined grouse-butts, towards the scattered mass of rocks before the small crags.  You’ll have to scout about a bit when the heather’s deep, but it’s there, hiding away!

Archaeology & History

Cairn in centre, looking east towards Otley Chevin

Like many prehistoric tombs on this moorland, this one has never before catalogued.  Found about 20 yards north of Coldstone Beck Cairn 02, this larger and more complete megalithic structure, probably Bronze Age in nature, is of the traditional construction for cairns in this region: of small to medium-sized rocks that can be carried quite easily and deposited over a specified site, beneath which we’ll find either a ruined clay urn, or skeleton, or ashes.

The cairn measures just over 3½ yards in diameter east-west, and 3 yards north-south; it rises nearly a yard tall above ground level at the centre.  Much of the internal construction has been compacted through centuries of soil and vegetational growth, with only the outer rocks of the structure being slightly loose.  There are several other prehistoric cairns of the same size nearby, none of which have been recorded by the regional archaeologist round here.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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