Standing Stone: OS Grid Reference – SE 14236 45433
From Burley-in-Wharfedale train station, take the road uphill to the moors, turning right at the top, until you hit the bend where the stream and rocky valley of Coldstone Beck appears. Walk up the right-hand (west) side of the beck until the moorland levels out. Walk along the footpath above Stead Crag for a coupla hundred yards, keeping your eyes peeled for the largest upright stone in the heather about 50 yards into the moors. The other way is to get to Woofa Bank Enclosure and keep walking east through the heather for a coupla hundred yards till you see the tallest upright stone in the heather.
Archaeology & History
Apart from my own short entry about this site in The Old Stones of Elmet, we have no archaeological account of this standing stone, less than four feet tall and nearly as wide at its maximum, living in a landscape renowned for its excess of neolithic and Bronze Age remains. For those of us who love our megaliths it’s nothing special — but at the same time it’s worth looking at, if only because of the other mass of prehistoric remains close by. It received its name from the adjacent Coldstone Beck a short distance to the east, whose etymology isn’t clear.
Although we know that many of the sites on this ridge are prehistoric in origin (incredibly some of it still aint registered by those who get paid to do such things), we also need to take into consideration that this site may have been effected by the early industrialists who also made their mark on this section of the moor: they have scarred some cup-and-rings along here, destroyed other remains and left incisions on some rocks which could easily be mistaken as ancient. There is also the possibility that this upright and its adjacent stones were once part of a cairn. If evidence comes to light that the Cold Stone is more recent, we will of course amend this site entry.
A number of Cold Stones are found scattered across upland Britain, in the form of crags or solitary stones. In North Yorkshire and beyond, the name is sometimes a corruption of a Call Stone, i.e., a site where village matters were called out prior to the institution of a bell-man. The old Market Cross in Kendal village, also known as the Cold Stone was where village notices were proclaimed.
- Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Chieveley 2001.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian