Footsteps Stone, Ilkley, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 10382 47027

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.61 (Hedges 1986)
  2. Carving no.233 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Ilkley’s Footsteps Stone

Take the Wells Road from Ilkley centre up towards White Wells, bending to the right as you hit the edge of the moor. Keep along the road, past the old college building with its lake and turn right up Westwood Drive.  Keep going all the way up (it becomes Panorama Drive) till you hit the small woodland on your right. Where the woodland ends – stop!  Walk into the trees about 10-15 yards and you’ll see the large rocks ahead of you.  Brush back the vegetation and you’ll find it.

Archaeology & History

This large flat rock surface has a scattering of archetypal deep cup-markings, with other fainter marks scattered over most of its surface.  It sits right next to carving no.232, with its own equally large, naturally worn basins.

Faint cup&ring just visible

It was visited in the 1870s (along with the other Panorama Stones) and subsequently illustrated in the personal sketch-pad of Mr Thorton Dale (we’re hoping to have them scanned in due course for open Creative Commons use) who showed the basic cup-marks and shaped “lines” or footsteps that give this petroglyph its name.  Little more was said of it until Hedges (1986) described it in his survey, whose notes were subsequently repeated in Boughey & Vickerman’s (2003) work as being a “medium-sized flat-topped, upstanding rectangular rock.  Eight cups, six deep ovals, faint circles and lines on SW end.”  One of the most notable cup-and-rings can just be made out near the middle of the stone, on the left-side of one the footprints.

The depth of these incisions in this design strongly suggests that the carving was worked and reworked over many centuries, suggesting utilitarian usage of some kind, be it ceremonial or otherwise.  It’s also very unusual inasmuch as elongated footstep-like cuttings are scarcities, not just in Yorkshire petroglyphs, but in prehistoric carvings across Britain.  Check it out when you’re next walking up to the Swastika Stone.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, The Panorama Stones, Ilkley, TNA: Yorkshire 2012.
  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.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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