Take the Heptonstall road up from Hebden Bridge, going round the village (not into it) and head through Slack and onto Colden. Just as the road begins to go downhill to Colden, note the small single-track road on your right called Edge Road. Go on here for a good mile until it becomes a dirt-track and there, on your left, is the half-run-down old farmhouse called New Edge. Just yards past it, off to the right by the trackside, you’ll see this large copper-coloured stone basin oozing with the same-coloured liquid.
Archaeology & History
This is one of what Thomas Short (1724) called “the ten thousand chalybeats”, or iron-bearing springs, inhabiting the Yorkshire uplands — but he didn’t include this site in his huge survey. But it’s a beauty amongst chalybeates, as a visit here clearly shows! The well is one of two found on either side of the old building known as New Edge (as contrasted with Old Edge, a little further along the lane), and its waters trickle gently from the old stone trough.
The waters are undoubtedly enriched with large amounts of iron, as the photo here shows, giving the waters clear medicinal value. In tasting them, not only do the waters give you that copper-coloured hue, but you can clearly taste the minerals in the water. As with other iron-bearing springs, the water from the New Edge spring is good for the blood, good for anæmia, loss of energy and a low immune system.
Short, Thomas, The Natural, Experimental and Medicinal History of the Mineral Waters of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, privately printed: London 1734.
From Todmorden go east on the A646 for less than a mile and take the Cross Stone road on your left. Keep going all the way up till you hit the moorland edge road, where you’ll see the Great Rock (a massive boulder right by the roadside). Then go down Eastwood Lane, past the house where the lane swings right and here you’ll see a stile in the wall on the right (just after the next lane on your left). Walk along this path, over the stiles in the walling until you reach a wooden stile. The carving is hereby!
Archaeology & History
This carving was described just once by Mr J.A. Heginbottom (1979) as, “a small cup-marked boulder in a stile 100 metres east of Bent Head, Todmorden.” A small, innocuous stone used in the drystone walling, it gives the distinct impression of being one of the many ‘portable’ cup-marked stones typical of those found in prehistoric cairns and other tombs — but the record-books speak of no such remains here; and various ambles about in search of such a potential tomb have drawn a blank. Nevertheless, the cup-markings here are pretty obvious once you see ’em (assuming the daylight aint overcast, which can hide the carvings sometimes). About 2 feet long, about a foot wide and a foot high, this cup-marked portable is similar in size and form to the Nine Stones cup-marking, Derbyshire, recently found in walling very close to where an old tomb was recorded (though the Derbyshire one has only 2-3 cups). Certainly worth a look if you’re in the area.
Heginbottom, J.A., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Upper Calderdale and the Surrounding Area, YAS: Leeds 1979.