Hawksworth Shaw, Hawksworth Moor, West Yorkshire

Cairnfield:  OS Grid Reference – SE 143 439

Also Known as:

  1. Hawksworth Moor cairnfield (2)

Getting Here

Curious small ‘long cairn’ (photo © James Elkington)

It’s a bittova pain-in-the-arse locating this site unless you’re into walking off-path, through excessive dense heather  or burnt coarse ground.  You can either follow the directions to the Black Beck tomb, or set off from Horncliffe Circle and walk up parallel to the fencing for nearly 300 yards (275m).  From here, walk due east for nearly half a mile through the deep heather until you reach an overgrown track that keeps you eastwards towards a line of grouse butts abaat 275 yards (250m) on.   Naathen, walk on the north-side of this path-track and for a few yards and you’ll begin to see either small piles of stones, or heather-covered mounds.  Zig-zag about.  You’re in the middle of the cemetery!

Archaeology & History

This cairnfield, or burial ground, or necropolis (choose whichever term you prefer) is a bittova beauty!  Although some of the tombs here had been ‘officially’ noticed a few years back, the magnitude of it was understated to say the least.  On a visit to the place a few months ago in the middle of one fuckova downpour, James Elkington and I found not only the large Black Beck tomb, but scattered clusters of many more cairns.  But it wasn’t until a few weeks after that we got a longer time to check it over and, even then, I think the job was only half-done.  So this site profile is merely an overview of some of what we found there.  Along with the Black Beck tomb, we found more than thirty examples of prehistoric cairns—probably Bronze Age in nature—around the Hawksworth Shaw area near the middle of Hawksworth Moor, scattered around (seemingly) in no particular order.

…and another one…
Round cairn in foreground

Three types of cairns were identified in this large cairnfield.  The majority of them are of the standard circular form, averaging 3-4 yards across and rising to about two feet high.  They are of the same architectural form as those found in the Hawksworth Moor cairnfield 4-500 yards northwest of here (there is the possibility that the two of them are part of the same necropolis, but unless we can locate an unbroken continuity between the two groups, it’s best to present them as separate clusters).  When we looked at them a couple of weeks ago, most cairns of the ’round’ type were overgrown, albeit in low growth, as a couple of the photos here show.  The main cluster of the round cairns are just a few yards off the aforementioned track, but there are others scattered here and there at other points on this part of the moorland.  A number of these cairns seem to have have been damaged and robbed of stones to build a line of grouse butts close by.

One of the ‘long cairns’
Another ‘long cairn’ during an utter downpour!

The second type of cairn in the necropolis—close to the main cluster of round cairns—are curious small, long cairns.  Each one of them measures between 8-10 yards in length, are up to three yards across, and rise to a height of about one yard.  They are built of the usual mass of small stones typical of the huge number of other cairns on Rombalds Moor, but have been constructed in an elongated form, in contrast to the more usual circular ones.  Four of them are very close to each other with a fifth further away from this main group.  A sixth one appears to be under the heather 50-60 yards away to the northeast.  Unlike some of the nearby round cairns, this group looks as if it’s barely been touched by the hand of man, with only fallen scatters of stones around the outer edges of them.  Tis an interesting group…

Small cairn, 50 yards N of Black Beck cairn
Small cairn 100 yard SE of Black Beck tomb (photo © James Elkington)

The third architectural cairn-types are scattered unevenly across the necropolis and are characterized as smaller, mini-versions of the round cairns, i.e, small piles of stones between 1-2 yards across and and just one or two feet high.  Each of this type of cairn are more deeply embedded in the peat with more vegetational growth covering them due to their small size.  This makes them much more difficult to see in comparison to their larger  compatriots.  One example (at SE 1423 4404) can be seen in the photo, above left, some 50-60 yards north of the Black Beck tomb; with another, above right, some 100 yards away to the southeast.  There is the possibility they may be so-called ‘clearance cairns’, although I have some doubts about this and believe they are more likely to be individual graves…. but I could be wrong…

There’s little doubt that other tombs are hiding away in this area, waiting for fellow antiquarians to uncover them.  Equally probable is the existence of hut circles or similar living-quarters lost beneath the heather.  Two such sites have been found on recent ventures here: one a short distance west of the Black Beck tomb and another hiding away nearly 300 yards southwest, right beside the Black Beck.  The main thing lacking up here are cup-and-ring stones.  Apart from several uninspiring cup-marked rocks it seems few exist hereby; but there are, no doubt, some hiding away that have been hidden for millenia…

One final thing: the grid-reference given for this necropolis is based loosely on where some of the cairns can be found, but there are others whose positions lies slightly beyond that grid-ref, as you’ll find if you potter about.

Acknowledgements:  With huge thanks, as always, for James Elkington for use of his photos.  Also to the evolving megalith and landscape explorer Mackenzie Erichs; and to Linzi Mitchell, for additional input…

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Black Beck Tomb, Hawksworth Moor, West Yorkshire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – SE 14233 43987

Also Known as:

  1. Small Skirtful of Stones

Getting Here

Old tomb looking east (photo © James Elkington)

Probably the easiest way to find this is to use other sites as guides.  From the Great Skirtful of Stones tomb, get over the fencing and follow it eastwards for exactly 500m (238 yards) where you’ll meet a small footpath on your right that goes southeast up the small slope of Craven Hall Hill and onto the moorland.  Go along here for literally 0.2km (223 yards) and, just where the path bends slightly to the left, drop diagonally down the slope to where the moorland levels out close to the Craven Hall Hill (2) tumulus.  From here walk WSW onto the flat moorland for literally ⅓-km (0.21 miles; 365 yards) where you’ll find either a large rounded mass of stones, or a large heather-covered mound—depending on whether there’s been a burning.  Best o’ luck!

Archaeology & History

…and looking NE (photo © James Elkington)

Very troublesome to locate when the heather’s fully grown, this large prehistoric tomb was uncovered very recently as a result of extensive moorland fires.  It’s the largest such structure in a cluster of more than thirty cairns near the middle of Hawksworth Moor, many of which were rediscovered at the end of May, 2021.  Due south of the Great Skirtful of Stones, this smaller skirtful of stones measures some 45 feet across and is more than three feet high in parts.  Probably built in the Bronze Age, the tomb looks as if it’s been deliberately robbed at some time in the past, probably before the Victorians by the look of things—although only an excavation would tell us for sure.  Primarily, the cairn has been robbed from its centre outwards mainly on its western side, where you’ll also see a small and rather dodgy cup-marked stone.  Scattered into the surrounding peat are visible remains of where some of the loose stones have been cast.

Small hole in the middle
Northern edge of cairn

A possible alternative to this being simply a large cairn, is that it’s a much-disturbed ring cairn.  Some sections on the north and western edges give the impression that the mass of stones may be collapsed rubble walling.  There are also a couple of internal features that beneath the overgrowth of peat and compressed vegetation: one being a small circular piece of stonework that has either fallen in on itself, been dug into, or is the home of an animal; and a yard or two from this is what looks like another internal U-shaped stone structure – again, deeply encased by centuries of encroaching peat.  But I must emphasize that these features are far from certain and can only be proven one way or the other by an excavation.

Small Skirtful, looking S (photo © James Elkington)
Ring-cairn or just a cairn? (photo © James Elkington)

The site is well worth seeing, not only for its own merit, but also because of its place in a much wider prehistoric cemetery in the middle of Hawksworth Moor.  There are at least six small single cairns (which may be clearance cairns) scattering this area—the closest of which from here is some 20 yards to the north.  A more curious group of at least five small long cairns exist about 100 yards to the south; and below these is the largest cluster of standard tombs in the form of small round cairns.  A curious D-shaped hut circle structure can be found less than 100 yards to the northwest, and what seems to be remains of a larger deeply embedded enclosure exists beyond the long cairns.  Check ’em out!

AcknowledgementsWith huge thanks, as always, for James Elkington for use of his photos.  Also to the evolving megalith and landscape explorer Mackenzie Erichs; and to Linzi Mitchell, for additional stimuli…

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Black Beck, Hawksworth Moor, West Yorkshire

Hut Circle:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1415 4401

Getting Here

Hut circle, looking NW

Take the same directions as if you’re going to visit the Black Beck cairn.  From here, walk through the heather northwest for about 60 yards.  If the heather’s been cleared, you’ll see it low down, otherwise you’re pretty much screwed when it comes to finding this one!

Archaeology & History

Seemingly in isolation, this low-walled, D-shaped hut circle is presently the only the structure of its kind known to exist on this part of Hawksworth Moor; although to be honest we should expect there to be such structures in the area when we consider the size and proximity of the associated cairnfields immediately north and southeast of here.

Southern arc of walling
NW section of walling; Black Beck tomb to rear

As with most hut circles, it’s nowt special to look at in all honesty.  The south side of the structure is rubble walling typical of these structures, curving round as usual; but its more northern section straightens out, creating a D-shaped structure.  This  line of straight walling seems attached to another, outer parallel wall 3 feet away, creating its very outer edge.  The rubble walls themselves average three  feet across; whilst the hut circle measures 6-7 yards across.  We assume that it was constructed during the same period as the adjacent prehistoric necropolis.

Acknowledgements:  With huge thanks, as always, for James Elkington for use of his photos.  Also to the evolving megalith and landscape explorer Mackenzie Erichs; and to Linzi Mitchell, for additional input…

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Craven Hall Hill (2), Hawksworth Moor, West Yorkshire

Ring Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – SE 14574 44098

Getting Here

Site shown on 1851 map

Unless the heather’s been burnt back, this takes a bitta finding.  Direction-wise, the easiest is from the moorland road above Menston.  Go up Moor Lane and then turn right along Hillings Lane. 350 yards on is a dirt-track on your right marked as Public Footpath.  Walk up here for two-thirds of a mile—going past where the track goes left to the Shooting Range—to where the track splits.  Bear left and after 250 yards you reach a fence on your left where the moorland proper begins.  Follow this fence SW for 300 yards until it does a right angle turn.  Just before this, you’ll see a large worn overgrown trackway or path running north into the moorland.  Walk up here for nearly 100 yards and look around.  Best o’ luck!

Archaeology & History

Western arc of earth & stone

Shown on the 1851 OS-map adjacent to the long prehistoric trackway that runs past Roms Law, the Great Skirtful and other prehistoric sites, the antiquarian wanderings of Forrest & Grainge (1868) came past here and, although didn’t mention the Craven Hall cairns directly, they did write of “a group of barrows” hereabouts, and this may have been one of them.  James Wardell (1869)  gave an even more fleeting skip, only mentioning “pit dwellings” hereby.  A little closer to certainty was the literary attention Collyer & Turner’s (1885) pen gave, where they described, “near the adjoining old trackway, which runs from East to West, will be seen a small barrow”—but this could be either of the Craven Hill sites.  And the usually brilliant Harry Speight (1900) gave the place only more brevity….

Structurally similar to Roms Law nearly ¾-mile northwest of here, this little-known and much denuded prehistoric tomb has seen better days.  It is barely visible even when the heather’s low—and when we visited recently, the heather was indeed low but, as the photos here indicate, it’s troublesome to see.  It’s better, of course, with the naked eye.

Highlighted ring cairn, looking NE
Highlighted ring cairn, looking SE

It’s the most easterly cairn in the large Bronze Age necropolis (burial ground) on Hawksworth Moor.  Measuring some 12 yards across and roughly circular in form, the ring is comprised mainly of many small stones compacted with peat, creating a raised embankment barely two feet high above the heath and about a yard across on average.  A number of larger stones can be seen when you walk around the ring, but they don’t appear to have any uniformity in layout such as found at the more traditional stone circles.  However, only an excavation will tell us if there was ever any deliberate positioning of these larger stones.  It would also tell us if there was ever a burial or cremation here, but the interior of the ring has been dug out, seemingly a century or two ago…

References:

  1. Collyer, Robert & Turner, J.H., Ilkley: Ancient and Modern, William Walker: Otley 1885.
  2. Faull, M.L. & Moorhouse, S.A. (eds.), West Yorkshire: An Archaeological Guide to AD 1500 – volume 1, WYMCC: Wakefield 1981.
  3. Forrest, C. & Grainge, William, A Ramble on Rumbald’s Moor, among the Rocks, Idols and Altars of the Ancient Druids in the Spring of 1869, H. Kelly: Wakefield 1868.
  4. Speight, Harry, Upper Wharfedale, Elliott Stock: London 1900.
  5. Wardell, James, Historical Notes of Ilkley, Rombald’s Moor, Baildon Common, and other Matters of the British and Roman Periods, Joseph Dodgson: Leeds 1869.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

East Wall Stone, Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13924 45493

Getting Here

East wall stone on the right

Follow the directions to reach the impressive Woofa Bank prehistoric enclosure.  You need to find the walling that constitutes the enclosure itself and walk along to its eastern side where you’ll reach an ‘opening’, as if it may once have been an entrance at that side of the enclosure.  A reasonably large sloping rock is on one side of this ‘entrance’.  You can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

Unlike many of the other petroglyphs found within the Woofa Bank enclosure, the design on this one is faint — very faint indeed (much like the recently uncovered triple-ring petroglyph by the Thimble Stones).  Comprising simply of a small cluster of cup-marks, you’ll struggle to see this one — unlike its compatriot on the western wall of the enclosure.

Looking down on the rock
Some very faint cupmarks

It consists of a single cup-mark on the northern edge of the stone, whilst on the sloping southern part of the rock are a number of very faint cups, eroded by them there millenia of Nature’s wind and weathering.  One or two of the cups are just visible in good lighting, but what are almost certainly a few more can be seen when the rock is wet and in low daylight hours.  It’s a design that’s probably only of interest to the hardcore petroglyph fanatics, but without doubt this is yet another carving within this obviously important prehistoric enclosure.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Deer Track Stone, Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13858 45562

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.190 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.367 (Boughey & Vickerman)
Carving with Woofa Bank enclosure to rear

Getting Here

The easiest way to find this is to take the same directions to reach the Woofa Bank settlement.  Get your compass out and make sure that you’re at the northern edge of the settlement walling.  From here, walk about 60 yards northwest and keep your eyes peeled for a rock about 2 feet high, curved and elongated with its top surface above the heather.  You’ll find it.

Archaeology & History 

The name I’ve given to this stone is a conjectural one based entirely on comparative petroglyph designs elsewhere in the world.  Or to put it more simply: elsewhere in the world we find examples of prehistoric rock art showing animal tracks and rituals relating to hunting animals, and in the design of this petroglyph on Ilkley Moor I wondered if we might be looking at something similar.  Internationally respected anthropologists, archaeologists, geologists and rock art specialists such as Lawrence Loendorf (2008), Polly Schaafsma (1980), Dennis Slifer (1998) and many others show examples of animal tracks in the US and Mexico (examples exist throughout the world), and it’s not unlikely that some of the petroglyphs in the UK represent such things.  But, like I say, this particular carving may have nowt to do with such a thing and the idea is entirely conjectural on my part and is probably way off the mark.

Deer-print motif & cup

Located less than 60 yards (54m) northwest of the impressive Woof Bank enclosure, it’s possible that the first literary note of this was by Stuart Feather (1968) when he made note of five cup-and-ring marked rocks (which) have been revealed by erosion in 1968,” telling us that some of the motifs on the rocks included cups with and without rings, channels and eye-shaped marks (occuli)— the latter of which may relate to this stone.

A more definite description of the stone was made in John Hedges (1986) survey where he described it in that usual simplistic form, telling us: “Long rock, its surface on two levels, sloping N to S in heather.  Two large oval cups and one cup at N end.  One clear cup at S end.”

Hedges’ 1986 sketch

It is these two elongated cups that have the distinct appearance of deer tracks. (another animal with a similar footprint is the goat)  The cup-mark in front of them and the one at the back of the rock may be something relative to the animal.  But more important than this is to recognise that, in lots of cultures, animal tracks are represented in some petroglyphs.  That’s more important to think about when you look at British rock art, than the improbability of this design being such a thing…

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart, “West Yorkshire Archaeological Register – Ilkley (WR) Green Crag Slack,” in Yorkshire Archaeology Journal, volume 42, 1968.
  3. Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
  4. Loendorf, Lawrence L., Thunder and Herds – Rock Art of the High Plains, Left Coast: Walnut Creek 2008.
  5. Schaafsma, Polly, Indian Rock Art of the Southwest, University of New Mexico Press 1980.
  6. Slifer, Dennis, Signs of Life – Rock Art of the Upper Rio Grande, Ancient City: New Mexico 1998.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Lower Lanshaw Dam (02), Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 14223 44888

Getting Here

Along the moorland road between Cow & Calf and The Hermit pub, park up at the small wooded bit by the right-angle bend and cross over the Coldstone Beck.  Walk up onto the moor itself and stick to the path that runs roughly parallel with the slowly-drying stream, towards Lower Lanshaw Dam.  About 100 yards before it, walk left, into the heather, for about 50 yards.  You’re damn close!

Archaeology & History

Lower Lanshaw Dam carving
Close-up of cupmarks (by James Elkington)

This is another neolithic or Bronze Age carving I first came across during one of my weekly rambles across these hills as a child, and upon revisiting the place a few days ago with James Elkington, found it associated with nearby cairns and what looks to be the remains of prehistoric walling – none of which I noticed when I was a kid.  The petroglyph is a simple design, primarily consisting of two rows of three cup-marks: one row of three along the top or spine of the rock, and another one immediately beneath it, an inch or so below.  The topmost line of cups runs into a natural crack in the rock, which runs down the northwest edge of the stone.  A possible faint cup and partial ring emerges on the southeast side of the topmost row of cups, but this is difficult to make out.  On the sloping northwest face of the rock is another single cup-marking.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, Of Cups and Rings and Things, unpublished: Shipley 1981.

Acknowledgements:  Many thanks to James Elkington for use of his photo to illustrate this petroglyph

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian


Lower Lanshaw Dam (01), Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1416 4489

Getting Here

Take the same directions as if you’re visiting the Lanshaw Dam 2 petroglyph, then keep walking directly towards the Lanshaw Dam, 130 yards east.  Halfway between the two, closer to the footpath, look out for a stone of similar shape and dimensions to Lanshaw 2, just by a prehistoric cairn.  You’ll find it!

Archaeology & History

Cup-marked stone & cairn
Close-up of cup marking

As with a great number of petroglyphs in and around Yorkshire, this large single cup-marked rock is found in close association with a reasonably large prehistoric cairn (several others are close by), some 3 yards in diameter.  The cup-marking here is larger than yer average cup-mark on these moors, being four inches across. It can clearly be seen on the southern vertical face of the rock and doesn’t appear to have been recorded before.  On the whole, it’s nothing special to look at and is probably just one for the petroglyphic purists amongst you.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Coldstone Beck, Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 143 453

Getting Here

Coldstone carving, looking S
Coldstone carving, looking S

From Burley train station, take the road uphill onto the moor edge, turning right at the top. Go on for a few hundred yards and park up round the sharp bend. Walk up the steep-ish path on the right-hand side of the rocky valley of Coldstone Beck. Once your on the level with the moors, veer to your right (west) on the footpath parallel with the walling. Barely 50 yards along, watch in the grasses and heather to your left (south).  Keep looking and you’ll find it. (apologies for just a 6-figure grid-ref for this stone, but I paid little attention to its position when I was in walkabout mode)

Archaeology & History

A couple of hundred yards east of the Cold Stone monolith is another petroglyph that has evaded the diligent archaeologists of the region!  But it’s easily missed if the daylight conditions aren’t too good.  The most notable element on the stone is the large, possibly natural cup-marking on its top-right SW side.  It’s that which initially gets your attention and, due to its initial singularity on the rock, you’d turn away and shake your head, muttering that well known petroglyphic mantra of “dunno.”  But when the sun and air are clear or low on the horizon, other more faint etchings, almost lost in the worlds of erosion, catches the eye.

Carving faintly highlighted
Carving faintly highlighted
Looking straight down
Looking straight down

At least four cups are visible on the stone, perhaps six, mainly near its middle and faintly highlighted in one of the images here.  But there is also a pecked carved line here too, running across the shorter northern side of the stone.  Near the bottom of this line there is the faint impression of a carved ring, but whether this is a trick of the light or real, I won’t hazard to guess.  Not far away is the curiously shaped Chair Stone and its cup-marks. Others are in the vicinity.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian


Lichen Stone, Burley, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone: OS Grid Reference – SE 150 440

Archaeology & History

Lichen Stone cup-and-ring
Lichen Stone cup-and-ring

This is another of the many unrecorded cup-and-ring carvings in the region—and one in a small cluster hereby.  It was rediscovered several years ago on a Northern Antiquarian outing and, thankfully, remains in good condition.  Encrusted by layers of gorgeous lichens, deep into the rock, it has hence proven difficult to explore the entirity of the exact design without tearing off the old covering—which I’ve no intention of doing.

Lichen Stone, from above
Lichen Stone, from above

There are at least a dozen cup-markings etched onto the upper surface of this curved stone, with the majority of them clustering around its eastern side.  It seems there is only one single cup-mark on the western side of the rock, with the rest of them starting in the middle and then moving to its east.  But the curious features are the interlinking carved lines which you can see have been highlighted on the top and sides of the stone.  Some of them typically link-up with other cups, whilst a number of them have been carved along and down the vertical faces of the rock, primarily on the east and northeast edges.  At least seven of them have been done and they all reach down to ground-level.

Cups & carved lines
Cups & carved lines
Carved lines highlighted
Carved lines highlighted

It seemed obvious that a greater design was apparent on the rock, but the stone had been covered in an age of lichen (hence the name) which I didn’t want to disturb; and although no distinct cup-and-ring can be seen here, it seemed as if one such motif was hiding beneath the lichen cover.  But let’s leave the rock and lichen to their own quiet life and move on our way…

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian