Piper’s Crag Stone, Addingham Moorside, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 08497 47097

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.44 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.212 (Boughey & Vickerman)
  3. Piper’s Stone

Getting Here

Piper Stone (photo by James Elkington)

Follow the directions to reach our superb Swastika Stone from Ilkley, visible due to the iron railing that surround and protect the carving on the cliff edge.  From here, keep walking west along the Millenium Way footpath, over the stile of the first wall, then the second wall—six in all—for ⅔-mile (1km), where you’ll see another small crag of rocks on your right, just yards from the footpath.  You’re damn close!

Archaeology & History

When the great J. Romilly Allen (1882) visited the Ilkley petroglyphs in 1878, the Piper Stone was one that he wandered over to see—and he had this to say of it:

“At the edge of Piper’s Crag is a horizontal rock-surface, and on a portion of it, measuring 5ft by 7ft, are carved a series of fifteen cups varying in diameter from 2 to 3 ins.  Of these, one is surrounded by a single ring, four by a double ring, and one by a triple ring.”

Hedges 1986 sketch
Cowling’s 1940 sketch

This type of description, whilst accurate on the whole, rarely does justice to the carving.  It was echoed more than 100 years later in John Hedges’ (1986) survey, when he described the large rock jutting out to possess merely, “a complicated design of cups, rings and grooves.”  When Boughey & Vickerman (2003) did their follow-up survey, they added nothing more.

In an attempt to give some sort of meaning to the carving (and many others), the late great Eric Cowling (1940; 1946) placed it within Henri Breuil’s (1934) classification system, which assigns all carvings different degrees of complexity and form, from Classes 1-4.  The Piper Stone entered Breuil’s Class 3A, being one “with deeply cut and smoothed down grooves.” Whilst this may sound good on the surface, in truth such classifications are utterly meaningless outside of the tables and graphs of statisticians and the boring.  They give the appearance of quantitative research, but they have as much bearing on the nature of the carvings as an energy dowser healing the place with crystals.

Piper Stone (photo by Josh Millgate)

In the flesh, in the real world—so to speak—from the Piper Stone we are looking, not just at the carving, but its place in the landscape: an ingredient that more and more emerging archaeologists are recognizing has a synergistic relationship with some petroglyphs.  And here we have an impressive landscape that reaches out ahead of us for many miles.  We look primarily to the north: the Land of the Dead in many traditional northern cultures.  But our panorama here is 180º, with east and west horizons having the potential for measuring equinoctial periods in the cycle of the year.  But in truth this is sheer speculation.

It’s a worthwhile carving to see, both for its views and its excess of non-linearity.  In its form, Rorscharch impressions of early humans emerge; the usual solar and lunar symbols can be seen; star systems seem apparent; maps or settlement ground-plans could be there.  We know that somewhere within it is the animistic ‘spirit’ of the rock itself, but the forms it exalts are, once again, all but lost on us modern folk…


  1. Allen, J. Romilly, “Notice of Sculptured Rocks near Ilkley,” in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, volume 38, 1882.
  2. Allen, J. Romilly, “Cup and Ring Sculptures on Ilkley Moor,” in The Reliquary and Illustrated Archaeologist, volume 2, 1896.
  3. Anonymous, Walks around Cup and Ring Stones, TIC: Ilkley n.d. (c.1990).
  4. Baildon, W. Paley, “Cup and Ring Carvings: Some Remarks on their Classification and a New Suggestion as to their Origin and Meaning,” in Archaeologia, volume 61, 1909.
  5. Bennett, Paul, “Cup-and-Ring Art”, in Towards 2012, volume 4, 1998.
  6. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
  7. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  8. Breuil, Henri, “Presidential Address for 1934,” in Proceedings Prehistoric Society East Anglia, 7:3, 1934.
  9. Collyer, Robert & Turner, J.H., Ilkley: Ancient and Modern, William Walker: Otley 1885.
  10. Cowling, E.T., ‘A Classification of West Yorkshire Cup and Ring Stones,’ in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 1940.
  11. Cowling, E.T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  12. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

Acknowledgements:  Huge thanks to Josh Millgate and James Elkington for use of their photos in this site profile.  Cheers guys. 🙂

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Skyreholme Carving (406), Appletreewick, North Yorkshire

Cup-marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0740 6254

Getting Here

Skyreholme 406

Skyreholme 406 carving

Along the B6265 Pateley Bridge-Grassington road, roughly halfway between Stump Cross Caverns and the turn to Skyeholme and Applecross (New Lane) is a dirt-track on your right-hand side called Black Hill Road. Walk down here for a few hundred yards till y’ reach the gate on the right. A track goes downhill to the psilocybin-rich pastures of Nussey Green. Several hundred yards down, to the right-hand side of the track, we find this and its several companions. Look around!

Archaeology & History

Skyreholme-406 carving

Sketch showing cups

Just a few yards away from the Skyrehome Carving-404, this very basic petroglyph was rediscovered by Stuart Feather (1969) during one his many forays in this area.  Although the stone has what initially seems to be a number cup-marks on it, it seems only two of them are man-made. The rock art students Boughey & Vickerman (2003) think there may be up to four of them.


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart, “Appletreewick, W.R.: Black Hill,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 42, part 167, 1969.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Skyreholme Carving (405), Appletreewick, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 07395 62382

Getting Here

Skyreholme 405 Carving

Skyreholme 405 Carving

Going down (south) off the B6265 Black Hill Road towards Skyreholme, turn right and go all round the hill ahead of you, but instead of looking to the right (where other carvings, described elsewhere, are found), turn left where the collapsed entrance to a mine-shaft is visible about 50 yards up the hill on the left. Walk up here, keeping to the right side of the collapsed mine, till you reach this rock.

Archaeology & History

Only for the purist petroglyph fanatics amongst you, the rock art students Boughey & Vickerman (2003) allege there to be four cup-markings here—and debatable ones at that—but we could really only make out the topmost cup, shown in the picture and an elongated one (which they think may have been two cups merged into one).  A faint “X” is also carved on the stone, possibly from the mining days.


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian 

Arncliffe, Littondale, North Yorkshire

‘Carved Stone’:  OS Grid Reference – SD 93 72

Archaeology & History

The Arncliffe Carving

The Arncliffe Carving

This is a frustrating site entry.  Not only do we not know where it is, this carving is not listed in any of the modern books on British petroglyphs, yet it was described and referenced by the famous archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes following its discovery more than 80 years ago.  After a brief mention of the carving in Frank Elgee’s (1933) Archaeology of Yorkshire, an article describing the carving was penned in the journal Man, from which I draw the only information available. It appears to have been found in the early 1930s (no date or discoverer is cited), but has a couple of peculiarities which may bring the authenticity of the stone into question.  Mrs Hawkes (1934) told that the carved stone was,

“found in the bed of a moorland beck in the village of Arncliffe, Littondale, West Riding of Yorkshire.  It is of buff-coloured limestone measuring 21 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches in thickness; the decorated surface is almost flat.  The curvilinear pattern is executed in regular incisions about 4mm wide and 3mm deep; portions of it have been obliterated by water actions and, as is illustrated in the illustration, at one end the surface has broken away altogether.  The whole stone has been much battered and may well be only a fragment of a much larger one.  The state of preservation suggested that it had been in the stream for a considerable period; it is therefore probable that it was washed down from the open moorland above Arncliffe.  In the original (carving), the design is more coherent than it here appears owing to the fact that in the water-worn portions faint lines are visible to the eye which cannot be shown on a tracing.

“Mr W.J. Hemp, who has kindly examined the Arncliffe tracing, identifies the style of the design with the ‘entrail’ pattern of the well-known Pattern Stone from the chambered cairn of Bryn Celli Ddu in Anglesey…

“The technique of the Arncliffe tracing is comparable with the simple incisions which form the oldest of the four techniques recognizable in the Irish megalithic tumuli, where its early date is indicated by the fact that some examples are demonstrably older than the construction of the tumuli in which they occur…

“Mr Frank Elgee, who has also been good enough to comment on the Arncliffe tracing, cannot suggest immediate comparisons from this neighbouring group (around Ilkley, PB), but such evidence as there is he considers to be against assigning a date earlier than the MIddle Bronze Age.”

The late great Eric Cowling also mentioned the stone in his prehistoric survey of the mid-Pennines, but added no further details of his own and seems to have just copied what we have just read.

The fact that the ‘carving’ was found in a stream-bed may mean that the markings on the stone were due to natural erosion; and the fact that the rock was limestone may give added weight to this idea.  However, the fact that Mrs Hawkes, Frank Elgee and W.J. Hemp thought the carving to be authentic cannot be overlooked.  The area is also rich in prehistoric remains (see Douky BottomDewbottoms, Yockenthwaite, Blue Scar, etc)  The design itself is an odd one and has none of the traditional hallmarks consistent with neolithic and Bronze Age cup-and-ring stones, but seems more reminiscent of much earlier mesolithic and palaeolithic images of carved animals and dancing human figures.

If anyone knows more about this site, particularly its whereabouts (perhaps in private possession or hiding in some museum box, where increasing numbers of cup-and-rings are wrongfully kept), or whether the ‘carving’ has been disregarded as little more than natural weathering, it would be good to know for certain.


  1. Cowling, E.T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  2. Elgee, Frank & Harriet, The Archaeology of Yorkshire, Methuen: London 1933.
  3. Hawkes, Jacquetta, “A Prehistoric Carved Stone in Littondale,” in Man, volume 34, 1934.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Gatepost Stone, Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 09497 46961

Getting Here

Cup-and-rings on gatepost (photo credit, Dave Whittaker)

From Ilkley, follow the same directions as if you’re going up to the superb Swastika Stone.  Keep walking on the footpath, west, for 65 yards (59m), then walk into the heather on your left.  Barely 5 yards in, you’ll see this fallen standing stone or gatepost.

Archaeology & History

First described in one of Stuart Feather’s (1964) old rambles, I first saw this stone in my late-teens and was as puzzled by it then as I am today.  Upon an obviously worked stone that may once have stood upright (or was intended to do), two faint and incomplete cup-and-rings were carved – but when exactly?  If this stone was cut from a larger rock into its present shape, were the petroglyphs already on it, or were they done when the ‘gatepost’ was created?

It was first described in one of Stuart Feather’s (1964) rambles up here and later included in Hedges’ (1986) survey, where he told it to be a, “recumbent gatepost with one cup with almost complete ring and one cup with vestigial ring.”  Boughey & Vickerman’s (2003) survey added little more.  And when a group calling itself Carved Stones Investigation got itself about £250,000 to “investigate” the Ilkley petroglyphs, I was hoping that they could have at least turned this stone over to see if other carvings were on the stone – but they just revisited all those found by others, made a new list, and took the money to be honest (no website and no book – as they should’ve done).  Thankfully, local folk are having a look at this and others and doing the work they should have.  Check it out when you’re next up at the Swastika.


  1. Bennett, Paul, Megalithic Ramblings between Ilkley and Baildon, unpublished: Shipley 1982.
  2. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  3. Feather, Stuart, “Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings: no.26, 27, 28 – Black Pots, High Moor, Silsden, near Keighley,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 9:10, 1964.
  4. Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

AcknowledgementsHuge thanks to Dave Whittaker for the photo.  Good luck with the plans fellas.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian 

Kinloch Lodge, Tongue, Sutherland

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NC 56201 52713

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 5356
  2. Lochan Hakel A (Gourlay 1996)

Getting Here

Kinloch Lodge carving (by Donna Murray)

Whether you take the A836 or A838 into Tongue (through truly beautiful wilderness), make sure you go into the village itself—and then keep going, south, along the tiny country road for 3 miles.  Hereby, keep your eyes peeled for Lochan na Cuilce on your right; keep going past here, into and through the old trees where you’ll then see Lochan Hakel on your left.  Keep going past here until your reach the next small copse on your right.  Stop here.  A small pool is yards into the trees and here you’ll see a single stone between that and the roadside.  You can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

Close-up of some cups (by Donna Murray)

An apparently isolated cup-marked stone, some 3 feet by 5 feet, that was first described in Morrison’s (1883) meanderings amidst Sutherland’s awesome wilderness.  It’s quite plain compared to Lochan Hakel 2 and many other carvings, simply consisting of 18 cups of various sizes, mainly on the eastern side of the rock.  Sarah MacLean pointed out that a line running along the length of the stone seemed, in parts, to have been artificially enhanced by the hand of man, or woman.  I have to agree with her.

The Royal Commission (1911) lads included this petroglyph in their superb survey of Sutherland, telling:

“On the W. side of the road to Kinloch, about ½ m. N of the bridge over the Kinloch River (Amhainn Ceann Locha), and on the N edge of a gravel pit close to the road, is a large earthfast boulder, 5′ in length as far as exposed, and 3′ 10″ in breadth, showing on its upper surface eighteen cup-marks of various depths, of which the most distinct is towards the N end of the stone, measuring about 3″ in diameter and 1″ in depth.  The whole length of the stone is not visible, but the markings do not seem to extend to the portion covered…”

Carving in situ (by Donna Murray)
by Kevin o’ Reilly

Simulacra lovers will love the form of this stone in relation to the background of the mountains, as its shape is echoed in that of the rising hills several miles to the south.  …Of course, the depersonalizing ones amongst you lacking an understanding of animism would reject any such association due to your projection of disbelief.  However—and equally—as we lack any ethnographic data on the carving we must also assume some caution…

A fascinating site – and one which is likely to have neighbours hidden in the surrounding moorlands…


  1. Gourlay, Robert, Sutherland: An Archaeological Guide, Birlinn: Edinburgh 1996.
  2. Michell, John, Simulacra, Thames & Hudson: London 1979.
  3. Morrison, Hew, Tourist’s Guide to Sutherland and Caithness, D.H. Edwards: Brechin 1883.
  4. Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Second report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Sutherland, HMSO: Edinburgh 1911.

Acknowledgments:  Huge thanks to Donna Murray for use of her photos in this site profile (aswell as for putting up with me whilst in the area); and also to Sarah MacLean for taking us to the carving in the first place. Many many thanks indeed.  See y’ again soon, hopefully!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Lochan Hakel (01), Tongue, Sutherland

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NC 56988 52656 

Getting Here

Lochan Hakel’s cup & ring (photo by Sarah MacLean)

Whether you take the A836 or A838 into Tongue (through truly beautiful wilderness), make sure you go into the village itself—and then keep going, south, along the tiny country road.  Nearly 2½ miles along, note the small loch of Lochan na Cuilce on your right.  A few hundred yards past this, on the other side of the road (barely visible at first) is Lochan Hakel.  Walk around to the south-side of the loch and, across from where the small island of Grianan lives, you’ll see this large rounded boulder by the loch-side.

Archaeology & History

Stuck in a veritably stunning middle-o’-nowhere below the outstretched northern moors beneath Ben Loyal & co, there is no previous literary account of this faded petroglyph, rediscovered in early April 2017 when Sarah MacLean took us on a visit to the more renowned multiple cup-and-ringer of Lochan Hakel 2, just yards away above the moorland rise (which is unmissable from here).  It’s not too special in comparison with its neighbour and many others—but try telling Sarah that!

Cup & ring atop of stone (photo by Sarah MacLean)

This large rounded lichen-covered boulder has, at its height, a carved ring around a natural rise—known as a ‘boss’—at the very top of the rock.  On its southern side, Sarah found a single cup-mark, along with a couple of others on the more northeasterly sloping face.  At the bottom of this face is another seemingly isolated small cup-marking.  There may well be other carved elements beneath the mass of ancient lichens, but we thought it best to leave them for the time being.  It’s also quite likely that other unrecorded carvings exist in the area.

Acknowledgments:  Huge thanks to Sarah MacLean, not only for helping to locate this carving, but for use of her photos in this site profile.  Cheers Sarah!  And to Donna Murray, for putting up with me whilst in the area! …Now, let’s find some more of them!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Grey Stone, Newsholme Dean, Oakworth, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 00621 40841

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.2 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Grey Stone, Newsholme Dean
Grey Stone, Newsholme Dean

Take the same directions as if you’re visiting the Cob Stone Field carving; but instead of going into the field on your right, walk down the track about 100 yards towards the large barn below.  As you walk down keep your eyes peeled to the field on your left and, right up against the wall of the barn, you’ll see a large boulder resting quietly. That’s what yer after!

Archaeology & History

This large faded cup-marked rock whose western side has been split off in recent years, has a scatter of “up to 21 small shallow worn cups” on its upper surface.  They can be difficult to see in some light, but they’re definitely there (as Ray Spencer’s photos clearly show), fading slowly into Nature’s winds and storms.  A couple of ‘lines’ running down the edge of the stone are  due to modern farm-workings.

Close-up of the cups
Close-up of the cups
Sketch of the design
Sketch of the design

Several other rocks in this and adjacent fields have what may be faded remains of other cup-markings, but without guidance from a geologist or a stone-mason, we can’t know for sure whether they’re authentic or not.  It’s likely that there are other authentic carvings hiding in this area—they just need sniffing out!


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, West Yorkshire Archaeology Service 2003.

Acknowledgements:  Huge thanks to Ray Spencer for us of his photos in this site profile. Thanks Ray.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Lower Lanshaw Stone (02), Askwith Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 16059 50875

Getting Here

Lanshaw cup-and-ring nearby
Lanshaw cup-and-ring stone

Start at the Askwith Moor parking spot on Askwith Moor Road, then walk down the road (south) 300 yards till you reach the gate and track on the other side of the road, heading southeast.  Following the track onto the moor and take the footpath on your right after 75 yards. Follow this along until you hit the gate & fence.  Climb over this, then follow the same fence along (left) and down, and keep following the fence and walling all the way on until you reach the very bottom southwestern edge of Askwith Moor itself.  Now, walk up the slope to your right and, near the top of this rise 250 yards away, past Lower Lanshaw 01 carving, in some ancient walling, you’ll find it!

Archaeology & History

A very faded cup-and-ring carving can be found about 30 yards northeast of the Lower Lanshaw cup-marked stone, just as the hill slopes down to the overgrown stream.  It rests on the lower edges of the prehistoric (probably Bronze Age) enclosure in which other archaeological remains can be found.  Although the photo here highlights what seems to be 3 cups on the south-face of the rock, only one of them seems authentic.  A pecked “line” also seemed evident, but the light conditions were poor when we were here.  It does seem that there’s a faded ring around one of the cups, as you can see in the photo.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Calverley Woods 03, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 20370 37925

Getting Here

Cup-Marked Stone near centre (courtesy Mike Short)
Cup-Marked Stone near centre
(courtesy Mike Short)

Mike Short tells: Walk ENE along Thornhill Drive (no vehicular access) to gate across road at the last house on the Drive and continue on for approx 475m where road starts to narrow slightly, becomes a little steeper and gently turns to E.  Thornhill Drive is now cut into the hillside at this point with an upwards sloping bank on the S side of the path. After approx 25m further on at approx SE 20375 37950 look out on the S side of the path for a pile of boulders sitting on bedrock on top of the bank and a large rectangular tabular rock on the side of the bank.  Ascend the bank and from the boulder pile the panel is approx 22m 200º(T) in the middle of an ephemeral E-W path more defined to W.

Archaeology & History

The profile (and ‘How to Get There’) for this recently discovered cup-marked stone was forwarded to me by fellow rock art explorer, Mike Short.  The carving is another basic design found in Calverley Woods, between Leeds and Bradford, nearly halfway between the missing petroglyphs of West Woods 2 and Sidney Jackson’s Calverley Woods Stone.  Rediscovered by Lisa Volichenko some time ago, Mike described the new carving here as follows:

Looking down on the 3-4 cups (courtesy Mike Short)
Looking down on the 3-4 cups
(courtesy Mike Short)
Sketch of the carving (courtesy Mike Short)
Sketch of the carving
(courtesy Mike Short)

“Panel is carved on W sloping face of a sub-triangular earthfast coarse-grained sandstone boulder 0.81m X 0.50m X 0.38m, the longest axis lying almost exactly N-S. Carving consists of 3 cups, the most N of which is elliptical approx 65mm X 55mm; the central cup is elliptical approx 50mm X 40mm and the most S is circular diameter approx 40mm. On the N edge of the W face is a shallow elliptical depression thought to be of natural origin. There is an area of damage along the ‘crest’ of the boulder close to its S end.

“Carved rock is the most E of five rocks, measuring between 0.70m and 1.15m in length, in very close proximity forming an arc, 3 of which are in the footpath and one of which is resting on a large slab of rock almost completely covered by soil and vegetation.”

And so the small number of cup-marked stones in this woodland slowly grows.  One wonders how many more are hidden beneath the roots of the trees—and are all of the lines and cups atop of the great Hanging Stone, a short distant away, all Nature’s handiwork…?

Acknowledgements:  Huge thanks for Mike Short for the data, photos and sketch of this carving.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian