A prehistoric carving that is missing and possibly destroyed since being rediscovered in 2001 by Barbara Brown (2008) and subsequently described in her book on North Yorkshire petroglyphs. She told it to be in “Thornton Steward field hedge bottom” and was a simple glyph, being a
“rectangular slab (with) single cup-mark located in hedge bottom part of old walling.”
When she revisited the site with her husband in 2006, the old hedge and wall had been removed, with “new hedging in place.” The carved stone may be buried within a pile of clearance stones adjacent to the hedgerow, but it has yet to be relocated. If anyone finds it, please let us know! It was one of several cup-marked stones that exist in the wider neighbourhood.
Brown, Paul & Barbara, Prehistoric Rock Art in the Northern Dales, Tempus: Stroud 2008.
From Masham, take the Fearby Road to the village, keep going on the same road through Healey village and less than a mile on where the road forks, bear to the right past and go along the gorgeous little-known vale of Colsterdale. It’s bloody beautiful! Less than 2 miles on, walk up the notable track veering to your right, diagonally uphill. Walk along till you get to the moor edge. Go thru the gate and follow the swerving uphill path to the bottom of Slipstone Crags. Once you level out at the Crags top, look across the small valley to your left and, on t’other side, you’ll notice a standing stone upright in the heather, just 100 yards on the flat on the other side of the valley. Head right for it!
Archaeology & History
There are no known written references to this standing stone, which we visited for the first time yesterday, in a brief wander to the nearby Agra Woods cup-and-ring stones a few hundred yards southeast. The monolith stands some four-and-half-feet tall and, at its base, is more than three feet broad and just one foot wide. Just to its side and almost completely covered in peat and vegetation is what may have been another once-upright companion asleep in the Earth. Another possibly fallen stone is less than 10 yards west. The upright stands on the flat moorland overlooking the confluence of two (once) fast-flowing waters of Brown Beck and Birk Gill; and the landscape that reaches out from here is something to behold!
We found the remains of other old monuments on the moor, but some were obviously related to the industrial mining not far away. However, two or three other small upright stones and a large stone circular structure were also located which very obviously predated any industrial or medieval workings. We need to revisit this moorland and spend more time exploring to see what other things are hidden, lost midst the peat and heather.