Woofa Bank (352), Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13611 45616

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.183 (Hedges)

Getting Here

Deep cups on this Woofa Bank carving

Follow the same directions as if you’re gonna visit the Idol Stone carving.  From here, keep walking uphill until your reach the rocky crags on the slope above.  Go left (southeast) along the small footpath that runs along the top of this ridge for 350 yards (320m) and, where the path begins to very gradually slope back downhill a little, go sharp left, downhill for 50 yards, where a couple of large rocks stand out. Before one of these, low down in the heather, you’ll find this curious cup-and-ring stone.

Archaeology & History

This is a lovely cup-and-ring stone, seemingly recorded for the first time by fellow rock-art student Stuart Feather (Radford 1968) in one of his numerous ramblings over these moors.  It’s a difficult habit to break once the bug bites!  The rock itself is unusual, possessed of undulating geophysical waves or ripples across its surface, similar to a cluster of others a couple of miles west near the very top of Rombald’s Moor.  The curvaceous feature alone would have given this stone a spirit-nature of its own, different from the others in this area — though we may never know what that might have been.

Primary design (after Hedges)

The cups carved onto this rock are cut much deeper than most other prehistoric carvings along this ridge and, for some reason or other, give an immediate impression of having been painted and coloured in lichens or other natural dyes, to encourage or awaken the mythic history within and around the stone.  It’s a formula that occurs worldwide and needs serious consideration, not just here, but at many other outcrop carvings in Wharfedale and much further afield.

The carving was described in John Hedges’ (1986) fine survey as a,

“Fairly small flat rock, level with the ground, sloping slightly in heather and crowberry, its surface layered in waves which appear to have been incorporated in the design which covers the rock.  About 25 cups, some very deep and some showing pick marks, three are enclosed in rings, one of which has three cups in its circumference and a groove leading from it to edge of rock.”

Many other carvings scatter the moorland plain of Woofa Bank — some recorded, others not — in a region rich in Bronze Age and probably earlier cairns. We’ll add all their profiles here as time floats by…


  1. Bennett, Paul, Of Cups and Rings and Things, unpublished: Shipley 1981.
  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.
  4. Radley, J. (ed.), “Yorkshire Archaeological Register, 1968,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 42: part 166, 1968.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Buried Stone, Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1380 4521

Archaeology & History

Buried Stone carving

One of this regions many simple cup-marked stones, this example is another that is not in the archaeological records as it was rediscovered on March 1, 2012, by one-time rock art student, Michala Potts of Keighley.  Found in association with one of the many prehistoric cairns in the landscape, it is a small flat rock, that was mainly covered over in dead bracken remains.  There are two very distinct archetypal cup-marks etched on the westernmost half of the stone, with a possible faint third in-between the two.  The larger of the two cups measures 2 inches across and is a half-inch deep; the other cup being 1½ inch across and roughly the same depth. Several other cup-and-ring stones can be found close by.

Buried Stone, when dry

The curious-looking inverted ‘F’ beneath the two cups is somewhat of a dilemma, as part of it appears to have been carved and has the hallmark of a typical boundary marker. However, the top line is almost certainly a natural feature on the rock, but the vertical and second horizontal line may have been cut into the rock at a later date.  There are remains of some medieval workings just 10 yards away from this stone, which may account for the enhanced lines; but we could do with a decent geologist to have a look and tell us one way or the other!

…to be continued…

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Simon’s Seat, Skyreholme, North Yorkshire

Sacred Hill:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0788 5981

Getting Here

Simon’s Seat in the centre & the Lord’s Seat immediately east

Tons of ways here.   To those who drive, take the Grassington-Pateley Bridge (B6265) road and a couple of miles past the village of Hebden, you’ll see the high rocks climbing on your southern horizon, with another group of rocks a few hundred yards along the same ridge.  That’s it!

Archaeology & History

This is an awesome site, full of raw power. It commands a brilliant view all round, but it is the north which truly draws the eye’s attention. Beneath the great drop of this huge outcrop is the haunted and legendary Troller’s Ghyll. The scent of as yet undisclosed neolithic and Bronze Age sites purrs from the moors all round you and there can be little doubt that this was a place of important magick in ancient days.

What seems to be several cup-markings on one of the topmost rocks are, to me, authentic. Harry Speight mentioned them in his 1892 work on the Craven and Northwest Yorkshire Highlands – but there are a number of other rocks in this giant outcrop with “possibles” on them.


The name of this great rock outcrop has long been a puzzle to historians and place-name experts.  One tale that was told of Simon’s Seat to the travelling pen of one Frederic Montagu in 1838, told that,

“It was upon the top of this mountain that an infant was found by a shepherd, who took it to his home, and after feeding and clothing it, he had the child named Simon; being himself but a poor man, he was unable to maintain the foundling, when it was ultimately agreed to by the shepherds, that the child should be kept “amang ’em.”  The child was called Simon Amangham and the descendants of this child are now living in Wharfedale.”

The usually sober pen of Mr Speight thinks this to have been one the high places of druidic worship, named after the legendary Simon Druid. “It is however, hardly likely,” he wrote, “that he ever sat there himself, but was probably represented by some druidical soothsayer on whom his mystic gifts descended.”

I’ve gotta say, I think there’s something distinctly true about those lines. Visit this place a few times, alone, during the week, or at night – when there’s no tourists about – and tell me it isn’t…


  1. Bogg, Edmund, Higher Wharfeland, James Miles: Leeds 1904.
  2. Montagu, Frederic, Gleanings in Craven, Simpkin Marshall: London 1838.
  3. Speight, Harry, The Craven and Northwest Yorkshire Highlands, Elliott Stock: London 1892.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian