Foster Clough Delph, Midgley Moor, West Yorkshire

Enclosure:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0234 2708

Getting Here

Near the centre of this photo, the large 'ring' can be seen
Near the centre of this photo, the large ‘ring’ can be seen

From Midgley go west along Height Road and take the track up on your right, at the tree-lined bend, up Foster Clough and onto the moor as if you’re gonna go to Churn Milk Joan.  As you reach the footpath at the quarries up the hill, go to the top of them and take the small footpath where the land levels-out and head east towards the walling.  Just a hundred yards or so before the walling, keep your eyes peeled, cos you’re damn close!

Archaeology & History

Best seen when looking down from the slopes above, this is a fascinating site that is lucky to still be here!  For just a few yards to the west are extensive quarry works that could easily have destroyed the place had they continued.  But thankfully we have here a near-perfect circular enclosure: measuring roughly 27 yards in diameter east-west, and about 25 yards north-south, the circumference around the outer-edge is approximately 82 yards (75m).  It has all the appearance of an overgrown henge monument, with an outer bank and inner ditch, then a central flat arena—and it may indeed be such a monument—but until we have a decent excavation of the site, we’ll stick to calling it a simple enclosure—which it is!

Eastern arc of bank & ditch
Eastern arc of bank & ditch

The outer bank is very much overgrown, but as it runs round and defines this site, it measures 1-2 feet high most of the way, except on the westernmost spot, where it seems there may be an ‘entrance’.  The inner ditch is only a couple of feet deep, again all the way round the monument.  The internal level of the site is pretty flat, like most henges; but there seems to be a small central ‘cairn’ of some sort in the middle.  Again, this is very overgrown by our traditional moorland vegetation.

Aerial image, 2009
Aerial image, 2009
Aerial image, 2006
Aerial image, 2006

So what is it exactly?  An enclosure, a settlement, or even (as local research student John Billingsley once suggested) a henge?  Tis difficult to say for sure without further and more detailed archaeological excavation.  My estimate is that the site is either Bronze- or Iron-Age in nature, and is definitely an ‘enclosure’ of some sort.  We have located other prehistoric sites on the slopes just above here to the north, like the Crow Hill cairn circle and accompanying tumulus, remains of a neolithic settlement and a number of other small single cairns that are only visible when the heather has been burnt back.  If you intend to explore any of the ancient sites sites on this moor, check this one out!

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Foster Clough enclosure

loading map - please wait...

Foster Clough enclosure 53.740098, -1.966002 Foster Clough enclosure

Greenwood Stone, Midgley Moor, West Yorkshire

Boundary Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 01652 28514

Getting Here

Greenwood Stone, Midgley Moor

Follow the directions to reach Churn Milk Joan, the head 100 yards east till reaching the crossing of footpaths, beneath Crow Hill.  Take the northern (left) route and keep walking.  Half a mile along you’ll see the tall upright stone to your left.  You can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

The Greenwood Stone is an old boundary stone and is not prehistoric.  It stands more than four feet tall.  I first visited the site in 1988 in the company of several folklore and antiquarian writers, including Andy Roberts, Edna Whelan and Graeme Chappell.  Twas a good day and coincided with a small collection of Psilocybes being gathered!

The tall upright is a boundary stone that was erected in 1775, as evidenced by the date carved on its southern face.  I must emphasize however that this was not when the stone came to acquire its name: this was defined in 1594 as evidenced by a boundary perambulation written that year where it is described as being recumbent: “thence to one lying stone, newly named Greenwood Stone.”  About 10-15 yards away is what may have been that very “lying stone,” the original Greenwood Stone, half-buried in the heather some six or seven feet long.   It is possible this may have stood upright in the distant past.

Greenwood Stone, looking south

Moving about 75 yards south we come across another small standing stone at 1360 feet (412m) above sea level. This I’ve called the ‘Greenwood B stone’.  It was marked on an old map as a boundary stone and is distinctly shaped to stand upright, marking a point separating the moors of Midgley and Wadsworth.  When stood upright it is just visible on the horizon when looking from the Miller’s Grave prehistoric tomb several hundred yards east of here and is close to being an equinox indicator.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Greenwood Stone

loading map - please wait...

Greenwood Stone 53.752989, -1.976426 Greenwood Stone

Crow Hill Circle, Midgley Moor, West Yorkshire

Ring Cairn: OS grid reference – SE 026 271

Getting There

Best approached by taking the same direction to the unexcavated Foster Clough ‘enclosure.’ From here, walk towards the walling about 100 yards to your east. Follow it along on the moorside for another 100 yards then follow the small sheep-path up the angle of the slope onto the moor itself. Once you’re at the top and on the level, it’s right ahead of you! If the heather’s deep though, you might as well give up before y’ start! (honest – I went there a while back for a night’s sleep & couldn’t find the damn thing!) But if you’ve made the effort getting here, wander 200 yards towards Crow Hill and keep yer eye out for the large heather-clad tumulus.

Archaeology & History

This site was rediscovered in October 1995, when I was bimbling about on the southern side of Crow Hill. It was one of those good periods, when the heather had been extensively burnt back, so enabling a better examination of the moors for any potential prehistoric remains. I unknowingly walked right into the middle of this small ring of stones with a fella called John Billingsley, who seemed quite unaware of what I was getting excited about until I pointed out to him exactly what we were standing in the middle of! (he couldn’t see what was under his nose, which was a bit weird considering he edits an earth-mystery mag) But I wouldn’t have even been looking for this site, were it not for what happened just a few days earlier…

I was on one of my many ambles across the moortops, which to many people watching would seem like some seemingly aimless, lost soul – an apt description at times! – wandering across the hills (those who know me well, have long called such seemingly aimless treks, Barmy Bennett Expeditions!). It was a lovely day: a shallow snow-cover lay across the moors and as the wind brushed across the earth and up, Her wisps of breath were freezing. But I was well-wrapped and sat, upon occasion, behind the small rock outcrops I was checking for cup-and-rings for shelter when needed. But as the day fell on and the sun touched the western hills, I had to turn for home as the cold was strengthening. Being on the moors at night, in this sort of weather, is never a good idea unless you’ve got your gear with you — and this day I hadn’t. So I set off back for home in Hebden Bridge, in that dreamy sort of state which the hills elicit after a day’s ambling. The colours of Earth and Sky were crisp in the bracing air and as I headed for the footpath towards the old stone known as Churn Milk Joan, I gazed at Crow Hill a half-mile or so away…

Without warning, it came like a thunderbolt up through my dreaming mind: ‘There’s a stone circle over there!‘ came the words. And though the words were quiet and simple, their effect was anything but! I focused quickly – very quickly! My mind staggered out of the dreaming and into the ego state, trying quick to rationalise what had just emerged from my unconscious. An adrenalin rush hit me and amidst the snow-filled hills I started to bound, gazelle-like, across the wibbling moors, straight towards Crow Hill. But then I stopped!

“Wait… She’s nearly dark,” I said to myself. “You’ve no food and there’s gonna be no no light. Come back in a day or two and you’ll have all the time you need to explore.”

And so I wandered back in the dark to the warmth of fire and home and waited a few days, for the Earth to drink Her snow, and hope that the curious intuition — as it had been on numerous other occasions — proved fruitful. And so it did…

If you can find the place (almost impossible when the heather’s in full growth), you’ll see that this ‘cairn circle’ is little more than 32 feet across, with the tallest stone in the ring little more than 2 feet tall. A curious small squared circle of loose stones exists in the south side of the ring and a raised embankment surrounds the site. Scatterings of small, football-sized stones are found both in, out and at the edge of the circle. (Please note – to those of you who wanna cross-reference – that the photos alleging to show this site on The Megalithic Portal are not of the right place.)

Close by are other neolithic remains, including extensive walling, 2 or 3 other small standing stones and a large tumulus which one rather myopic hobbyist (Mike Haigh) reckoned – in a poor attempt at sarcasm – might be the burial tomb of a successful local farmer.  Hmmmm…..

The site was later described in an article by the same Mike Haigh (in Billingsley’s Aspects of Calderdale) as being discovered by John Billingsley himself, which wasn’t just a mistake but a rather huge lie.  John was there with me when I found it, as he knows full well.  But it seems here we have an example of people who like to try give themselves credit for discovering things that they did not do.*  Even sillier, Mr Billingsley then moaned when I described the site (in my Old Stones of Elmet) without mentioning his name! But in all honesty, if that’s the disreputable way in which they go about their business, what do they expect in return!? (What’s worse is that the site was first described in an article in his own Northern Earth Mysteries mag in 1995, which I co-authored, and then when I asked if he could point out the error and correct it, he ignored the request in just the same way politicians do.  Pure bloody ignorance no less.  But then, he is one of those incoming Southern-types – y’ know the sort…)

This aside: the entire region hereabouts requires considerable archaeological attention as we have here the remains of either a neolithic settlement, or graveyard, or both!

* see the note at the bottom of the ‘About TNA‘ page on such issues.

References:

  1. Abraham, John Harris, Hidden Prehistory around the North West, Kindle 2012.
  2. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
  3. Billingsley, J. & Bennett, P., ‘Recent Fieldwork on Midgley Moor,’ in NEM, 65, 1995.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Crow Hill circle

loading map - please wait...

Crow Hill circle 53.740277, -1.962060 Crow Hill circle