Beamsley Beacon, Beamsley, North Yorkshire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – SE 09891 52435

Also Known as:

  1. Howber Hill

Getting Here

Beamsley Beacon, looking NW

If you’re coming via Ilkley, cross the bridge to Middleton and turn left, following the long winding road for several miles until you hit Langbar village.  If you’re coming via Bolton Bridge, go to Beamsley village and turn left up Lanshaw Bank until you hit Langbar village.  Whichever of the two routes you use: on the north side of Langabr village is a distinct small rough car park.  From here, cross the road where the footpath sign is and walk straight up the steep hill to Beamsley Beacon at the top.  You can’t miss it!

Archaeology & History

At the highest point on these hills, 1300 feet up, we come across this ancient prehistoric cairn.  Its position in the landscape is impressive to say the least, being visible from nearly every direction on the moorland heights for many miles around, as well as being conspicuous from the riverlands below.  A visit to the site nowadays shows it surmounted by a more recent mass of small stones turning it into a large walker’s cairn with only its compact base showing any real sign of antiquity.

Site shown on 1853 map
Western side of the cairn

Mentioned briefly in parish records from 1658 onwards, it was highlighted on the earliest OS-map as simply a Beacon hill, due to it being used for beacon fires.  We’re not certain when its beaconesque function first came about; and, it’s possible, that its beacon element could have replaced a much earlier heathen fiery function, typical of many hilltop sites up and down this and other countries.  But we do know that such fires were lit here at the beginning of the 19th century.  The great Harry Speight (1900) told that of its

“use as a prospecting-point and beacon there is no doubt.  In the Bolton Abbey registers, under date 1803, is this entry:

“Apprehensive of a French invasion, Beamsley Beacon was put in a state of repair, and four people appointed to watch it.  About — of the inhabitants of this chapelry inrolled themselves as Volunteers, the whole number of whom in Craven amounted to 1,200 Infantry and 200 Cavalry.  A Sergeant was appointed to drill the volunteers of this chapelry at Bolton.”

The beacon at this time received light from Pinhaw on Carlton Moor and sent it forward to Otley Chevin, as appears by an old chart at Wakefield, dated 1803.”

Photo by James Elkington

The beacon’s ancient name of Howber Hill is literally the Hill of Tombs, as derived from the Teutonic haugr, and Anglian how, being a burial mound; and berg is a hill, sometimes fortified.  Whilst there seems to be no evidence of ancient fortification, compacted cairn material at the base seems to confirms the -how element.  Yet despite Speight citing this etymology, he was was somewhat sceptical wondering, instead, if the site was merely a giant boundary marker—which it has been for centuries.

A short distance along the footpath to the east is the denuded old cairn known as The Old Pike.  Further east still, along the same boundary line, there was once another old tomb, long since gone…


I’m not sure whether this should gone in the folklore section or not.  But, well, it’s here nonetheless!  In Guy Phillips’s (1976) book on the mythic history of ancient Brigantia, he describes a number of alignments, or leys (not one of those stupid energy lines, which has nowt to do with leys)—one of which crosses Beamsley Beacon.  It’s an west-east line that begins at Cockerham and from there goes,

“through Top of Blaze Moss SD 619525, Slaidburn (it is very clear here), Flambers Hill SD 877523, southern edge of Copy Hill 952523, Draughton (extremely clear), Beamsley Gibbeter and Beamsley Beacon, Heligar Pike, Scow Hall 203523, Little Almscliffe Crag, Tockwith church and on to the coast.”

I have to say that I’m sceptical of the veracity of this alignment.


  1. Bogg, Edmund, Higher Wharfeland, James Miles: Leeds 1904.
  2. Cobley, Fred, On Foot through Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1880.
  3. Phillips, Guy Ragland, Brigantia – A Mysteriography, RKP: London 1976.
  4. Smith, A.H., English Place-Name Elements – volume 1, Cambridge University Press 1956.
  5. Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire – volume 5, Cambridge University Press 1963.
  6. Speight, Harry, Upper Wharfedale, Elliott Stock: London 1900.

Acknowledgements:  Huge thanks to James Elkington for use of his photo on this site profile.  Cheers mate. 😉

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Black Beck enclosure, Hawksworth Moor, West Yorkshire

Enclosure:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1413 4397

Getting Here

Arc of low walling

Make your way to the Black Beck tomb and walk west for some 50 yards.  If the heather has grown any more than a foot tall, it’s impossible to see.

Archaeology & History

Near the northernmost section of the Hawksworth Shaw prehistoric graveyard, some 50 yards west of the Black Beck cairn, exists the remains of a small prehistoric enclosure whose walling is deeply embedded in the peat.  Although I describe the place as an ‘enclosure’, we don’t know for certain whether it is a ruined settlement or large hut circles (although this latter idea is the more improbable).

Walling, looking N
Arc of walling, looking S

Two large open arcs of walling—like large letter “C’s”—with their open sides to the east, have been constructed next to each other, virtually coming together in the shape of an inverted number “3”.  The walling in the southern arc—measuring some 33 yards in length and barely higher than 1 foot above ground level—consists of standard stones and rubble, similar to some of the hut circles that are found in greater abundance on the north-side of Ilkley Moor.  The smaller, less visible arc of stones—some 18 yards of it—is lower in the earth.  Both lines of walling may have been robbed in part to construct some of the extensive cairns close by, as neither of the two arcs were very high and it was very difficult to work out even what sort of structure they might have been.

Like many other prehistoric sites on Rombalds Moor, only an excavation is going to tell us precisely what was going on here…

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

The Old Pike, Beamsley, North Yorkshire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – SE 10226 52648

Also Known as:

  1. Howber Pike

Getting Here

T’ Old Pike on t’ 1853 map

I prefer the much longer walk to this site, from Askwith Moor carpark some 5 miles to the west, but this wouldn’t be most folks cuppa tea.  So for the lazy buggers amongst you: whether you’re coming via Ilkley (cross the bridge to Middleton and turn left, following the long winding road for several miles) or Bolton Bridge (hit Beamsley village and turn left up Lanshaw Bank), you need to get up to Langbar village. On the north side of the village is a distinct small rough carpark. From here, cross the road where the footpath sign is and walk straight up the steep hill to Beamsley Beacon at the top.  Keep walking for exactly ¼-mile where you’ll find a large heap with boulders round its edge. You’re there.

Archaeology & History

Skyline peak of T’ Old Pike (photo by James Elkington)

At the highest point of these hills where the moorlands of Langbar and Beamsley meet, is this prominent rocky pile on the same skyline as Beamsley Beacon.  The two are ancient cairns, both robbed of most of their stones, but still a good site to sit and behold the vast landscape which reaches out for miles in all directions.  And, from this highest point, looking south to the highest point across the Wharfe valley on Ilkley Moor, the remnants of another giant prehistoric cairn is visible: looking across at each other, eye to eye.

Of the two great cairns on Beamsley moor, The Old Pike is the more peculiar of the two because—unlike its partner along the ridge—several large boulders near its top give the impression of being Nature’s handiwork.  This may be the case, but Nature isn’t the lass who laid down the mass of smaller rounded stones that are mainly visible on the west and southern sides.  These have been placed there by people.  But it’s not until you step back 40 or 50 yards that you get a more distinct impression of the place.  The Old Pike rises up like a rocky nipple out of the heath, showing a very embedded overgrown man-made heap, typical of the overgrown prehistoric cairns that scatter our northern uplands.

Looking north (photo by James Elkington)
The piled heap (photo by James Elkington)

The site is included on the archaeologist’s Pastscape website, albeit citing it as a ‘possible’ cairn.  But the more we look at it, the greater the impression becomes that this old heap is man-made – certainly on its eastern and southern sides.  The rise of boulders on its west may be natural, and then ancient man placed the cairn material up and around them.  Only an excavation would tell us for sure.  But its old name of Howber Pike tells a tale before we even visit the place.  When the great Yorkshire historian Harry Speight (1900) came here he picked up on this element, telling us,

“Howber literally is the ‘Hill of Tombs’, from the Teutonic haugr and Anglian how, a burial mound, and berg also her, a hill, often fortified.”

The great place-name authority A.H. Smith (1956) not only echoes this but goes into greater etymological detail, noting that as well as haugr or how being “an artificial mound, a burial mound,” it’s a word that is particularly used in the northern counties.  He does note however, that this may not always be the case and can sometime just relate to a “a hill or hilltop resembling an artificial mound.”  However, we also find in Smith’s tome on place-name elements that the latter part of ‘Howber’ deriving from beorg, can also mean a tumulus or burial mound.  But there are cases where this has been corrupted and means, as Speight states, a fortified hill.  So at Howber Pike we seem to have the ancient name of some probable burial site.  As for its neighbour a quarter-mile west, the giant cairn of Beamsley Beacon is also known as the Howber Hill….


  1. Smith, A.H., English Place-Name Elements – volume 1, Cambridge University Press 1956.
  2. Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshirevolume 5, Cambridge University Press 1963.
  3. Speight, Harry, Upper Wharfedale, Elliott Stock: London 1900.

Acknowledgements:  Huge thanks to James Elkington for use of his fine photos on this site.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Coombe Hill Cross, Wycoller, Lancashire

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – SD 95586 38608

Also Known as:

  1. Combe Hill Cross

Getting Here

Coombe Hill Cross, Lancashire (photo credit, Ray Spencer)
Coombe Hill Cross, Lancashire (photo credit, Ray Spencer)

Along the high moorland road between Laneshaw Bridge up towards Oakworth, on the Lancashire side of the moors a half-mile before reaching the Watersheddles reservoir, past the derelict pub until you reach the isolated Coombe Cross farmhouse on the tops.  Across the road from here is a boggy footpath leading onto the moors.  Walk on here for 100 yards, where the path bends left and another footpath veers up higher onto the moors.  Walk up here for 20 yards and you’ll see the small monolith 10 yards away in the grassy heaths on your left.

Archaeology & History

Taylor's 1906 drawing
Taylor’s 1906 drawing

Found on the old route between the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire, this little-known wayside cross has seen better days.  Found in relative isolation from other monuments by the ancient trackway (Herder’s Cross is a mile WNW, and the curious Water Sheddles Cross a mile east), its history is quiet and it was ignored in the general surveys of such monuments by Rimmer (1875), Tyack (1900) and Vallance. (1920)  Thankfully the giant survey of Henry Taylor (1906) did not forget it—although he seemed to know little of its story, merely telling us,

“The base-stone and part of the upright shaft of this cross stand about one hundred yards in a south-easterly direction from (Far Combe Hill Cross)… Two hundred yards south of the Combe Hill Cross occur the words, ‘Cross Bent.'”

Coombe Hill Cross (photo by Ray Spencer)
Coombe Hill Cross (photo by Ray Spencer)

The near-square stone base—about 3 feet by 3 feet—is commonly ascribed as medieval in origin and it’s thought that the remaining upright cross-stump—over 2 feet high—is probably not the original one. When fellow antiquarian Ray Spencer visited the site recently, he reported there to be “a faint inscription on the base saying COMBE HILL CROSS.”

The most detailed account of this monument was to be found in Clifford Byrne’s (1974) unpublished paper on the antiquities of the region, where he wrote:

“The pedestal of this cross with a piece of stone sitting in it which may or may not be part of the original monolith is situated on a wayside hillock… On passing the Herders Inn above Emmot, scrutiny of the left hand side of the road at the top of the next rise ahead opposite a white farmhouse will show what looks like a stumpy finger pointing to the sky.  Close inspection will show that at the site sits the pedestal of a cross, apparently settled on two steps.  Note that the pedestal and the supporting stones beneath have a remarkable resemblance to Carlton Cross which stands on Cross Green between Tom Cross Ainslack and Carleton village near Skipton.  It may be that both monoliths were erected by the same hands.  Whether the supporting blocks beneath the pedestal were for purposes of kneeling, or merely to stop the edifice sinking into the moor is…open to dispute.  An ancient track passes the cross site where it splits into two: one going east towards Keighley and  the other going south towards Haworth by Watersheddles Cross.  A continuation of the track westwards travels along the foot of Boulsworth Hill past Iron Age burials,* along a fine set of pack horse setts, past standing stones, old lime kilns, and eventually leaving behind some remains of the Wycoller Vaccary stones near Antly Gate Farm.  It tops the brow of a hill and drops down through Thursden by the Cold Well itself a a little green gate in the reservoir wall. Marquis of Colne suggested that the Combe Hill Cross dates from the time of King Stephen in the 12th century, but does not say on what he based his surmise…. If the origin of the stone is dated correctly, it has stood near Colne for over 800 years.”


  1. Byrne, Clifford, A Survey of the Ancient Wayside Crosses in North-East Lancashire, unpublished 1974.
  2. Taylor, Henry, The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Sherratt & Hughes: Manchester 1906.

These Iron Age burials may be Bronze Age as we have found remains of several hut circles dating from that period in this area. PB.

AcknowledgementsHuge thanks to Ray Spencer for use of his photos and additional data for this site profile.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Gill Head, Blubberhouses Moor, North Yorkshire

Enclosures:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1338 5493

Getting Here

Upright stone in prehistoric walling

ON the A59 Harrogate to Skipton road, right on top where it crosses the barren moors, get to the parking spot right near where the road levels out at the highest point (2-300 yards past the turning to the derelict Dovestones Quarry). From here, go thru the gate onto the moor for about 100 yard. Then turn straight east (left) for another few hundred yards till y’ reach the spot marked as Gill Head Peat Moor on the OS-map. This small standing stone (right) is where you need to start – the other remains continue east of here.

Archaeology & History

Richard’s original photo, with walling clearly visible

The discovery of this site began in April 2005, when rock art student Richard Stroud and I were exploring the moors here and he called our attention to what seemed like a singular upright standing stone, some 3 feet high, with a debatable cup-marking on top, standing amidst a scatter of smaller stones running north and south from here, implying that the stone may have been a part of some much denuded walling from our ancient past.  But we weren’t sure—and simply noted its location (at SE 13378 54924) and carried on our way.  But in revisiting this site after looking at some old archaeology papers, Paul Hornby and I chanced to find a lot more on the burnt heathland running east of here.

The upright stone found by Mr Stroud is certainly part of some ancient walling, but it is much denuded and falls back into the peat after only a short distance.  A short distance west of this stone is a small cairn which seems of more recent origin; but due east, along the flat plain on the moorland itself, the burnt heathland showed a scattering of extensive human remains, comprising mainly of walling, hut circles and possible cairns—lots of it!

One issue we have to contend with on this moorland is the evidence of considerable peat-cutting in places, which was being done on a large scale into the Victorian period.  Scatterings of medieval work are also found across this moor, in places directly interfering with little-known Bronze Age monuments in the middle of the remote uplands.  There is no doubt that some of these medieval and later workings have destroyed some of the uncatalogued prehistoric archaeological remains on this moor.  But thankfully, on the ridge running west to east along Gill Head to above the source of the Black Dike, scattered remains of human habitation and activity are still in evidence.  The only problem with what we’ve found, is the date…

Two rows of straight walling, with stone scatter all round
Another overgrown curve of walling

In 1960, Mr J. Davies first mentioned finding good evidence of flint-workings at a site close by; then described his discoveries in greater detail in the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal (1963) a few years later — but contended that the remains were of mesolithic origin.  A few years earlier, Mr D. Walker described a similar mesolithic “microlith site” a bit further north at Stump Cross.  Earlier still, Eric Cowling (1946) and others had made similar finds on these and adjacent moors.  Yet all of them missed this scatter of habitation sites, perched near the edge of the ridge running east-west atop of the ridge above the A59 road.  It’s quite extensive and, from the state of the walled remains, seems very early, probably neolithic in origin.

A number of small hut circles, 2-3 yards across, are scattered amidst the heather, with lines of walling—some straight, some not—broken here and there by people who came to gather their peat for fuel.  The walling and hut circle remains are very low to the ground, having themselves been robbed for stone it would seem.  The area initially appeared to be little more than a mass of stones scattered across the Earth (and much of it is), but amidst this are very clear lines of walls and circles, although they proved difficult to photograph because of the excessive growth of Calluna vulgaris.

Curious man-made structure in dried peat-bog

A couple of hundred yards south there are remains of one of the many dried black peat-bogs—with one large section that has been tampered with by humans at some point in the ancient past.  Over one section of it there has been built a small stone path, or possible fish-trap; plus elsewhere is a most curious rectangular walled structure (right) obviously made by people a long time ago.  Also amidst this dried peat-bog are the truly ancient remains of prehistoric tree-roots emerging from the Earth, a few thousand years old at least – and perhaps the last remnants of the ancient forests that once covered these moors.

How far back in time do all these walled remains take us?  Iron Age? Bronze Age?  Or much much further…?  Excavations anyone!?


  1. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  2. Davies, J., “A Mesolithic Workshop in Upper Wharfedale,” in Bradford’s Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 5:1, 1960.
  3. Davies, J., “A Mesolithic Site on Blubberhouses Moor, Wharfedale,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, part 161 (volume 41), 1963.
  4. Walker, D., “A Site at Stump Cross, near Grassington, Yorkshire, and the Age of the Pennine Microlith Industry,” in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, volume 22, 1956.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Lilla Cross, Fylingdales Moor, North Yorkshire

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – SE 88923 98686

Also Known as:

  1. Lilla’s Cross

Getting Here

Lilla Cross is situated on Fylingdales Moor, north Yorkshire, between Pickering and Whitby at the junction of two major moorland footpaths. It is located close to the Fylingdales Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station – which resemble giant golf balls on the horizon.

Archaeology & History

Woodwark’s 1930s photo of Lilla Cross

The ancient cross is 10 foot high and free-standing but it sits upon what is probably a ruined Bronze-Age bowl barrow called Lilla Howe; the recumbent stones that lie around the base of the cross may form part of that. It is a sturdy, stocky cross that has some letters carved onto it, one in particular being a large letter “C” possibly meaning Christos (Christ) and with that a small thin cross; there are a few other faint letters but these are difficult to decipher now. A plaque on a nearby stone gives information about the cross. I think Lilla Cross was used as a sort of Medieval milestone or way-marker – hence the lettering on the cross.

In 1952 the cross was moved to Sil Howe near Goathland but 10 years later in 1962 it was returned to its original site on top of Lilla Howe. In the 1920s excavations on the barrow revealed some artefacts of jewellery, but no remains of Edwin’s trusty chief minister were found; the jewellery was, in fact, said to date from the mid 9th century. Lilla Cross has been referred to by historians as the oldest christian cross on the north York Moors.


Lilla Cross on 1854 Map

According to the legend, in AD 625 or 626 King Edwin of Northumbria was travelling with his entourage across the moors, but an assassin had been dispatched by the king of the west Saxons to kill Edwin. The assassin lunged forward with his poison tipped sword, but Lilla his chief minister at the king’s court, leapt in between his sovereign and the swordsman. Poor Lilla took the full thrust of the sword and died on the spot thus saving the king from being murdered. King Edwin, who was greatly impressed by this selfless act of devotion, ordered that Lilla being a newly converted christian be buried here in a christian way though he asked that a number of articles be placed with the body including gold and silver. The king then had a cross erected in memory at the spot where Lilla died. But it seems likely that the cross dates from the 10th century, though there may have been an earlier Saxon cross here.


  1. Ogilvie, Elizabeth & Sleightholme, Audrey, An Illustrated Guide to the Crosses on the North Yorkshire Moors, Village Green Press: Thorganby 1994.
  2. White, Stanhope, Standing Stones and Earthworks on the North Yorkshire Moors, Fretwell & Cox: Keighley 1987.
  3. Woodwark, T.H., The Crosses on the North York Moors, Whitby Literary & Philosophical Society 1934.

© Ray Spencer, 2011 

Middleton Moor Carving (447), North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 10931 51278

Getting Here

Follow the same directions as to reach the so-called Smiley Stone carving and look just 10 yards SE.

Archaeology & History

About 10 yards away from the Smiley Stone is another of Middleton Moor’s ‘dubious carvings’ to me. I remember seeing the drawing of this years back, perhaps a decade after Stuart Feather first described it (1966) and remember thinking it looked a bloody good carving. But when I saw it for the first time in February 2005 with Richard Stroud, not only could I hardly see what was supposed to be there, but once I’d seen the alleged design, some doubt came over me regarding its archaic nature. That doubt still remains.

Faint cups & lines
Design on carving 447

There certainly seems to be a few faded cup-marks on the stone — which looks to be broken from a larger, circular worked stone of a much more modern age (an old mill stone perhaps?) — but the lines which both Feather and the grand pair of Boughey & Vickerman (2003) copy into their survey, are all too vague and certainly not ancient in my book.  Perhaps some local folk were still etching cup-marks and lines onto stones into the medieval period and later, like the ones found on the Churn Milk Joan monolith near Hebden Bridge…


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart, “Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings, no.47: Middleton Moor, Ilkley,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Gorup Bulletin, 11:9, 1966.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Dumpit Hill B, Hebden, Grassington, North Yorkshire

Stone Circle:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0307 6406

Getting Here

Follow the directions to reach the Dumpit Hill A circle.  From here walk about 100 yards ENE till you see an arc of small upright stones.  If the heather’s in full growth it’s highly unlikely you’ll see anything; but if the heather’s been burnt away, the site’s worth looking at.

Archaeology & History

As with the small companion Dumpit Hill A circle more than 100 yards to the southwest, this site of similar dimensions was first reported by Arthur Raistrick in 1963, and then described — albeit briefly — in H.G. Ramm’s “Yorkshire Archaeological Register” for 1964, as “33ft in diameter. One third of the circle robbed but other stones standing.”  And apart from that (with a repeat of the same info in Burl’s [2000] magnum opus) little else has been said.  But there’s quite a bit more to this place than what our mentors have written…

Northern arc of circle, with stones A, B, C & D
Dumpit B Stone Circle (white sticks showing position of stones)

In a team visit to the site last week, it was Paul Hornby who called our attention to Dumpit Hill B.  Thankfully the heather had been burnt back several months earlier, fortunately allowing us a better assessment of the place than Mr Raistrick’s initial survey forty years ago.  Instead of just the 3 stones that he found here, we uncovered a near-complete ring of eight stones, arranged in a pretty decent circle (Alexander Thom would have classed it as a Type 1 circle).  Paul’s attention was first drawn to an arc of three obvious upright stones and another laid down along the same arc.  This arc then turned out to be a semicircle when he found another stone laid half-covered in the peat.

Western stones D & E
Stone F

But then it seemed, if this was an authentic stone circle, we were gonna struggle to see the rest of it as the deep heather had grown up over the southern side of this semi-circle of stones.  But thankfully, with just a little bit of stomping on the ground in the right areas, three other stones of similar size and stature were located and within just a few minutes this small arc of stones had become a full prehistoric ring — except perhaps on the eastern side, where there was a distinct gap in the monument.  Michala Potts and Paul did come across a couple of stones in this “missing” section, but they were just small rocks and didn’t account for an expected 9th stone.  If such a stone ever stood at this eastern point in the circle, it remains unfound.

Two of the stones (G & H) that were initially covered in heather, after we’d carefully peeled the vegetation back, had what seems like small packing stones at one end, where it seemed obvious they had stood upright.  It was tempting to carefully stand each stone back up into position, but we managed to overcome the temptation!  None of the stones are higher or longer than 3 feet.  At least three of them seemed to have been set along their longer axis rather than being set in the tall upright position — but again, this needs verifying by excavation.  (With good evidence, some students posit that upright stones are male; rounded, wider stones are female — though such a lay-out here seems unlikely)

Stone G
Stone H

An additional curiosity was found in the middle of the circle, where there was a small but distinct scattering of stones, very much like a denuded cairn.  If this turns out to be the case (as seems likely) it’d mean a new classification for this monument.  We could do with having another look at this place the next time the heather’s been burnt away, enabling us to find out more about its nature and function.

…And if you walk west down the slight slope, over the couple of small drainage-ditch streams (which they really should stop cutting into our moorlands) and then up the slight slope towards the trackway, stopping some 20 yards before it, you’ll find you’ve walked right into the middle of a previously undiscovered Bronze Age enclosure, or settlement: the Dumpit Hill enclosure.  It’s pretty impressive aswell! (more on that in due course)


  1. Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 2000.
  2. Ramm, H.G., “Yorkshire Archaeological Register, 1964,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, part 163, 1965.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Huge thanks again to Dave Hazell, Paul Hornby and Michala Potts in seeking out & helping with this and the adjacent sites!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Dumpit Hill A, Hebden, Grassington, North Yorkshire

Stone Circle:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0299 6399

  1. Hebden Stone Circle
  2. MYD4403

Getting Here

Main stone in this circle

From Grassington, head east along the B6265 road for a mile or so, thru the hamlet of Hebden and, once up the hill on the other side of the village, take the track up your left and walk up until the land just about levels out and the moorland opens up on the right-hand side of the track.  If you’ve got the trackway which takes you to Scar Top House on your left (where the walling breaks), head straight into the heather and walk about 150 yards NE, keeping your eyes peeled for a singular upright, less than 3ft high.  Once here, check the small overgrown ring you should be stood in!

Archaeology & History

A relatively small site that can be difficult to see when the moorland heather’s in full growth — but it’s in a lovely setting, with a hidden view of the hills for nearly 360°, yet quietly hidden from prying eyes until you’re all but upon the place.  Although it has a likely Bronze Age pedigree (it aint yet been excavated), it was ignored by the confines of written history until Arthur Raistrick brought it back to life in a brief note in the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal of 1965 when Mr H.G. Ramm told what he’d found, described it simply as,

“32ft in diameter, 5 stones still stand leaving spaces where other stones have been taken for walling.  A large stone is flat at the centre.”

Alignment east: ring, outlier, human, hill!

And that’s that!  No doubt the remarks about some stones taken from here to be used in some walling were told Raistrick by a local, but he says no more about this.

The main feature to see in this small ring is the flattish, wide upright, less than three-feet high, on the eastern side.  A smaller upright stands in half-boggy Juncus grasses as you spin round towards the north, with a smaller stone laid on the ground in between.  Originally it appears there were at least eight standing stones making up this circle.  If you walk around it you’ll make out several of the other stones laid down.  About 30 yards due east of the tallest upright in the ring is another small outlying standing stone.  And, less than 100 yards northeast from this outlier, we come across the equally small, little-known stone circle of Dumpit Hill B


  1. Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 2000.
  2. Dixon, John & Phillip, Journeys through Brigantia: volume 2 – Walks in Ribblesdale, Malhamdale and Central Wharfedale, Aussteiger: Barnoldwick 1990.
  3. Raistrick, Arthur, Prehistoric Yorkshire, Dalesman: Clapham 1972.
  4. Ramm, H.G., “Yorkshire Archaeological Register, 1964,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, part 163, 1965.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Middleton Moor Carving (448), North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 10931 51276

Getting Here

CR-448 general design

From the back of Moor End Farm on the south-side of Langbar village, follow the Long Ridge footpath up onto the moor. Walk along the path until its starts dipping down again, onto the moor proper and where another footpath crosses and goes down into the small valley of the Dryas Dike stream: follow it down, crossing the stream and up the small slope till you’re on the next level of ground.  Stop here and walk right, off-path and up the gentle slope towards a small fenced-off piece of moor.  About 30 yards before the fence, check out the rocks under your noses.  You’re damn close!

Archaeology & History

If you’re gonna come up this region, this is the carving you’ll most wanna check out.  It’s the most ornamented of all the cup-and-ring stones at the top of Delves Beck.  Comprising at least five full cup-and-rings and a number of single cups, carved on a roughly square flat rock, it was first found by Stuart Feather in the mid-1960s.  It sits amidst a cluster of many other carvings on the same ridge.  This (for me at least) is something of a curiosity, inasmuch as we have a seeming lack of other prehistoric remains in attendance.

Carving 448 with paint damage
…and again, with paint damage

On the other side of the Wharfe valley above Ilkley, aswell as where we find cup-and-ring clusters on the Aire valley side at Baildon and East Morton, a preponderance of burials tend to cluster around clusters of rock art; but this doesn’t, initially, seem evident here.  A possible cairn is located on the northern side of this small ridge, and there is distinct evidence of another cairn down the slope on the other side of the Dryas Dike stream (by stone 440) just 100 yards away, but that’s it.  A more thorough examination of this region is required to see if other burial remains were in evidence hereby in the past.  I have photos of seemingly cairn-scatter material, and ancient walling in is clear evidence on the northern side of Dryas, but much more work needs doing.  Obviously much of this would require full surface excavation, which means we’re gonna need quite a bit of work and effort to see if the rock-art/burial patterns found elsewhere are echoed here.  It’s likely, it’s gotta be said.

…On a slightly more disturbing note: when me and Dave were up here last week, this carving and several others with more ornate designs on this ridge (carvings 446, 453 and others) had been painted over in some black substance.  You can see this clearly in the photos we took, above.  Whoever did it appears (word gets to me that a arty-dood called Paul did it) has done so to highlight the carvings so they stand out very clearly.  If you wanna highlight carvings for better images or photos, there are much better ways of bringing out the designs than the methods you employed there: chalk for one!


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart W., “Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings: Nos 43 & 44, Middleton Moor,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 11:4, 1966.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian