Wester Cairnfield (01), Askwith Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 16966 50674

Getting Here

Cup-mark near top-right
Cup-mark near top-right

From the Askwith Moor Lane parking site, take the directions to the Askwith Moor Cairnfield.  Walk westwards for about 100 yards down the gradual slope, towards the boggy land below, but before reaching the reeds, still in the moorland heather, there are a scatter of rocks.  Just keep zigzagging about until you find it. It’s a reasonably large stone.

Archaeology & History

'Cup mark' on vertical face
‘Cup mark’ on vertical face

This is one of several simple cup-marked stones found down the slopes about 100 yards west of the Askwith Moor Cairnfield.  When James Elkington, James Turner and I re-surveyed this area again recently, I wondered whether it was a newbie or had already been located when Graeme Chappell and I did our tedious surveying of this region in the 1990s—and it turned out that we did!  The carving is nothing special to look at, even if you’re a petroglyph zealot.  Comprising of a distinct single cup-mark on the top nose of the rock, another is visible on the vertical south face, and another possible is on its eastern face.

1894 map of shooting target
1894 map of shooting target

When we look at the early maps of this area, we find that to the north and south of this stone once existed ‘Shooting Houses’.  As we can see on the attached map, the position of one of the shooting targets is very close to the location of this stone and so we must conclude that the cups on the vertical face were done by gunshot and are not prehistoric. However, the distinct cup on top of the stone retains its prehistoric link.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian