Rushy Beck Spring, Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Healing Well:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1403 4544

Getting Here

Source of the Rushy Beck

From Ilkley centre, take the road up to Cow & Calf, going past the hotel and along Hangingstone Road for a half-mile until you meet some walling on the right of the road. Stop and walk up the small beck, veering to the left as you approach the brow of the hill.  Keep walking up the beck onto the moor where you’ll eventually reach its source, as shown in the photo here!

Archaeology & History

This once fast-flowing spring of fresh sparkling water has seen better days.  The site has two openings in the Earth about 10 yards east and west of each other, both discernible by the notable difference in vegetation on the moors here, where richer hues of green created by the waters cut a small channel down the moorland slopes through the usual hues of heather.

The waters taste fine when they’re in flow, but much of the land here has fallen into shallow marsh and with the inevitable falling of the water table thanks to the stupid arrogant Industrialists, very little of the goodness is available.  But it wasn’t always like this.  Certainly when our prehistoric ancestors carved the rock art close by the source of the waters, then later constructed the large ritual enclosure immediately west of the springs, the waters would have been very important—and in much greater profusion—for simple nourishment and for rituals enacted at the site.


© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian