Nor Hill, Skipton Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 02181 51125

Getting Here

Along the A65 near Draughton, go (south) uphill at Height Lane until it levels out.  ¾-mile (1.2km) up, a modernized stone milepost is where the road crosses the ancient Roman Road. From here, walk west for just over a mile (1.8km), past the trees on yer right, until you approach a small copse on yer right. In the field just before the copse, walk uphill until you reach the highest of the two rises and walk about. You’re damn close!

Archaeology & History

Nor Hill cup-marked stone
Cupmarks, top & side

This small cup-marked rock was rediscovered by Chris Swales in April 2018.  It’s probably only for the purist petroglyph fanatics amongst you, consisting of just a single cup-mark on its vertical west-face, and another near its top western edge.  Official records show no other carvings in the immediate vicinity, but local antiquarians may find it profitable in surveying the area.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.956212, -1.968251 Nor Hill CR-1

Rough Haw Carvings, Flasby, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone: OS Grid Reference – SD 96396 55834

Rough Haw cupmarks

Getting Here

The quickest way to get here is to follow the directions to the Sharp Haw Trig Stone. From the Trig Stone keep heading down the footpath until you see the gate at the bottom. Go through the gate and Rough Haw is straight in front of you.  Head towards Rough Haw and you will see a track going straight up the middle. Go right up that track and over the top till your on the summit, keep walking forward about 50-60 yards and you will see it.

Archaeology & History

Second lot of cups

Some petroglyphs have been found near the top of the prehistoric Iron Age settlement called Rough Haw, a few miles north of Skipton. Not previously recorded, this long flat stone and its companion are littered in cup markings (perhaps a couple of dozen).  There could be more cups and other markings than we saw today, but by the time we reached here the sun had disappeared, so poor daylight made it difficult to see if there were any more.  Another venture up onto this hillfort might be worthwhile to see if anymore can be found.

© Chris Swales, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.998526, -2.056467 Rough Haw CR-1

Sharp Haw, Flasby, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SD 9594 5532

Getting Here

Sharp Haw cups

The quickest way to get here is to head out of Skipton towards the B6265 Grassington Road. Once on the B6265 you will go past the Craven Heifer Pub on your left hand side. About ¾-mile past the pub you will see a small turning on your left called Bog Lane. Turn on to Bog Lane and travel ¼-mile till you come to a sharp left bend; and on the right you will see a gateway with room to park. Once you have parked, you will notice a sharp-pointed hill—and that’s Sharp Haw!  You’ll need to go through the gate, up the gravel track to another gate; go through that, and continue on the track for 100 yards where you will notice a footpath going off to your right, get on it. Keep on this path heading to Sharp Haw to the stile in the wall; once there go over it and up to the trig point.  From the trig point you need to keep going and about 10 yards after you will notice a footpath starting to go down to the right. Head down and the stone is on your left. You can’t miss it!

Archaeology & History

Sharp Haw hill

Not previously recorded, this carved stone near the top of Sharp Haw is intriguing in shape.  It is found on the vertical face of the rock.  The petroglyph has one large cup with three smaller faint ones above it.

There are many more distinct cup-markings found on the flat rocks on top of Rough Haw close by.

© Chris Swales, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.993903, -2.063416 Sharp Haw CR-1

Skyrakes West, Stirton, Skipton, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SD 965 544

Getting Here

Skyrakes West cup-marks

Takes a bitta finding this one!  Take the B6265 road north out of Skipton, and about a mile along, turn left up the small road to Stirton village.  But once on the level and the open countryside opens to your right, where there’s a notable bend in the road and a track goes up into the field, stop!  Walk up past the closed fields and, where the open country starts, veer to the left track (not up the official footpath).  Keep walking up here till you’re approaching the bend in the old walling; but veer into the grasses, right, about 50 yards before it.  Good luck!

Archaeology & History

Very recently, Mr Paul Hornby called us to come and check a number of features he’d come across on a portion of open countryside not far from Skipton.  At the very least it was gonna be a nice day out, ambling abaat and seeing some potentially new prehistoric sites — and we weren’t to be disappointed!

Close-up of cups
Single cup-mark nearby

Although this site aint much to write home about, it is found close to a number of other recently rediscovered prehistoric features.  Upon a fairly large stone a coupla hundred yards east of a supposed tumulus to the southern ridge of Sharp Haw, we find an arc of three cup-markings on the rock’s northeastern face, with a possible fourth cup along the same line (though I aint sure misself).  And that’s it I’m afraid.  Nowt else. (and I’ll try getting some better images when we’re next up there)  Another stone nearby to the west has a near-perfect single cup-marking on its flat surface.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Huge thanks to Paul Hornby for the use of his photos!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Skyrakes West CR

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Skyrakes West CR 53.985639, -2.054864 Skyrakes West CR

Fairies Chest, Embsay Moor, North Yorkshire

Legendary Rocks:  OS Grid Reference – SD 98696 56105

Also known as:

  1. Fairy’s Chest

Getting Here

Fairies Chest on 1853 map
Fairies Chest on 1853 map

This is an awesome beast! You can either approach it from Nettlehole Ridge ‘stone circle’ as I did, or take the more sensible approach and begin from Embsay village, walking up the path towards Embsay reservoir and onto the moorland heights of Crookrise Crag, 1350 feet above sea level. Worra view! But keep walking a little more, downhill, and it’ll hit you right in the face!

Archaeology & History

Fairy’s Chest, Embsay Moor

Known as an abode of the little people in the 19th century and shown on the earliest Ordnance Survey map of the region, I know of no previous accounts of this giant elongated boulder, forty feet long and nearly the same size as our legendary Hitching Stone that’s nestled below the small cliffs.  The boulder is surrounded by what seems like cairn-material on all sides (though it doesn’t look prehistoric). You’re looking straight west from here, right at the three small paps of Sharp Haw, Rough Haw and Flasby Fell.  If you like huge rocky outcrops, this (and others nearby) will make your day!

Folklore

Said to have been the abode of the little people in ages gone by; though even an old chap we met on our wander here told us how the legends it once held “have died with the old folk it seems.”

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  54.000973, -2.021383 Fairies Chest

Rough Haw, Flasby, North Yorkshire

Hillfort:  OS Grid Reference – SD 963 558

Also Known as:

  1. MYD1636

Getting Here

Travel up the B6265 (Skipton to Grassington road) for a mile, watching on the small hills on your left (western) side, and then take the left turn up to Sandy Beck. You can’t miss the place!

Archaeology & History

Rough Haw, looking west

My first view of this place was from the hills east of here, atop of one of the great rock outcrops on the edge of Embsay Moor. The very first impression it gave me was – “That’s a bloody hillfort!”: an obvious worked rounded hill, with ridges typical of such monuments.  Subsequent investigation found that there were extensive remains of walling, more typical of the Iron Age period than the neolithic (which some modern archaeologists have proposed), clearly visible around the edges of this great hill.  The structure of the site is similar in size and design to the remains at the nearby Horse Close Hill above Skipton, aswell as another (officially unknown) site closer to Keighley.  A large overgrown cairn rests on the southern side of the hill, seemingly more of archaic import than a mere clearance or marker point. But I may be wrong…

Very notable at this site are the profusion of springs emerging from all round Rough Haw: the blood of seven such water sources comes from its edges on all sides and would obviously have been of some importance here.

References:

Dixon, John & Phillip, Journeys through Brigantia – volume 1: Walks in Craven, Airedale and Wharfedale, Aussteiger Publications: Barnoldswick 1990.

Links:

  1. Out of Oblivion: Rough Haw Archaeological NotesAn archaeocentric description of this little-known site, ascribing it as perhaps Bronze Age, perhaps Neolithic.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Rough Haw hillfort

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Rough Haw hillfort 53.998220, -2.057931 Rough Haw hillfort

Great Wood Laithe (019), Skipton, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SD 99620 50551

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.3 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.19 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Cowling’s 1964 drawing

From Skipton centre get to the Horse Close estate on the southern side of the town and look up to the fields on the sloping hill above it with the small woods above ’em.  Head up towards the trees, but before you get there go into the fields on your right, and in one of them you’ll see what looks like a pile of rocks near the middle.  Head for it!

Alternatively, follow the directions to reach the Horse Close Hill enclosure, then walk down into the field on its western edge.  You can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

This carving first saw the light of pen-and-paper in the early 1960s, soon after the Yorkshire antiquarian Eric T. Cowling (he of Rombald’s Way fame) was led to the site by his wandering nose and the aid of local people.  He sent a letter to the editor of the Bradford archaeology group at the time (a certain Mr Sidney Jackson), which told:

“South-west of the wood which gives its name to the Great Wood Laithe at the western end of Rombalds Moor and overlooking Skipton from the east, is a cup-marked boulder: NGR – SD 99625055.  In the middle of the field alongside the wood is an outcrop of rock which has been almost levelled with the adjacent field surface by the dumping of boulders from the surrounding ploughlands.

“The top of the outcrop rises to a dome-shaped projection which bears simple cup-markings.  These average two in diameter and total 17 in number.  The whole surface of the stone is weathered, and suitable light may reveal more details.”

And, faded though it is, in better lighting conditions it seems there may be more than twenty cup-marks on the rock.  Certainly this is what the surveys of Hedges (1986) and Boughey & Vickerman (2003) concluded.  There are other carvings close by and, on the hillside immediately above you, the denuded remains of a very impressive prehistoric settlement site known as Horse Close Hill.  Well worth having a look at!

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
  2. Cowling, E.T., “Cup-and Ring Boulders,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 9:5, May 1964.
  3. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
  4. Ramm, H.G., “Yorkshire Archaeological Register, 1964,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 41 (part 163), 1965.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

 

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  53.951057, -2.007278 Great Wood Laithe CR

Low Snaygill Stone, Skipton, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SD 9940 4973

Also Known as:

  1. Carving SK1 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.16 (Boughey & Vickerman)
  3. Snaygill Farm Stone

Getting Here

Stone by the roadside

Not too far from the High Laithe cup-and-ring stone.  Along the A6131 out of Skipton, park up at the Rendezvous hotel and go up the road on your left, over the canal.  As you approach the second house up, note the rock on the right-hand side of the tiny road, perched on the edge above the stream, with ivy creeping up one side of it.  That’s it!

Archaeology & History

This stone was moved to its present position a few decades back, sometime before Hedges (1986) first recorded it in his Carved Rocks work.  It’s a reasonably large boulder, resting on the slope above the drop to the stream below, and will probably drop into the waters in the not-too-distant future.  Whether the stream had any initial relationship with the cup-markings etched on its surface, we’ll probably never know (a number of rock art students love the water-stone relationship — and this one is no doubt in their listings!).  Its first literary appearance by Hedges described it thus:

“Large fairly smooth grit rock sloping down to stream at E and into ground and grass at W.  Eleven cups, circle of nine very small cups at one end, groove from depression, one other groove and possible cup.”

Lower half of CR-016

Which just about does it justice.  When we visited the place yesterday, the cluster of small cups at the top of the rock were difficult to see clearly in the grey daylight; but what seems to be another 2 cups (not in Hedges, nor Boughey & Vickerman’s [1986] survey) may be on the lower-half of the stone, and can be seen in the photo here.  We need to go back again on a bright day and catch the stone in a different mood to suss out whether we were just seeing things.

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
  2. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Low Snaygill CR

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Low Snaygill CR 53.943678, -2.010628 Low Snaygill CR

Horse Close Hill, Skipton, North Yorkshire

Enclosure / Settlement:  OS Grid Reference – SD 9966 5046

Also Known as:

  1. Cawder Hall Enclosure
  2. MNY21002
  3. Scheduled Monument 29151

Getting Here

From Skipton town centre follow the A6131 road south, out of town, for less than a mile, and turn left up Cawder Lane. Avoid following the road into the housing, instead bearing up the country lane to your left.  Just before reaching the farmhouses 200 yards up, note the stony hilltop above you on your left (up behind Horse Close Farm).  Walk up there for 250 yards NE and you’ll find it!

Archaeology & History

Horse Hill enclosure, looking west

This is an impressive site.  I’d say very impressive! (but I’m easily pleased)  Oddly however, I can’t find a damn thing about this place in any of my archaeo-records and it appears (as far as I’m aware) that no survey has ever been made of it.  Which is bloody incredible!  Indeed, the only archaeological notes that appear to exist about this very impressive and well-preserved Iron Age enclosure, states, “Subcircular enclosed settlement on Horse Close Hill 250m north of Horse Close Farm.”  That’s it!  Nothing else!  So I’m afraid you’ve only got my crappy description of it to go on for the time being…

As the aerial image below shows, this is a large oval-shaped enclosure, defined primarily by an almost complete ring of double walling arranged around this hilltop site.  Measuring approximately 78 yards (71m) north-south, and nearly 75 yards (70m) along its longer east-west axis, with a circumference of about 235 yards (215m), many of the upright stones which define its edges stand between 1-3 feet in height.  Some of these stones have obviously been moved into position by the lads who built the structure, but the site has also taken advantage of a number of large earthfast boulders in its construction.

If you walk around the edges of the walled enclosure, almost every bit of it is clearly visible.  Between the defining inner and outer walling of the structure we find sections of the site packed with smaller stones, giving the impression that it may once have been filled all round, making the walls thick strong defensive ones.  But without a more detailed investigation, we’ll never really know…

Horse Close settlement, looking NE
Aerial view of enclosure

It is clearly very similar in structure, and probably date, to the well-known Brackenhall circle on Shipley Glen, near Baildon (though the nature of the Brackenhall site has long been a topic of controversy).  And, as with the Brackenhall site, a number of cup-and-ring stones are found close by — including the Great Wood Laithe carving in the field immediately below on the west side.  I’ve also found a similar structure to this on the hills above Steeton, a few miles to the south (though it’s not as well-defined as this one).

Although the site is mainly defined by its oval walling, we also find other stretches of walling that run outwards from the central site: one in particular running northeast for 35 yards out towards a small standing-stone further up the field.  Other curious earthworks and remains scatter the fields on the eastern sides of this main feature, which the helpful farmer here pointed out to us.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Horse Close Hill settlement

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Horse Close Hill settlement 53.950239, -2.006668 Horse Close Hill settlement

High Laithe Stone, Skipton, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SD 9952 4991

Also Known as:

  1. Carving SK2 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.17 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

High Laithe cup-and-ring stone

Worth the short trek if you like your cup&rings!  On the Aire Valley Keighley-to-Skipton road (A629), as you approach the southern outskirts of Skipton, take the turning at the roundabout as if you’re going into the town up the A6131. Go over the next roundabout a coupla hundred yards on, then 200 yards further on note the right-turn up over the canal (big hotel just here, where you could park up).  Walk over the canal up the tiny country lane. Ignore the first left turn and walk up, bearing next left uphill and onto the footpath. Walk up the hillocky quarried bit until you reach the stile in the wall.  Once on the other side, look in the walling 20 yards uphill.  You can’t miss it!

Archaeology & History

First described by Messrs Hartley and Radley in the Yorkshire Archaeological Register of 1968, this small “standing stone”, less than three-feet tall, has a distinct cup-and-double- ring carved onto its upright north-facing edge.  The outline of the carving is visible even in bad light, though you might wanna rest and gaze for a minute or two for yourself and the lighting to adjust if it’s a grey day.  There’s another cup-marking below the bottom right of the double-ring, with another ‘possible’ just above ground-level.

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
  2. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

High Laithe Stone

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High Laithe Stone 53.945296, -2.008800 High Laithe Stone